The Secret To Getting Things Done In a Business of 1

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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The Secret To Getting Things Done In a Business of 1 - Kelly Swanson managing time photo

Too much to do, too little time!

One of the keys to getting the life, the business, and the dream you want, is to set goals and action steps to get there. But where I sometimes fall down as a professional motivational speaker is in the follow through. Actually DOING the tasks that I have deemed important.

Do you have a list of important things to do, that never seems to get done?

The first issue was that I didn’t have a business plan – something that helped me focus and prioritize and filter everything coming down the pike into its proper place of priority.

Have you determined what tasks are most important and what time frame to put them in?

But even knowing what must be done over what doesn’t have to be done this minute, only got me halfway there. Things were still slipping through, and I was so busy I never had time to stop and assess what was getting done and what wasn’t.

Do you stop occasionally and assess whether you are getting things done? Do you have weekly, or even daily, meetings with yourself to ask, “What is the best use of my time today?”

I finally pinpointed the problem. If the task doesn’t have a deadline attached to it, I never get around to it, no matter how important it is, because other things have a deadline and deadlines come first. The answer? Give these tasks a deadline.

Do all your tasks have a deadline attached to them?

I started giving my tasks deadlines and choosing arbitrary dates when the projects must be completed. But that presented another problem. I didn’t honor the deadlines. Sigh. When I give myself deadlines I cheat on myself every time, because I’m very forgiving and I understand how much I have to do.

Do you find yourself reaching a self-imposed deadline and not honoring it?

I finally realized that the only way I keep a deadline is when I am accountable to someone. The client needs this head-shot by tomorrow. My coaching call is tomorrow and I have to read this speech by then. The blog post is due by Thursday afternoon.  In other words, accountability is the one thing that helps me stay on task.

Accountability is KEY

So I need to find a way to make those non-deadline tasks have more accountability. Enter in my accountability partner.

I have divided my business up into projects,  all tied into my end goals and visions, and the steps I need to take to get there. And for every project I am seeking a partner. I have a business partner. A comedy partner. A partner to help grow my list. A partner for my Kindle book product launch. A partner for every project would be ideal. And I choose partners who are working on the same type of project. We keep each other accountable by stating our goals, reporting in on our progress, and helping each other over the obstacles.

Yes, it’s a pain to have to schedule that many “check ins” in an already packed calendar. And some days, when I really do have more pressing issues, it’s a royal pain to have to drop everything and work on something else because I have a check in coming up. But it works. I tried it for the first time last January, on a book writing project. Thanks to my accountability partner, I wrote five books and am ready to launch them. I haven’t launched them yet because we got slack on scheduling our calls. He is the deadline and the accountability I need. I am convinced if I did not have a partner on this, I probably never would have even started this project.

What about you? Are you ready to get those important things done once and for all? Make yourself accountable.

Kelly Swanson
You. Your Story. Make a difference!

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  • Donna Cutting CSP

    I love the idea of having different accountability partners for various facets of your business. Great post Kelly!