Risk & Business Magazine Cooke Insurance Risk & Business Magazine Fall 2017 | Page 24

PRODUCTIVITY BY: mike michalowicz KEYNOTE SPEAKER & AUTHOR A Simple Technique To Skyrocket Productivity H ow long is your to-do list? Is it a page or two or could you use it to wallpaper your office? If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you have a long to-do list (or several) that, no matter how many hours you work, never seems doable. This is because most people maintain a task list ordered by date, and crank away on the most pressing items. This method makes sense, but it’s wrong. The best way to achieve productivity is not to prioritize by deadlines, but to prioritize by what matters most. else? Not so much. And, there are only two tasks that matter most to entrepreneurs: those that when completed, will either make money in the near future or will make customers happy. 2. Create two columns: one labeled, “TYPE” and one labeled, “TASK.” In the “TASK” column, write down everything you need to get done. People feel compelled to finish tasks just because they are on the to-do list, especially if a deadline looms. But what good is crossing off an item on your to-do list if it doesn’t make you money or thrill your customers? 3. In the “TYPE” column, write a dollar sign next to each task that, when completed, you are confident would bring in money in the next 30 days. Then, put a smiley face next to any items that, when finished, will make your customers happy. Now, you have a short list of the really important tasks, a list you can manage, a list that, when completed, will have an immediate, positive impact on your business. A consistent flow of cash is the lifeblood of your business, so if you can make money in the next 30 days by knocking off one of the items on your list, it is a priority. Ecstatic customers also bring in money – they are more likely to do keep doing business with you, and they are more likely to rave about you to potential customers, which is the most effective marketing method (and you sure can’t buy it) – so they are priority too. Everything 24 Here’s how to turn your to-do list into a productive, money-making machine: 1. Maintain a paper task list. As much as you love your fancy productivity software, keeping your to-list on a computer can cause you to go off on a tangent or get caught up in color-coding or grouping tasks. More importantly, every program I’ve ever used focuses on due dates and percentages complete, which is totally wrong. So get out the good old yellow legal pad and start at the top. 4. Start ticking off items with dollar signs and smiley faces. When you dive into a new task, highlight it. This way, if you get distracted by the phone, or email, or your 537 Facebook friends, you can instantly get back on track by going to the highlighted task. When you complete a task, cross it off your list and go on to the next dollar sign or smiley face. 5. As you move through your day, new to-do items will come up. Write them down as soon as they come to mind so you can get back to your task at hand without worrying about remembering fleeting thoughts, or getting sidetracked contemplating how to complete that task. Then, at the end of your day, review your new to-do list items and, if applicable, add a dollar sign or smiley face. This simple approach is the most effective productivity strategy I have ever followed. Sure enough, it consistently improves my business because I am bringing in money and making my customers so pleased they want to shout it from the rooftops. If cash is flowing and the customers are happy, who cares if I never get around to the other tasks? This year, resolve never to sacrifice what is important for the sake of what is urgent. + Mike Michalowicz is the entrepreneur behind three multimillion dollar companies and is the author of Profit First. He is globally recognized as the guy who “challenges outdated business beliefs” and teaches us what to do about it. To learn more about Mike and get access to a treasure trove of entrepreneurial tips, visit MikeMichalowicz.com.