Software Advice recently published their Bad-Ass Execution Principles–based on the go-to book about organization by David Allen, Getting Things Done. These principles represent a proactive approach to prioritizing and organizing yourself and your team, using some simple tips and Web-based apps.
The Core Principles
Here are the key tenets of our organizational philosophy:
- Write everything down in one place. Writing everything down will help you remember things, and writing everything down in the same place will help you prioritize and stay organized. Using a computer-based note-taking application or project management program will ensure your notes don’t get lost in the shuffle.
- Concentrate on what comes next. Breaking up your projects into actionable chunks can help keep you from getting overwhelmed. Focusing on next steps helps you track all of the moving parts and always be making progress.
- Deliver something of value right away. Delivering something valuable–even something small, such as a pitch–at the onset of a project helps set the expectation that you are capable and allows you to get feedback to make sure you’re on the right track.
- Move your project forward with quick wins. Accomplishing small, positive things early in the life of a project builds trust and authority, and will help your project gain momentum.
- Do your homework! Before you ask, Google it. While you want to encourage employees to ask questions when they need to, there is more value in researching the answers to questions prior to asking a manager for help. It also hones problem-solving skills and shows initiative.
Here are the tools you can use to put these principles into action:
- Projects list. Make a “Projects” list, where you can keep track of all the projects you’re working on in one place.
- Next Actions list. Create a “Next Actions” list. All of your next steps should be tracked, including emails you have to send, meetings you need to prepare for and calls you need to make. The great thing is, each item you cross off your list brings you closer to completing your project!
- Waiting list. Create a “Waiting List.” It’s a good idea to keep a list of everything you are waiting on that is keeping you from completing an action item. In addition to your personal task list, this list will help you determine when and if you need to follow up with someone.
- Inbox management. Keep your email inbox clean; don’t let mail pile up. If a message isn’t actionable, archive or file it away. Add any emails you need to follow up on to your Next Actions list. Keeping your inbox clean will help you stay organized and clear about what needs to get done.
- Calendar. Enter all time- and day-specific actions, deadlines and appointments into your calendar. Use cloud based calendar like Teamweek for scheduling.
- Review. Be sure to review everything–all of your lists, your calendar and your email inbox–every day. Marking off all completed tasks and updating all of your projects daily will help you prioritize.