The Effective Architect Part 1: Plan Your Work
In this 5-part series, we’re going to look at 25 ways you can work smarter, not harder in 2019. Part 1 focuses on how to effectively structure your work to ensure success.
Let’s get started!
Plan your work
Focusing on the “how” of your work is just as important as focusing on the “what”. Ideally, we want to be both effective and efficient. However, while efficiency is really about doing things right, effectiveness is about doing the right things. You can be really efficient but not very effective, especially if you’re not working on the right things.
The 80/20 principle
Eighty percent of your results come from just twenty percent of your effort. Focus on results, not work. More hours does not necessarily equal more results. This is the essence of the 80/20 principle.
Identify your high-value activities. These are the activities you perform better than anyone on your team or in your office. Focusing on your high-value activities gives you greater leverage to get your most important work done.
Outline your process
Yes, every project is unique, but the tasks and milestones in each project are pretty similar. Outlining the process helps you see where to eliminate steps or make it more efficient. Mind maps are a great tool for this exercise.
After you’ve outlined your process, create checklists for each stage of the project. What are your standard deliverables? What problems do you typically run into? What often gets missed? Take a look at Atul Gawande’s book, The Checklist Manifesto, for practical advice on creating and managing checklists. Also, most project management software allows you to create checklists and to-do lists.
Create a daily plan
What are you going to work on today? What about this week? Creating a daily plan is a key step in making sure you get done what’s important. I like to use an analog planner, like the Productivity Planner, but digital tools like Todoist, are equally effective.
In Part 2 of this series, we take a look at time management and I’ll show you 5 ways you can better focus your time.