[Hi! I’m Denise from SmallSparksBigResults.com. Gina asked me to step in for a little while, because she’s busy cruising around the Mediterranean for 3 weeks. But don’t worry, she’ll be back soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy a different twist on how to be a lot more productive… in Small Steps, of course!]
“Welcome to Programming 101. Please take out a piece of paper. Over here we have all the ingredients and tools that you will need, to construct an Elvis Peanutbutter and Banana sandwich. What I want you to do is write down every single step, in specific detail, for how to make that sandwich. Go.”
Tick tock, tick tock…. 10 minutes later…
“Great, all done? Now, trade papers with the person sitting next to you. Listen very carefully. I want each one of you to read the instructions on that piece of paper and do ONLY what the steps say — do not do ANYTHING that isn’t on that instruction list. Got it? Go!”
Picture a room full of 20-somethings fumbling around the classroom, tripping over chairs, sticking their fingers in the peanutbutter jar, and slapping a whole banana on a piece of bread. That is, of course, if they weren’t walking into walls, or just sitting in their chair with their hands in their laps. They followed the instructions. Exactly as they were written. Nothing more, nothing less. What a riot!
That’s what happens to entrepreneurs. Only it’s not so funny. Someone says to us: “I’ll teach you how to create a new product (or signature talk, or new website or whatever) and here are the things you should do…” But most of the time they don’t give you the kind of detailed, step-by-step instructions that you need to get the job done. That leaves most entrepreneurs bumping into walls and sticking their finger in the peanutbutter jar… but they’re still hungry because there’s no sandwich.
So here’s The Elvis Method — 3 simple steps to help you make better peanutbutter and banana sandwiches (aka get stuff done):
1. Pick ONE specific project at a time that will be your priority. Are you making a peanutbutter and banana sandwich? Or are you making an omelette? If you think about it, you’ll probably admit that most of the time you start making a sandwich today, but tomorrow you spend most of your time beating eggs. You need to spend a little time every (week) day working on that sandwich, or it will never get finished.
2. Write down the steps. Be very specific. If you’re sitting in a chair and the peanutbutter is across the room, you can’t just say “Step 1: Open peanutbutter jar.” You have to do something to get yourself from the chair to the peanutbutter jar. Drill down: “Step 1: Go to peanutbutter jar.” Hmm…. what does “go to” mean exactly? Drill down… “Step 1: Stand up out of chair. Step 2: Take 10 steps straight ahead.” OK, now you’re cookin’. Keep drilling down until you know precisely what next step you need to take, and every day, take at least one step toward completing your ONE most important project. Even if it’s just 5 minutes (one quick phone call, reviewing content that you need to edit, etc.) you’ll be amazed at how much you get done.
3. During the short time each day that you’re working on creating that Elvis sandwich, don’t allow any distractions. Be laser-focused on that one small task. Don’t answer the phone, don’t talk to anyone, and don’t do email. The more focused and clear you are, the faster you will get that project done.
Have you tried the Elvis Method? Or some other method to break your most important work down into small steps? We’d love to hear from you. Please share it with us in the comments!