Introducing some discipline

Running your own business is incredibly different from working for an employer.  You set your own schedule, your own deadlines.  Yes, these are very much influenced by your clients, but nevertheless, you’re not accountable to a line manager for what you do or don’t do.

When it comes to how long things take, this can have a big impact.  It’s easy to get drawn into a project & spend far more time on it that you would be ‘allowed’ to in a very large & structured organisation.  Sound familiar??

When designing websites, it’s easy to get sucked into an endless round of tweaking & improving & improving & tweaking – until you suddenly realise you’ve spent far more time on the project than you should have done.  And probably for no real gain.

The same applies to other types of work too.  But how do you stop this happening?  It’s not about producing a half-baked piece of work.  It’s about introducing some discipline.

Gut reactions

Have a piece of paper & a pen handy.  Look at the website (or project, document, whatever it is!) objectively, and make note of what you feel needs some attention.  At this point don’t start tweaking – just write down what you want to change.  What works well & catches your attention?  What doesn’t stand out enough?  Is your key message communicated clearly enough?  Do you demonstrate the same by giving examples of capability and expertise?

Making changes

Once you have a list of what you want to change, go do!  Action everything on your list, one by one.

You’ll be amazed how much more quickly you arrive at a finished result – simply by introducing some discipline into the process.

It’s not just for design…

The same process can be applied in many areas.  Sometimes I have a big jumble of things in my head – things which need doing, ideas which need thinking about, decisions that need to be made.

Sound familiar?  Try getting them down on paper.  Think about the end goal – a finished state rather than an on-going activity.  That applies whether it’s a project, your business as a whole, or just a particular day!

Then allocate time to each task.  Yes, you might not always keep to it 100%.  But once you’ve given that ‘thing’ a slot of time, you can forget about it until that time arrives – and when it does arrive, it’ll have your full attention.

Try it – it works for me!

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