How to get things done

Coaching Tips with Matt Church. Founder, Thought Leaders Global

There are some people who just seem to get things done when they need to, and others who are constantly distracted and can’t focus. So how do these people get more done?

Professional speaker Matt Church thinks there are two types of people – dedicated and continuous – who approach tasks in different ways and get things done using different methods. The dedicated people can sit down at a certain time and do what needs to be done. On the other hand, continuous people are just as productive but tend to go about getting things done in a more creative and chaotic way. With this group it is all about finding ways to optimise their time to achieve their goals.

There are plenty of great ideas, but it’s those who can knuckle down and execute their entrepreneurial ideas who make things happen. “There is no shortage of fantastic ideas on the planet; it’s people with the ability to implement and do something with them that’s truly the key to commercial success,” Mr Church explained.

Capturing Information

Highly disciplined people write their ideas down as they happen and have a dedicated time to document those ideas in a system. Others makes notes on a scrap of paper and then can’t find the paper when they need to implement the idea, so Mr Church has an idea to make them keep better records. “Buy a beautiful pen and buy a gorgeous leatherbound journal and that’s your dedicated capturing tool. I want you to have a real attachment so that you are never anywhere without that,” he said, explaining they will want to write their ideas in the journal because they love it so much. Some use an iPhone application called JotNot to photograph the notes and send them to an assistant to process. “I think the challenge that the continuous creative person has, versus the dedicated person, is that we’re easily distracted,” Mr Church said, saying these people could get things done by using productivity blitzes and running their days in a single context. “What this mean for me is if I’m doing webinars or I’m doing phone calls, that’s my context. So I don’t do a face-to-face meeting while I’m doing phone calls,” he explained. He spends half and full days working on only mentoring, meetings, preparation and so on. Many entrepreneurs use management tools like OmniFocus or 37signals’ Basecamp to stay on track.

Tips on Process

Productivity blitzes are one of the key ways to process batches of work. When Mr Church has a big task, like writing a book, he goes to a caravan park and rents a caravan or cabin by the sea for three days and just writes. “I just think probably the most powerful thing you can do is work in context. So when it’s a meetings day, it’s a meetings day. Then when it’s a really big piece that you need to push across the line, have a blitz where for the next two days, that’s all you do,” he said. For example, if a real estate agent needed to improve their systems and procedures they should set aside two days and that is all they do on those days. “Imagine you were moving office – you would block out that whole period of time, not a little chunk of time. You’ve got to not be distracted; you’ve just got to be ruthless,” Mr Church said.

Reviewing, but not too much

Don’t let perfection be a form of procrastination. “I really believe in 100% out there, 80% right. Have a go, just get it done.” It is better to complete a task than keep working on it and working on it, but never finishing it. Equally, it is important to have the discipline to focus on the most important tasks ahead, instead of constantly coming up with great new ideas. “The discipline that I’ve developed is to focus on just five wildly important projects and goals,” Mr Church explained.

As a visual person, Mr Church takes pages of plans and ideas with him wherever he goes and sticks them up with Blu-Tac everywhere, including airport lounges. He doesn’t have a to-do list but uses Things on his Macbook, iPad and iPhone because he can tag and sort items as they are processed. Every time he thinks of something he can add it to this system.

The final step in getting things done is doing – so just do it!