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Better Business Idea #51

Two Ways To Get Things Done More Effectively

© 2001 by Michael C. Gray

July 30, 2001


Although we start with the best intentions of accomplishing certain goals, all too often we find ourselves sidetracked with an unaccomplished list. I have recently been reminded of two useful tools that really help me to focus in and get things done. Maybe you'll find them useful, too.

First, use deadlines. Someone once said, "A goal is a dream with a date." Copywriter John Carlton said that one of mankind's greatest inventions is the deadline. There's no substitute for a deadline in getting things done. (Gary Halbert, who says he is the world's greatest copywriter, says John Carlton is the world's second greatest copywriter - a high compliment from a very savvy marketing person.)

John should know. When he first started his copywriting business (writing advertisements), he visited executives who were frustrated because they couldn't get advertising projects done by their internal advertising departments or from the big agencies they hired. John built a great clientele by creating campaigns quickly. He did this by setting deadlines when he took the assignment. (You can hear John tell his story in a great two-tape interview with Joe Polish. Call Piranha Marketing at 800-275-2643.)

If the goal you are working on is a big one, break it down into milestones, steps to complete along the way, with dates. Then you will have the satisfaction of reaching intermediate goals, which can keep you motivated to continue and ultimately complete the big goal.

Second, make yourself accountable to someone - a personal coach. (By the way, as your business advisor, your CPA is an excellent choice for your personal business coach.) I have been working with Dan Kennedy on a monthly contact basis for a getting a new venture off the ground. I am paying him a significant fee for this service. The greatest values of the service are 1) I know I will be reporting my progress to Dan, so I am encouraged to accomplish more to have something to talk about, and 2) if I haven't accomplished much since the last session, I feel there is a penalty - I haven't been able to get the value from conferring with him that I invested in.

The cash investment is an important motivating factor, so I don't recommend that you just find a friend to report to at no charge.

Try adding dates, especially for the highest priority items to be done, to your datebook "to do" list and make yourself accountable to someone on a monthly basis about your progress. You'll be amazed how much more you'll get done. Then write to me about your experience.

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Michael Gray, CPA
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