This article is about getting things done by riding on the back of your initial motivation.
There is a window within which we need to do things/get tasks done. Particularly when it comes to working with other people. If you have a meeting for instance, try to follow up the actions you establish at the meeting (make them clear, simple and specific) within three days. If you don’t work on the weekends be mindful of the fact that that’s two days lost.
If you can’t follow up within three days contact the person with/for whom you have agreed to carry out the actions and give them as accurate an estimation as you can as to how long it is going to take you to follow through. This contact is to aid continuity.
In the 21st Century and particularly this age of speed, ideas, concepts and actions go stale very quickly and easily. People are becoming more and more impatient and want fast results. To keep up it’s vital that you become really clear (and good) at estimating what you can take on and how long things will take you.
So in terms of follow-up actions try these tips for yourself:
1. During the meeting, when taking notes put an A in a circle next to anything you need to action
2. Back at the office/at home action anything that can be done immediately (that will take you ten minutes or less). Transfer those actions that will take you longer to a master list. Make them as clear as possible.
3. Estimate how long each action will take and therefore your overall timeframe (bearing in mind everything else you need to do.) Keep it real. Give yourself an absolute cut-off date by which all the actions will be completed.
4. Contact the other person/people involved within three days informing them of the approximate timeframe of the longer actions but add on an extra 10-20% to allow for slippage.
5. Incorporate each action into your days/weeks/months, keeping others informed of progress.
6. Keep focused, ticking off actions as you go, and ensuring you’re not distracted from other tasks that come along.
7. Try not to go beyond your cut-off date but if you need to (because of unexpected emergencies) inform all involved and set a second cut-off date as close to the first as possible.
8. Celebrate when you complete each action (even if it is just taking satisfaction in ticking/crossing it off a list)
Using this system will ensure your tasks don’t become stale.