Get More Done by Using Effective Task and Project Management

by | Feb 2, 2016 | 10 comments

It happened again, didn’t it?

You got to the end of the week, and there is more work to do than last week.

It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last…

And it is SO frustrating.

Frustrated Can't Get Tasks Done

Not getting everything done can cause a lot of stress, both on your and your business.

It seems like no matter what you do, no matter how effective you are, it is never enough.

I get it.

You see, my husband just keeps starting new businesses.

And new businesses mean more stuff to do.

More tasks. More projects. More deadlines.

The one thing there never seems to be any more of is time.

Do you want to break the cycle?

Get more done?

Well read on, because in this post I’m going to break it all down for you.

But before you do, I want to help you right away.

We’ve compiled this 4 step Weekly Productivity Guide.

This is the EXACT guide that we use to manage our multiple businesses (as well as our personal lives).

In this quick-start guide, we will show you how to instantly get organized and get more done this week!

Weekly Productivity Guide

So What Are We Really Talking About Here?

Before jumping into being entrepreneurs, Tom and I both had “regular” jobs.

Mine changed often, but Tom was focused on project management, specifically when developing software.

Now I didn’t think there was much to project management at the time, but there really is a lot to it.

In fact, there are a variety of certifications available for project management.

There are 500+ page books covering all of the aspects of it.

One such book says that you need to cover these 10 areas:

  1. Scope – What is encompassed in your project?
  2. Time – How much time is available and how long will each piece take?
  3. Cost – What budget do you have and how much will the total project cost?
  4. Quality – What level of quality does your result need and how will you achieve it?
  5. People – Who is needed to complete the project?
  6. Communication – How do people involved work together and share information?
  7. Risk – What risks exist and how do you prevent or reduce their impact?
  8. Procurement – What do you need to purchase as part of the project?
  9. Stakeholders – Who cares about the success of the project?
  10. Integration – How do the various pieces of the project come together?

Now, that is a lot to consider.

But I’m guessing that you don’t want to spend all day reading 500+ page books in order to get your project done.

Me either.

So what Tom and I came up with (and use ourselves) is the basic framework for managing all of the work that you need to get done.

It is pretty straightforward and covers the key aspects listed above.

And we want to share it with you.

So without further ado, here are the essential practices that you need to improve your task and project management within your small business.

Step 1 – Define Your Goals/Objectives

Have you ever spent a bunch of time getting something done, only to later realize that you didn’t need to do it?

It’s so frustrating.

And not only that, it is a waste of your precious time and money.

So before we even talk about how to do the work, we need to step back and ask if we should even be doing the work.

For this, we’ve found the best way to avoid this is to start with defining your goals.

That is, what are all of the big things that you want to accomplish?

Make a list.

Business Goal Brainstorming List

Brainstorming a list of goals for your business lets you get your ideas out of your head.

Once you have that list, start to group those goals into time-frames for when you want to achieve them.

For example, in 10 years, I want my business to have $5 million in annual revenue.

It’s important to make sure that you include a target time-frame for your goals.

Also, it’s important to have business goals, but it’s also important to have personal goals as well.

We tend to first define our personal goals, then often define the business goals to support and achieve our personal goals.

Step 2 – Create a Roadmap

We spent some time previously talking about the importance of business planning, including creating a roadmap.

In case you missed it, you can check out all of our free resources on business planning (including a free template to use).

Once you have your goals defined, you can then start to map them out over time.

Project Management Goal Roadmap

A roadmap will help make sure smaller goals contribute to your larger goals.

We recommend the following timescale.

  • 10 Year Goals
  • 5 Year Goals
  • 3 Year Goals
  • 2 Year Goals
  • 1 Year Goals

Why did we pick these time-frames?

Well first off, if you don’t look out far enough and you could find yourself back in that situation where you finish a large project, only to realize it won’t help you get to your goals.

We like 10 years because it is far enough to look out, but short enough that If you wanted, you could go out 20, 30 or 40 years as well.

The key is to pick a time-frame that suits your needs.

We find these long time-frames are more useful for personal goals, and business goals tend to fit nicely into 10 or even 5 year ranges. 5 years allows us to track a halfway point to those 10 year goals.

At the worst, even if we are off track, we will have another 5 years to adjust and still meet those goals.

From there, goals for the next 1-3 years allow enough clarity to guide us and make sure the stuff that we do this year will help get us to our goals next year.

So take your goals and figure out which time-frame they fit into.

Then, work backwards and define smaller goals to help achieve your large ones.

For example, if you want your business to make $10 million in annual revenue in 10 years, maybe you target to make $5 million dollars in annual revenue in 5 years.

From there, you can continue to break that goal down into 3,2 and 1 year goals.

Step 3 – Plan out the Next Year

Your goals are defined.

Your roadmap is in place.

Awesome!

Now we’re your going to continue the same process, but just focus on the next year.

So once a year, your going to break down your 1 year goals.

We’ve found breaking them into quarterly goals works really well.

Business 1 Year Roadmap

A 1 year roadmap will allow you to break those goals down into smaller projects and tasks.

So for Q1 (as Tom would say… I just say January – March), what projects or milestones do you have to complete.

Then do the same thing for April – June (Q2), July – September (Q3) and October – December (Q4).

Step 4 – Plan out your next 12 weeks

So we’ve taken big goals and broken them down into years.

Then we took those 1 year goals and broke them down into quarterly goals.

Can you guess what we are going to do next?

That’s right, we are going to break the quarterly goals down.

Take your goals for the quarter, work backwards and figure out what you need to do each week in order to hit those goals.

12 Week Task Breakdown

Breaking your 3 month goals into weekly tasks makes it much easier to see what you need to do each week.

Step 5 – Plan your week

OK, if you are still with me, you are a pro at this by now.

What’s next?

You guessed it, we are going to break our weekly goals down.

This weekly meeting is really where the magic happens.

By now, the goals that you identified each week are directly in line with your larger goals.

That means you don’t have to worry about whether or not you are working on the right things to achieve your goals.

So you will now take those weekly tasks and break them down into tasks that you will complete each day.

Business productivity Weekly Task Planning

Planning your tasks each week allows you to identify what you have to do and make adjustments.

You should know what days you work each week.

And have specific times blocked off to get your work done.

So when you break down the tasks, you can see if they fit into the time you have.

If they don’t, you either add additional slots for you to work, or you move some task from this week to a future week.

Step 6 – Rinse & Repeat

Now that you have gone through the process, you will just continue to repeat it.

Each week you will capture and prioritize new tasks, plan your week out, track your progress and retrospect on how your week went so you can keep improving the process.

Every month, you will check in on your progress towards your 3-month goals.

Every 3 months, you will review the past 3 months and plan the next 3 months.

Every year, you will review the year and plan the next year (and 2, 3, 5, and 10-year goals).

Pretty simple, huh.

Now, I went over that pretty quick.

The reality is that it is simply to explain, but that does not mean it is easy to implement or stick to.

The key is, you need to be very specific about the process and make it a habit.

And it all starts with getting your week productive.

Once you get to the point where you can have a productive week, then you expand and tie it all into your goal planning.

So you get you started off on the right track, make sure to grab your free copy of the weekly productivity guide

Free Productivity Weekly Download Guide