Project Talk: It's your turn to do the washing up!

We've all had weekends, where everything is a chore. The dishes need doing, the washing needs washing and the rooms need cleaning. Whatever methods we use, we all seem to find ourselves with completely boring and time-consuming tasks. Yet unlike at home, which is predominately on our time, projects time has a far greater impact than upsetting your partner. Project untidiness would costs business thousands, if not millions of dollars!

So what am I talking about? Oh you know, those pieces of paper you use to capture minutes, those spreadsheets that you email to 40 people and then collate, those actions piling up in Outlook, that have yet to be addressed. Whether you like or not, you know I'm right. Projects can be a messy business, but it doesn't have to be dirty.

With far more important things to do, like walk the dog, play Fortnite or watch the latest Netflix series, the house chores can easily pile up until the mess is so bad, you can't get to the laundry door (blockaded by clothes). You finally get up with a huff and crack on, making a seemingly small daily habit into a week load of washing, cleaning and drying, and who wants that!

There are simple ways to build daily habits, that in the project (and the home life) can provide huge upside. Largely, what would you be doing if you didn't have to focus on these administrative tasks? You'd have more time (cumulatively) to work on more important actions, work on relationships, developing yourself. The problem is us. We need to ensure we keep ourselves sane and in control of what we can control. I'm not saying you're going to be able to completely stop messy projects (or a messy kitchen) but there are certain ways to improve projects that will keep your work smooth, organised and more efficient. This converts into tens, if not hundreds of hours if applied correctly.

Remove excuses and start today

Whether you've just started to clean or have your own method. Start today. A little work now makes a big difference later. It's like working out. If you just do 20-30 minutes a day, this adds up and your aerobic and strength will increase. Similarly, dieting or losing weight, if you reduce your calorie intake each day by 20-30% you will start to notice over weeks and months. Time is a great way to measure progress and performance toward the desired goal. So remove anything standing in your way and start.

I suggest a priority vs. important grid. Aim to score everything on your list of laundry (project to-do's) that you either have not done or have been avoiding and rank them appropriately. Using a 1-5 method for both priority and importance, look to then look at those that are very important and very high priority. Look to transfer those things that are not important or priority. Delegate where possible. After all, you always need one washer and one dryer (naturally most have dishwashers now, so replace with one stack and one puts away).

Automate where possible

Sadly, not all people will possess the skills to automate process, system and bring in new shiny toys to help with the workload. I get it. I'm not suggesting you need to go to the best solution. What we're looking for are increments. Success is measured in nanoseconds. Think of the runner or cyclist where the difference between first and second place is very small, or like long jump or shot put, where distances can be within millimetres. Success in removing laundry tasks is therefore in the micro-movements. That's why it is key to look to automate within existing systems, frameworks and authority.

Printing bac in the day was done with one of these. Now could you imagine printing these days like this?

Try Using The Bullet Method

For me, most of my interactions happen in reviews and workshops. Most time for me is condensed and therefore getting my notes, actions and events into a digestible format is usually a rush job. One way to keep the dishes away, so to speak, is to only use what you need to ie. one plate for the day, or one cup. Wash and keep your dirtying to a minimum! My notes are the same. I use the bullet journal method by Ryder Carroll. His system to mark and note only the essential, to keep your day in order is brilliant and I highly recommend it.

Whether you or your PA or your team does this, it's worth reaching out and trying this method. It may take some time to get your head around, but once you have it down, you will never go back to the old way again. To make this even more valuable, use if with an app. I don't suggest any apps particularly as there are so many out there, but my favourite (and free) is Evernote. It allows me to be flexible and the search function is brilliant.

Get these three steps, to cleaning, washing and doing your project laundry. Obviously not an exhaustive list, but nothing is ever that simple. Habits are born through repetition. As a starter, you should look to START TODAY then automate low-value tasks and prioritise your work. Once done you should then get into the habit of a well organise action/note-taking method. This is only the start. You will still need to fold the clothes, vacuum and iron. Work out what areas you need to improve your discipline and start there! If every project staffer left this blog and decided TODAY to make simple and effective change, I'm sure you would see results on your projects.


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