This is the fifth lesson in the Get It Done Now Series.
Previously I talked about the importance of using short time periods for completing tasks. Because everything begins to rust, decay, and lose its spark over time, it’s important to set short bursts for your projects. Now we’ll look into how to create tasks that will take you an hour or less. This will ensure you complete tasks that can be completed and move you forward.
When Creating A Task, Ask Questions
When you create a task, such as “Get A Customer” examine it and ask some questions. Start with these questions:
- Is the task specific enough that I will know when it is done?
- Could the task take longer than an hour?
In this case, “Get a Customer” answers NO to these questions. As far as specifics go, what is the 1 customer for? What is it, your product, service, an ebook? Second of all, how long could it take to get that customer? Could it take days? Weeks even? Most tasks, including the ones I make, are generally too generic. They are mini-projects. Let’s see what might make more sense for this task.
Start by asking the question: “How Can I get a customer?” When you prefix your tasks with “How Can I” or “How Will I” this will expose them for being too big. But that’s ok. When asking how, the brain starts to do some magic. In this case there’s probably some specific actions that could be done to get the 1 customer. The might be:
- Research 3 websites on sales/marketing and come up with 3 ways to get customers.
- Create a plan for way # 1.
- Create a plan for way # 2.
- Create a plan for way # 3.
Research is great. It doesn’t take long to scour the Internet for great resources. Taking those findings and making a plan is quick. Generally a plan is simply taking somebody who has been successful at what you’re trying to do and planning out how you will try what they’ve done with your work. Each plan for the ways to get customers would then be broken down into smaller tasks, such as create a landing page, create a Google Adwords advertisement, and setup an E-Junkie account.
The key is to be like MC Hammer – BREAK IT DOWN!
Finishing Tasks In Under An Hour
When a task is broken down and has a plan, then it is as easy as following the steps in the plan. The key to finishing a task in under an hour is to have all the research done before-hand. There should be no guessing or questions with your tasks. They should be the result of research and breaking down a plan into concrete and simple steps. Once you have that, there’s still the problem of focusing.
Even with a well-defined and simple task, there are distractions… The task is not going to get finished in an hour if Facebook and ESPN are on your other computer monitor, begging you to visit them. Here’s what must be done to focus on your tasks.
- Set 2 to 3 hour bursts for completing tasks.
- Set an online alarm clock/stopwatch for the time you will be on the computer. Set the countdown to 2 to 3 hours.
- Make sure to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep so you’re not dozing off on the computer. Not all tasks require a computer, but many will.
- Play music in the background. Walk the Edge is always good.
- Announce online that you are unavailable and working on your fortune. Sorry, [INSERT YOUR NAME] is busy creating his/her fortune.
- Announce to others you will complete your tasks that night. This is especially helpful if you have things you need to deliver or show them.
Sprint Like Usain Bolt
This is Usain Bolt. He’s a Gold Medal sprinter and holds the world record in the 100 and 200 meter dash. He runs fast. Your hour to complete your task is a sprint. It will require you to focus and make your projects a top priority. You must want to complete your projects as bad as you want to live. Give your time to these tasks your utmost attention and effort. You should feel exhausted, but extremely fulfilled when you finish your work sessions. Stand up, stretch, and pat yourself on the back after every 2 to 3 hour session.
In this lesson, we learned three important principles. They are asking HOW about each task, breaking down each task through research and planning, and treating each task as a sprint with the utmost urgency. When you combine these things, you’ll have well defined tasks that have no confusion about how to complete them. This is powerful and will assure you make progress on your projects.
- Lesson 3: Use a Simple Tool To Organize Your Top Priorities
- Lesson 4: Setup Time-Boxed Completion Cycles
- Lesson 6: Make Use of Every Second
- Get It Done Now Series
- 2 Things You Can Do Right Now