Remember the old saying "physician, heal thy self". It means that before a doctor works on others, they should get their own life and health together. The same thing applies to working on your business. You are going to be the 'main mover and shaker' in your business so, just like playing a musical instrument, your business is only going to be as good as you are. Yellow Belt
In Profit Savvy, we expect that you will primarily be working on your business as that is our main focus.
However, it would be a bit foolish if you worked on perfecting your business before you first worked on perfecting yourself and your life. If we have faith that some of the distilled business wisdom in Profit Savvy will help to improve your business, it doesn't take much to believe that it might also help to improve your life.
This Checklist is arranged like a restaurant menu so, In keeping with the menu structure, we begin with Entrees and a range of Main Courses that you can pick and choose from and finish with the Dessert Course.
As we say in all menus on offer in Profit Savvy, you should first set yourself some goals for what you expect to achieve from this particular project. If you don't know where you are going (i.e. your goals) you are hardly likely to get there. For guidance on how to set goals see Goal Setting Recipe.
We encourage you to set SMART goals when defining what you want out of this Menu so that you can use it to its best advantage.
Our Main Courses are available for you to pick and choose as you see fit. A number of them may already be familiar to you and it is not necessary for you to repeat them unless you would like a refresher. We have attempted to arrange them in the order of the biggest pay back to you in keeping with the 80/20 principles that we write about a lot in Profit Savvy.
Our approach to business management has several layers. You start with a direction, then optimize for that direction and finally you have several specific management specialties that you can improve.
We encourage the same approach to your life
Direction: Goal Setting
If you want to have a Vision for the rest of your life, you will have to take some time to develop it. It's probably going to change in the course of your life time but as we often say, if you don't know where you are going, you will hardly know when you have arrived!
It may make sense to you as you work through goals to develop them not only for your business but also for your family life, your health, your wealth aspirations and your reputation and contribution to society. What you choose is entirely dependent to yourself and doesn't necessarily need to be shared anywhere, but these goals will help you focus on what you consider to be the most important aspects of your life. The rest of the Recipes in this Menu can help you get to those destinations as quickly as possible.
Many well know life coaches like Tony Robbins, Wallace D Wattles and Napoleon Hill stress the importance of converting these goals to 'affirmations' and recommend making it a daily practice to read them. This constant repetition tends to burn them into your mind. Many believe that this in turn causes your mind to refocus and to throw up ideas and resources that lead you towards those goals. See e.g. Great Business Books Menu
For some thoughts on setting out your life goals, see our Life Plan article
If you don't have a direction, it is simply not possible to do the following optimization steps because you don't have a clear idea what to optimize for!
Optimization: Living an 80/20 Life
We spend a lot of time in Profit Savvy talking about an 80/20 approach to things. Essentially this means that 80% of what you do in your life is a waste in terms of achieving whatever goals you have in mind. The 20% that you are focused on achieving your goals, whatever they might be, is going to be the most productive 80% of your life. The difference between the 80% that achieves 20% and the 20% that achieves 80% is mathematically a 16 times difference. By focusing on The Amazing 80/20 principle, you might be able to speed up attaining your goals by as much as 16 times. For more, see the Amazing 80/20 Recipe introduction and the 80/20 Rule Menu for more examples of how it applies to business.
Some people are proud of the fact that they can do several things at once.
What they probably don't realise is that those several things consequently take considerably longer to be completed because they don't focus on any one of them to complete it as quickly as possible.
If you believe the 80/20 principles described above, much of what you will achieve can be done with comparatively few things. So it makes sense to try and complete those few things as rapidly as possible in order to get the maximum advantage from them rather than doing many things and only achieving 20% of what you might.
To look at the impact of Multitasking and how to potentially manage it, read the Multitasking Tool.
Optimization: Find your Constraint
If you do repetitive routine work, you can boost your productivity by looking at your constraints.
Many occupations, in particular the professions, do much the same tasks in a standard sequence of tasks over and over again. One tends to just think of all of those component tasks as being equally important in the workflow. This is not the case. Usually there will be one, or two at the most, activities in your workflow that are a natural constraint on how much work can flow through your personal production system. The fact that you have these constraints means that no matter how productive you are in other parts of your workflow cycle, you can, overall, never be more productive than what your constraints allow you to be. By focusing on your constraints and maximising the flow of work through them, your productivity can increase quite substantially.
There is a whole class of people who make their livelihood from selling their time; accountants, doctors, designers and consultants for example. These people likely have as their primary constraint the issue of how much time they have in the day that they can sell. Once their day is fully booked, their potential income is automatically capped accordingly and therefore, they are automatically constrained on how much they can earn.
By seeking to relax that time availability constraint, they can increase their productivity. A busy executive who does routine work like their personal banking, running out to do the mail, ringing to get appointments for the next meeting, can very rapidly increase their productivity by employing an assistant to do those tasks that don't demand their personal input time. If they can sell their time for $100 per hour and pay an assistant $30 per hour, every hour recovered from moving routine work to an assistant earns them another $70.
For more on an entire Theory on Constraints Management see our Theory of Constraint Recipe.
Once you are familiar with this concept, you will know that you should;
- find your constraint: What is your limiting factor. Often it is time (which is very finite) and/or money (capital for investment) but it might be a lack of direction/goals
- elevate it: focus on this constraint so that you can maximize your potential by using it as effectively as possible
- subordinate other things to it; by definition, nothing is as important as optimizing your constraint and
- watch in case it moves: if you get your time constraint under control for example, the constraint will move somewhere else - perhaps to capital for example. You therefore need to go back to step 1. above and start all over again with the new constraint. This is not a waste of time as you will have reached a new and higher plateau of performance by fixing the first constraint. This continual upward spiral of improvement has coined the Japanese phrase "kiazen" to describe it.
Optimization: Time Management
Unless you are an unusually enlightened manager, time is almost certainly going to be one of your major constraints - if not the major one.
You can't expect your staff to use their time wisely if you are not a role model who can lead from the front on this.
You can dramatically improve your personal productivity by combining 80/20 and Time Management.
See our fusion of these two skills in the Double your personal productivity in under two weeks article or read just about Time Management in the Time Management Tool article.
Remember the famous quote from children out for a drive with their parents: "Are we there yet Dad"!
The same applies to your Personal Development Menu. You will know your destination if you have originally set out some goals but how will you know if you are there, and, for that matter how far along the trip are you?
We can get this measurement going by setting ourselves a few key "Metrics" that we can monitor to see our progress. When you first set your goals above, you would have addressed the "M" for Measurable in your goal setting. These Metrics are the outcome of your decision on how to measure your progress against your goals. For more, see our Metrics Recipe.