Kate’s Q and A for March

Siobhan writes – how do you stay disciplined when you are your own boss? I find myself getting distracted and keep bumping my task list. What’s your top tips to get stuff done?

Well Siobhan it’s easy. It’s all about personal discipline – especially the discipline to just finish that task list to succeed.

I wrote this at 9pm. There was no deadline other than my own and I had a cold and I couldn’t have if I wanted to just let it go for a day. Do it tomorrow and drop it off today’s list.

But I don’t. One of my commitments to myself is to land all the planes I set out to do every day – so if something is left outstanding then I have to get it done. Because it does matter. It really does matter if you just leave one thing, or don’t do one of the tasks you set out to do.

Why? It’s not just the letting slide of the task, it’s the psychological precedent that its gets you into the mindset of – that it’s okay to let things slide – so after that what else will you let pass – your deadlines, your timescales, you start compromising on everything.

It’s all about getting into the psychological pattern of doing what you say you are going to – not to other people – we all do that right? You do don’t you?? Oh please don’t say you are one of those peoples who over-promise and under-deliver?

Do you know how rare it is in business today to just do what you say you are going to do? Pretty rare. So it’s very easy to differentiate yourself from your competition just by doing what you say. But when I say “do what you say you are going to” that means on time, within deadline, on budget and to the 100% satisfaction of your client/supplier or team member who is relying on the output.

I know the task lists are infinite so these are key tasks that you must do today – not projects that really don’t matter.

There is a key caveat here which says only set a few things to do in a day that take core time – you know that three-four hours concentrated working – max five to ensure they are done. And always add a thing or two to do for yourself so you feel balanced in work versus you time.

But whatever you do and whenever you do it you MUST MUST MUST finish your commitments every day, finish your task list, deliver stuff on time and make your personal deadline as important as external deadlines to get into the routine of that 100% commitment to completing and finishing.

So go to it. See you next week.