10 Rules For Consistent Execution | Brand Elevation Through Social Media and Social Business | Altitude Branding

Altitude Branding - 10 Rules for Consistent ExecutionI’m constantly reworking the way I, well, work. And one of the things I do well is relentless execution.

Changing roles, projects, and priorities requires reevaluating the system sometimes. But I’m constantly asked how I “do it all”, so here are a few rules I’m sticking by these days in order to focus on the things that need my attention. As always, your mileage will vary, but maybe there’s a nugget or two in here that can help.

1. Keep a roadmap.

I spend at least a couple of hours each week visiting, revisiting, and absorbing my priorities.

That includes everything from work projects to side projects to personal appointments and commitments. The roadmap (which is really just a list) is my guide. My gut knows how much is too much, and when things feel like they’re in focus. If either of those are off, I dedicate time to sitting down and reviewing what’s there to make decisions.

2. No more than three calls/meetings in one day.

This can be a tough one to uphold, especially because I work remotely, but it’s crucial.

If I’m stacked in with several calls in a day, there’s no time left to actually DO the work. To help me adhere to this rule, I always ask if my participating in a meeting is critical to its success, or whether I could do with simply a recap and a list of anything that’s expected of me. It’s amazing how many times that shifts a meeting from critical to optional.

3. One day per week with no meetings at all.

I finally learned this one after years and years of having really messy weeks.

I’ve learned my own work style well enough now that I recognize I need one complete day with NOTHING on the calendar in order to give my full, undivided attention to key projects at that moment in time. For me, it’s Wednesdays, because it’s in the middle of the week and when I’m usually feeling the most urgency or pressure. Yes, it’s hard. But it’s invaluable.

4. Delegate.

I am fortunate to have a crack, super smart team that I work with. And they do me absolutely no good if I can’t hand over responsibility to them for key projects.

The more responsibility *I* have, the more important it is that I learn to delegate well. (I don’t always get this right, but I try). And I tend to delegate whole projects or initiatives that can give people a sense of ownership and direction (rather than simply doling out ad hoc tasks). Delegation can be hard, but if you *hire* well, it’s much easier to trust that what you hand off will be done according to (or even exceeding) your expectations.

5. Ask about urgency before saying yes.

Sometimes, you’re simply the first person someone comes to. People who get things done typically get a reputation for same, so they’re top of mind when there’s something going on.

It’s critical to ask about the urgency of emerging projects and ideas before committing to them. If you’re surrounded by creative folks and idea factories that are coming at you left and right, you have to separate the must-dos from the would-be-nices. Asking “how critical or urgent is this priority to you right now?” is a great way to level set expectations and where it needs to fall on the roadmap.

6. Wait 24 hours before agreeing to anything.

Related to the above, but this goes for external requests as well as those from within your own walls.

Too many times, I’ve made the mistake of saying yes to something before I’ve had a chance to go back and see how it tucks into the Grand Master Plan. And then when I get back and look at the list, I realize I’ve bitten off way more than I can chew. (This happens with email requests as well as the passing “hey, you should work on this project with me” things that fly past me at in-person gatherings or events).

So now, I try hard to give new projects time to percolate for scheduling reasons, as well as to be sure I really see how it fits into both my interests (if that’s an option) and other priorities. Related to that…

7. Never accept an appointment if not in front of my calendar.

This seems like common sense, but maybe I’m just not so sensical. I can’t count how many times I’ve said “sure, that date sounds good” without looking at the calendar, and just trusting my recollection of what’s already there.

This isn’t just because of a daily schedule, but also a weekly and monthly perspective. Saying yes to things really requires understanding how busy my day, week, and month are at a glance to be sure I’m not trying to take on more than is reasonable.

8. Accept that no isn’t forever.

Yes, I get that sometimes opportunity only knocks once. But sometimes, I have to let it go anyway.

I can’t grab every potential opportunity. For example, right now I’m working on a couple of significant projects outside my day job that are important to me. Which means that this summer, I’ve had to turn down project collaboration requests and some optional speaking engagements in order to focus on that. Easy? No. Necessary for my ability to deliver on what I’ve said I will? Yes.

There WILL be other opportunities. And they’ll be timed better.

9. Family time is inviolate.

My daughter is the most important thing in the world to me. I’d chuck it all for her.

And while in my mind’s eye I’m doing so much of this to secure her future and hopefully more freedom for me down the road, it’s crucial that I set aside time with and for her that no one else touches. That means I will NOT answer the phone between 5pm and 9pm for anything but calls I want to take. I’ve broken that rule a few times for more urgent work related calls, but I make it clear that, when I’m not traveling, those are the hours daily that I spend with Abby.

As for work on the weekends, yep, I do it. But it’s on my timeline and my schedule, which is usually around Abby’s naps or other activities. Spending time with her and the rest of my family is important to me to keep balance and a sense of perspective.

10. Create time.

When I’m asked how I make time for everything I’m doing or working on, the answer is simple.

I sacrifice other things.

I get up early and work when it’s quiet. I stay up late and do the same. I don’t watch much TV, my house isn’t ever neat as a pin. I pay for people to mow my lawn. When I travel, I’m using time in airports, on planes, in hotel rooms to work on things. My hobbies – like horseback riding – are on hold during this phase of my life and career.

It’s a choice. It might not be YOUR choice. But I’m not doing anything magical. I’m just working my ass off, and staying ruthlessly focused on what matters. (Hint: If you can’t define “what matters”, you need to start there.)

Your Methods?

You might notice how many of the above rules pivot around a single concept: keeping hold of priorities and allowing time to work on them.

When you ask me how I determine priorities, it’s simple. I know what I’m aiming for. Priorities help me get to those places. The rest is optional. If you have trouble sorting priorities, it’s more likely that you have a focus problem than a task problem.

So what works for you? Do you have rules or guidelines that you live by in order to manage your very full days and weeks? Share with us in the comments and let’s get inspired by one another.

Posted via web from AndyWergedal