You are noting things in your task planner, and you’re setting yourself objectives and tasks; trying to fit things into a short-term, medium-term, long-term plan, fixing goals and then doing things on a daily basis.
You’re firefighting, doing essential things, responding to the accountant, responding to customers, filling in the forms.
Based on the current direction
Invest time in your strategy, but get a handle on whether things are going the right way. Measures help you to determine this.
You don’t always know which way to go. You should determine the way things are going now and then reaffirm the way you want things to go.
Sometimes it is easier to know the way that you don’t want to go. It may be harder to express the way you want things to go. Base your objectives on the way things are now and your desires for the future.
This flowchart maps out an elementary management cycle
Start with a baseline description of your system which says this is the way things are; this is the way things work, this is the process, focusing on the function of the system. You may wish to carry out functional requirements analysis to map the future system.
Try to improve the system, make it more profitable, to configure it in a particular way. It might not just be about money but about specific things to achieve, things you enjoy doing more than others. Set your objectives towards those things.
The objective is to improve processes
I use GTD to set myself tasks in colour plans, at different horizons, different levels of focus: short-term, medium-term long-term.
The objective may be in a particular direction but also for things to be easier to achieve. There is no point in things being difficult per se, so take the path of least resistance where possible.
The objective is to operate more smoothly, be more efficient and thus make more money.
Do measure analyse
The idea of a cycle is to do, measure (some indicators) and then look back at how things have gone.
A simple case is in translation. Measuring the time to do orders, the number of words done in an hour helps to make reasonable estimates. On-time delivery improves relationships with customers. On-time deliveries are based on correct future estimates of time taken.
In the translation market, I developed a translation and terms database to measure translation statistics. This helps me to do measure analyse.
This measurement helps to fix costs, prices, and to know what the rate should be. The result helps to improve performance and makes work more comfortable. Productivity may also improve by focusing on just one job rather than two.
So, this cycle goes around; the baseline management system described in a system diagram. The idea is to ‘do for a while, measure, look at the results and find opportunities for improvement.