A question I often get is, “What’s Tad short for?”
But another question I get almost as often is, “How do you do so much?”
The most honest answer I can give is, “Other things suffer.” And that’s true in just about every way we could mean it.
But, what’s also true is that I have figured out a few things about managing my time and organizing those to do lists. Because, if you’re not organized, it’s easier to just never, ever get to those important projects of yours.
This one of the central issue that appears in my program The Meantime which is about helping people out of their cashflow crunches. One of the things I see that most often puts people in such a tight spot to begin with is that they are terrible at managing their time.
And so, while this is nowhere near exhaustive, here are some thoughts.
Thought #1: Get the Right Tools.
The only tool I use for my to do list and that has legitimately changed my life is called Things. If you have a Mac, I urge you to get it today. You will thank me. Here’s a 7-minute video where I share how I use it. Some people prefer the simpler post it note version.
Thought #2: Get Some Time Management Education:
The two books I most commend are First Things First by Stephen Covey and Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity by David Allen. You can watch a twenty minute video of David Allen summing up his perspective here and a 70 minute audio of Stephen Covey reading from his book here. It’s amazing what a difference education can make and how many blind spots and missed opportunities there are.
Thought #3: Work With, Not Against, Your Biological Clock.
There is a harsh reality to your ability to think clearly. Much of this has to do with learning how to follow your bodies ‘biological clock’.
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” ~Mark Twain
Thought #4: Work Parties & Power Hours
If you feel totally stuck on something and can’t seem to even get yourself to start working on it, try one of these two approaches. The first is to have a focused Power Hour. First you pick a project you’ve been putting off for too long and that needs attention. You close all your social media off, put your phone on airplane mode, close your office door and set the timer for one hour. Once the hour is over, you’re done. There’s something about knowing ‘it’s only an hour’ that seems to let us get started. The other version of this is to book a date with a colleague or friend to meet up for a work party at a local cafe. You just sit near each other and work together for the afternoon. Of course, you’ll chit chat too but you might be amazed at how productive these work parties can be.
“I learned to produce whether I wanted to or not. It would be easy to say oh, I have writer’s block, oh, I have to wait for my muse. I don’t. Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver
Thought #5: Create More S.F.D.’s.
A running joke in my Mentorship Program is how often I’ll ask someone for an S.F.D.. S.F.D. is an acronym for Shitty First Draft but then dubbed SFD by a participant. I often ask this of my clients when I give them homework. If I say, “Write up your homepage,” it will likely overwhelm them. The perfectionism appears. They can’t even get it started because ‘Oh Gawd! Where do I start?’ But if I ask them, “Send me a shitty first draft of your homepage,” it’s easy. Anyone can do a shitty, first draft. When we remove the pressure from the first version to be anything other than barely salvageable rubbish, we create movement. I’ve seen S.F.D.’s take folks from completely stuck on something for years to done in weeks.
Thought #6: Get Better at Saying ‘No’.
If you are an over-promiser then you must learn how to say ‘no’. Everything else on this is useless to you if you can’t say ‘no’. Need some help? I’ve collected a messload of articles, memes and videos on this topic with you in mind.
If this is a big issue for you and you’re feeling radical, you might consider going on a 30 Day Promise Fast. The intense level is that you’re not allowed to make any promises at all. The medium version is that you are never allowed to say ‘yes’ in the moment. If someone asks you to do something, you must always say, “Let me get back to you on that.” Once you’re not right in front of them the social pressures to say ‘yes’ drop by 95% and you can sleep on it and make a sane decision.
Thought #7: Create Your DWMQA Maintenance List
This is a game-changer of epic proportions. It’s another core practice I guide people through in my Mentorship Program.
Here’s the secret. Most of business is just maintenance. It’s not sexy. It’s administrivia. It’s writing a blog post like this. It’s reply to emails. For your business to thrive, in the long-term, the basic maintenance must be done. For us to not burn out, we must give enough time to the basics. And most of us do not come anywhere close to giving those things enough time.
So what? What’s the consequence?
The main consequence is that shit slips through the cracks. Often at extremely inopportune times. Often in embarrassing ways and ways that cost you money and time.
You can watch a 7-minute video of me walking people through the basics of this below.