Getting Things Done – (Part Two).

Dale Norton, founder of Romans, has often said that what made Romans into one of the best estate agencies in the country wasn’t that they had a secret ingredient or special formula but that they simply got things done.

Having then worked as a consultant to the firm for over a decade and designing their Good to Great initiative which kickstarted a wholesale change programme, I naturally concur and more would add, “we simply got the right things done”.

One key lesson I applied was something I learned many years ago, the difference between projects and BAU (business as usual).

Most of us have BAU and it often fills up our diaries. Writing this four-i post for example, is something I do every week, as is the weekly coaching tips which are exclusively for our members. Then there are regular meetings, both internal and with our Leadership Groups, and on top of all that 100+ emails and calls a day. My bet is your diary gets pretty full too and if you’re not careful there’s no time left to work on your projects. That’s why I urge you to make one simple change to enable project work to get done. Make appointments for each one. Take a look at your diary now. My guess is that most of you only have internal and external meetings scheduled. There’s been no time specifically allocated for projects, other than an internal catch up/review meeting perhaps. If this is true for your schedule then my guess is you apply a “I’ll fit it in” approach – and sometimes you will. However, all too often the day job, BAU, takes over and the projects are pushed back, scrapped or not even started.

The solution is to allocate specific times in your diary for specific projects. Even if it’s just one 45 minute block per day that will add up to over 21 full days during the course of the year and you can get a lot done in three weeks. Pick the time of day that’s less likely to be hijacked and also when your energy is at a great level to be able to fully concentrate, (project work is often more tiring because it’s new and different and taxes different parts of the brain). Identify which project you’re going to work on and write it into your diary as if it was an appointment: “Project work on XYZ” and if the facility is enabled, block it out as “not available”. Then find a place you can work in peace and quiet, or at least without interruptions. If there’s nowhere in the office and the coffeeshop doesn’t work for you then try your car – park up in a quiet spot, turn the phone off (as you would do with an appointment), set the alarm for 45 minutes and get stuck in.

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