Business tasks matter if you run any business. That is without question. The real question, however, is which tasks matter most?
Business ventures vary from one another, but there are core principles that remain constant. Obviously, a task list for a solopreneur will be different from that of a corporate CEO; as will it be for a local business employee vs. an international NGO employee.
No matter what sort of business you own, run, or are employed by, however, they all can thrive when they ‘get stuff done.’ But there are only so many hours in a day, and so many days in a week, so you need to identify the priorities, based on the specific intent of your company and/or job, and break down your mission into goals, goals into compartments, and compartments into tasks.
So which tasks are most important? Well, not so fast, they’re all important. The more specific question is how do you know which to prioritize, and when?
I often tell clients that not all tasks are the same, and most fall into one of several types: foundational, transactional, or maintenance.
Foundational tasks are important, but also difficult to manage, as they’re usually lengthy and complex. As such, many times you can break these down into subtasks and work on them in between other things you may need to do — while recognizing that the sooner these are completed the better positioned the company is to grow.
As a CEO I give foundational tasks tremendous importance, I will rely on employees to handle the transactional tasks while I focus on these.
Foundational tasks are the types of things that you may only do once. In most cases, these types of tasks require research and set up time, but once completed they provide parts of the company foundation on which to grow. Here is a short list of things I consider essential foundational tasks:
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Transactional tasks are no less important than foundational tasks. Usually, these are the tasks that actually generate the revenue your company relies on to sustain itself. You can think of foundational tasks as building the ship, and transactional tasks as keeping the ship afloat and moving while serving any passengers aboard.
Some tasks may be recurring, such as monthly SEO services for a particular client, or one-off tasks, such as building a website, or for a trucking company completing a delivery. Therefore the task management system required is dependent on the types of tasks being performed, the level of hierarchy involved, and many other factors. (need help assessing the right first, ask us).
What is most important about transactional tasks is whether anyone else is attached to them. In other words, are others waiting on you to complete yours before they can take the baton and work on theirs? For example, in our company we build websites. So if the designer is tasked to create a logo or header graphic, the design of the website can’t be determined until the logo is complete. The same would hold true in that the web developer can’t integrate social media pages until the marketing team has created them, and so on.
Approaching transactional tasks too can be broken down in many ways, depending on the procedures and/or systems you’ve set up. While many tasks may be dependent on me another to proceed, others can be simultaneous as subtasks. Dependencies can be proceeding or subsequent.
What is most important when you’re working on your task is to (A) recognize whether your progress affects anyone else, and (B) notate the overall timeline of the project to assess the schedule of your contribution to it.
Thus, whenever you have a task, always ask yourself — who else does this affect? Then, proceed in accordance with the overall company and/or department mission statement.
Building systems, protocols, and procedures inside a company are not easy, If it were, everyone would do it. But once you have built the foundational tasks and completed them, it makes the transactional tasks much easier to manage and accomplish.
These tasks are not usually as time-sensitive as the other two types, except when you’re doing state or federal compliance tasks that may have due dates. The types of maintenance tasks where you likely have room to move them around more important tasks would include things such as classifying transactions ongoing in your accounting software, doing bank reconciliations, etc. They are important, but the dates of completion can be shuffled in accordance with whatever other things are more pressing. Just don’t ignore them forever or you’ll suddenly be so far behind it will take an extensive effort to get caught up.
Task management is a process, and having the correct task management software can automate that process to ensure you’re working a peak performance.
Automation is to your time what compound interest is to you money
- Rory Valden
If you need advice on task/ project management (or any other) systems, ask us in a ticket. or through any of our social media profiles