My house was always a mess. No matter what I asked my kids to do, chores never got done…
My kids knew what I needed them to do… clean their rooms, pick up common areas, unload or load the dishwasher, etc… but the system was not very clear.
Ok, there was no system.
In reality, the system lived in my head, hidden from the view of the rest of my family.
Truthfully, they didn't know when things needed to be done or in what order.
I would walk into a messy house and ask why stuff was everywhere, and my kids would just shrug and say, “I didn't know you needed me to do that.”
Honestly… fair point.
So, to remedy this, I bought a poster board, some envelopes, and wrote dozens of tasks on index cards. Each kid has a task envelope for morning and night stuffed with cards. They start the morning tasks when they wake up, and the evening tasks as soon as we set our dinner forks down.
And you know what… our house stays clean, our kids do their chores without us asking, and everyone is happy.
What was the difference?
Now, my kids know when and what things needs to be done. Our agreement is simple. They can do anything they want after they're done with their cards, but if they begin watching screens, texting, playing minecraft, or anything else before their chores are complete, they lose these privileges for the rest of that day.
The expectations are clear, simple, and understood. The value exchange is mutually desirable, and everyone wins.
As a business owner, you don't necessarily need a chart like mine, but you need something that makes expectations very clear to your team.
At its core, this goes back to the drill and the hole scenario. A person is looking at a drill in a hardware store… Do they want a drill, or do they actually want a hole?
In this scenario, the drill is the chart, and the hole is getting things done. The drill is the tool, and the hole is what your boss (or you) really want.
The drill can be anything… This homemade task chart, Monday, Asana, a whiteboard, a kanban chart, a scrum board -- but the hole, or result, will be the same.
If you’re running solo, this works too. Here’s what I do.
Each morning I spend 8 minutes dumping my tasks for the day in my “inbox” - this can be anything (I use omnifocus). You can use an index card and an envelope. A Post-it note. A legal pad. Then, I examine my to-do list. If a task takes less than two minutes to do, I do it. Then, I order the rest from most to least important. Then, I work my list. If another task pops up after my morning brain dump (unless it’s a dire emergency), I put it in the inbox and order it the next morning during my 8 minute routine from most to least important.
Rinse and repeat. Every day.
You are setting clear expectations for what you and your team need to do.
Brene Brown says, “clear is kind.”
Using your drill (the system) to get your hole (getting things done) is clear, kind, and everyone wins.
Productivity will rise, balls will stop getting dropped, your house will be clean and STAY clean, and you can clear your head to start focusing on the things that matter instead of the constant state of worry that some hole won’t get drilled.
My problem is that I was walking into my house expecting to see a perfectly round hole, but I never gave my kids a drill. Don't make the same mistake in your business.
I love productivity coaching. Email me anytime if you have any questions.