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Applying Dave Ramsey to your task list . . .

I was chatting with Landon Loveall yesterday when we were doing an interview for his new referral network, 30Referrals (see the interview here), and the conversation turned to how many of my small business clients have multiple, ongoing projects that can get overwhelming. As I was explaining my own ongoing, never ending, multiple business projects, I mentioned some recent soul searching and decisions I had made about them.  I realized that what I was doing was very similar to what Dave Ramsey recommends when reducing your credit card debt!  I immediately wrote the idea down on my ever-present note pad just for this post.

Now I could be a bit off so if you follow Dave’s (very good) advice, don’t get bent out of shape!

The basic principle, as I understand it, is to analyze your debt.  Figure out what you owe on each card or debt.  Then start attacking the one with the lowest balance with as much as you can until it is gone.  Then start on the next one.

I currently have 4 major projects going on here at A Fresh Space.  All of them are great projects that I believe will really take my company to another level, and take what I love and make it better.

  • my organizing ebook
  • revamp of the Organizing For Entrepreneurs seminar for small business owners
  • Exceptionally Organized seminar and practicum for parents of children having special needs
  • Finalizing proposals & materials for organizing & staging classes for 3 local other venues

I have other ongoing projects and ideas, as well as daily tasks that get done, but these are the 4 that are the biggest.  I found that while I was making incremental progress on all of them, none were getting completed.  At the end of summer, I sat down and had a heart to heart with myself to figure out why.  I wondered if perhaps I was just procrastinating, had a fear of failure, or something else that was holding me back.  Then I realized that I wasn’t giving each project my all.  I was dabbling here, scribbling there but not really focusing on getting to the end of any of them.  So, by applying the Dave Ramsey principle with my own twist, here’s what I came up with:  Which project could be completed with the least amount of effort based on how close to completion it was?  And which would have the biggest “return on investment”?

My ebook was 80% done, just needed some tweaking,  formatting and pictures.  So I decided to put all others on hold until I finished it.  It’s now 95% done and my goal is to have it ready to go by Halloween.  I figure since it’s a scary goal to create something and put it out there, might as well pick a scary date!

The relief I felt was amazing.  I gave myself permission to ignore the other projects and focus on just the one thing.  And it’s working! When the ebook is done, I’ll analyze the other projects on my list and pick the next most promising.

Now this doesn’t necessarily work in all situations.  I mean when you need to buy cat litter, you need to just get it.  But for large projects that require multiple steps and meaningful thought for home or business (redecorating, marketing efforts, landscaping projects, product development, etc), this is my new methodology.

What’s on your project list that you could focus on?