When it comes to getting things done, people tend to get caught up in what they're doing, rather than taking a step back to look at what they've already accomplished and where they plan to go next.
Entrepreneurs are no exception, and this can be problematic when you're running a business. According to a recent Inc. magazine article, doing something as simple as removing gerunds – basically verbs that are conjugated to end with "-ing" – from your vocabulary can have a significant positive effect on your productivity.
"Gerunds suck," writes the source. "They suck time, productivity and progress. They're weasel words – your silent enemy as an entrepreneur. They undermine accountability, and where there’s a lack of accountability there is usually a corresponding lack of productivity."
For example, instead of "making phone calls," "brainstorming ideas for a new marketing campaign," "considering whether to open an account" or "working on your financial plan," get into the habit of accounting for exactly how you spend your time and using this information to determine what you're going to do next. For example, take stock of the fact that you made 20 phone calls and plan to make 10 more tomorrow. Take note of how long it took you to make 20 calls, divide that time in half and plan your day accordingly.
This may sound like an unnecessarily tedious process, but you'll be surprised how much it helps to set up a definitive schedule for what you need to do every day. The fact is, people tend to work better under time constraints – provided these aren't tight enough to result in undue pressure – and you may not realize how long you're spending on tasks that aren't important until you force yourself to actually account for all your time.
After you complete a project, it's important to review it in order to identify stumbling blocks as well as determine what worked well, according to Entrepreneur magazine. Even if things went according to plan and the outcome exceeded expectations, it can still be beneficial to sit down and look at what helped you achieve these results.
There are several ways to communicate effectively during debriefings. Common approaches include auditory (voicing ideas and observations and listening to others discuss them), visual (representing initiatives in the form of charts and graphs) and kinesthetic (handing out a physical copy of a checklist or template to refer to next time).