When our days are devoured by a million things to get done, we lose focus on the activities that produce our income. Lots of time management tools will help you cope with the million things, but here are two tools to help you do more of the Income Producing Activities.
These tools reward you with points for each IPA you complete. You can add up your points and track your progress. They bring some focus back onto the Important, but not Urgent parts of your business.
The Printable CEO ™
“The Printable CEO is not a To-Do list. It’s an I-Did list,” David Seah, the tool’s designer, said. In The Making of the Printable CEO, Seah give advice on deciding what tasks are worth tracking.
Have a task list that’s tied to the strategic goals, and trust that great things are built from many small steps. Make the steps small, doable, and supportive of your strategy.
Frame measurement of progress in a way that doesn’t encourage perfectionism and completionist thinking. Equate filling out a bubble [recording a completed task] with found money. We like found money!
If you’ve picked the right tasks, the completion of every one them should be a positive step toward achieving your goals. In my case, most of those tasks contributes to managing relationships that lead to new contracts, or tangible assets that attract new relationships. You may have different priorities, such as research or gaining experience. Just make sure that you can show or share what you’ve done. I find mere description and exposition is far less compelling.
You can tell Seah is a designer just by looking at his work; it’s very thoughtfully designed. On the functional side, it gives different points for each income producing activity. It also ties together the list of actions and points with a tracking system that is fun. He has many resources on his The Printable CEO Series page. Being a spreadsheet person, I like the Excel version on The Printable CEO Remixed page.
From Mary Kay
Here’s another IPA tools that could be easily adapted, this one from Mary Kay consultants. A simple version in Excel spreadsheet format is available from Courtney Duvall. I like this version because it includes motivating explanations that would be easy to customize your business. The weekly tracking portion is very, very simple. A daily tracker in PDF is available from Fran Mottern. It is more complex, but makes a monthly review of progress very easy. This one would be a bit harder to customize, but it can serve as a great example to borrow from.
Chart Your Progress
The first step is just tracking every day’s points, as compared to the goals you set. One step further is to track your progress on a simple chart on paper or in a spreadsheet. Go even further, and make it a big chart and put on your wall where you see it every day. Being child-like and fun can work!
Only you can decide what your income producing activities are. Once you have made those choices, these tools can help you to focus your daily actions on producing income by rewarding each meaningful step you take.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.