The “to-do” list for any project and startup team is endless; the trick is to make sure you’re checking boxes as quickly and efficiently as possible. If productivity is a scary corporate word for you, then maybe the straight forward “get things (or another choice 4-letter word) done” should be your daily startup mantra. In fact, there exists an awesome method (and a book), created by 30-year productivity veteran David Allen, called “Getting Things Done.”
Haven’t heard of it? Well, if you’re running your own business, have an upcoming project and want to make sure everything works in the most productive, stress-free way, I highly suggest getting your hands on a copy. For now, I’ll highlight the top GTD tips for your productivity pleasure.
According to Allen, there are 5 steps to highly effective project planning, execution and success:
1. What is the purpose of your project?
Clearly define the reasons for the project and a criteria of how you will make decisions throughout the process.
2. See the big picture
Envision the final result and what you want to achieve and create a blueprint on how you’ll get there (moving from a theoretical view to a practical one).
3. Brainstorm time!
This is my favorite part of project planning. Get your team together and start throwing out ideas on how to make things happen.
4. Make the wheels turn
Any important project is going to have many moving parts, the key is to identify the most important ones and organize the chaos to grease the project gears.
5. So, what’s next?
You’ve got a purpose, you see the final result, you’ve brainstormed ideas and organized how you’re going to get things done. Great! Now, what exactly is the next step? If you can clearly define and execute what your next action is, then you’re ready to move forward. If not, keep on planning until you can.
Staying on the Path of Productivity
After the project blueprint is created, Allen describes several ways of making sure you, your team and your project stays on track, or what he calls the “productivity path”:
- Collect – Make sure you have all the bits and bobs of the project in one place– that means emails, references, contacts, dates, and any other important info are stored in a main inbox to avoid time-wasting and confusion in the future.
- Process – Start creating a smooth workflow by dividing and delegating information and tasks to other team members.
- Organize – At this point, start creating important lists like a “what’s next” list (which should be high priority) and “things we’re waiting on” so you can stay on top of the small parts of the project’s whole.
- Review – Once you’ve created your all-important lists, set top priorities and objects and constantly review that they are getting done.
- Do – All actions should be put into context, i.e. “how much time do I have to do this”, etc. so you have a better idea of how you will DO your next step.
This is just a little taster of what the GTD method is all about. So if you want to keep your team on track, motivated, organized and dedicated to succeed in upcoming projects, check out the whole kit and caboodle on David Allen‘s site.