Need a productivity boost? Consider the “do/build” method to help you grow your business.
What if there was a trick to being more productive? As a busy business owner of multiple companies, I’m able to instantly boost my productivity using an approach called the do/build method.
According to this method, there are two major types of work: “doing” and “building.” Most days, everybody does some of both. As described by David Saef, vice president of GES, the “doing” work involves things like going to meetings, creating reports and so on. These are pretty easy to schedule, and I’ve even managed to do it while traveling around the world. It’s stuff that needs to be done no matter what, but it can easily eat up your day.
The “building” work, however, is all about brainstorming activities, networking events or otherwise making yourself a better leader. Hopefully, this type of work gets at least 25 percent of your overall workload—50 percent is often ideal. For entrepreneurs like myself, this can be especially difficult, but it’s critical. For many people, actually scheduling out “building” time and seeing it on a calendar can be a great start.
Here are a few more ways to make sure you’re building and doing daily.
Set Building Goals
If you don’t have a plan of action, you risk skimping on it and start “doing” instead. Make sure your building time has a plan and goals you want to accomplish. They don’t have to be huge goals—consider achievable ones. Otherwise, you may see this as too daunting to make time for. I find that when I set building goals for my business, I’m more likely to follow through and accomplish them.
Don’t Overthink the Schedule
Is it important to schedule time for building? Of course, but don’t drive yourself crazy over it. You don’t have to be a master timekeeper, and sometimes things will come up. I try and schedule 30 minutes a day to make sure I’ve got enough time scheduled out. It’s not micromanaging—it’s preparing. Just make sure you actually prioritize “building” time.
Many entrepreneurs constantly hone their strategies, and this can include scheduling building time. You probably have an idea of work demands and when your busy times are. If you have a seasonal workload, you might dedicate more building time during the “off” season and a little less during busy season (such as the holidays). I personally do this every Friday, outside of my personal strategy session. I hop on a phone call and explain one new strategy to my friends. They each have to do this as well. It helps us all think about our strategy and get feedback.
You probably have an idea of work demands and when your busy times are. If you have a seasonal workload, you can dedicate more building time during the “off” season and a little less during busy season.
Every entrepreneur is different, so customize your do/build times to suit your needs. I’ve found that there’s no real wrong way to do it as long as you strive for balance. You won’t be the same as me, and vice versa.
Many people throw together a ragtag “strategy” influenced by how they were raised, early schooling years, first jobs, internships and the like. Obviously, the odds of this being the best and most productive strategy are slim.
Many entrepreneurs, myself included, are also prone to “fast thinking,” which means trusting your gut and making decisions on the fly. This may be a great skill, but don’t let your “slow thinking muscles” atrophy. Following the do/build approach helps me on a daily basis to focus on each and every task that I’m working on.
It often takes constant, conscious effort to shift your approach, but this type of discipline may improve your personal and professional life. Sometimes slowing down is the key.
Author: John Rampton is the founder of Palo Alto, California-based Due, a free online invoicing company. He is also a member of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).