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22.01.18 / Quantify your business and busy-ness: Todoist in practice

One of our core beliefs is we should share how we do things. Our aim is to influence how things are done for the better, to create what comes next. Something we are asked about a lot is how we run tasks and projects. We ignore many of the conventional ways it’s done across marketing and consulting, in favour of a single app, used continuously. Seriously.

It’s called Todoist. You might have tried it, you might use one of the competitors. Why Todoist specifically, vs others? Well, when Katie and I were first planning the business, we looked at several, but most are good just for individuals, or others are good for businesses, but are aimed at software development. Todoist had the seriousness yet flexibility we wanted.

So, when the two of us were planning things in what we termed our ‘provincial office’ (my Kitchen table) we were using Todoist. It tracked everything we needed to do, from coming up with a name, to buying a laptop. We knew if we started with it, every team member who joined would just adopt it. You can’t install it later.

But…

Why do we do it?

  • Project management: We have 10-15 live clients/projects at any one time. Each of those will have 10-30 tasks at any one time. There are 14 people. Keeping that joined up needs process.
  • Fluidity: We don’t want to do meetings for people to discuss what they are doing/need to do. We want it to be live. It’s the pace ‘next’ requires.
  • Personal accountability and self-direction: We don’t believe traditional hierarchies work for the sort of people we have (and want) in the team. We want people who put their hands up for responsibility and set their own paths to achieve the goals. This gives a shared framework for those sort of people.

What are the benefits?

  • Efficiency: We’re more efficient than conventional industry benchmarks. This is one reason.
  • Ownership: People have their initial against their action. That changes the dynamic around a task and the standard it is delivered to.
  • Transparency: Everyone can see everyone else’s stack. You can’t hide, nor do you want to. You can learn from seeing what others do, and how they do it.

How do we use it in practice?

  • Continuously: Every piece of work / all of the time. It is constantly reviewed, referred to, and is the tool we use when discussing a project. Individual review sessions focus around it.
  • Review programmes: We show it to clients and partners. We collaborate outside our business using it.
  • Individual effectiveness: You can get a lot of stats. I know that Thursdays and Sundays are the days I do the most tasks. I know I have got continuously more effective in the last 2 years. I can tell you how many tasks the typically junior or experienced team member does of a specific type, which projects are the most efficient, which the least. I can quantify every aspect of our output. This drives decision making.
  • Collective effectiveness: We discuss overall output with the team, and compare results. It drives a performance culture.

So, this hopefully shines a light on literally the way we run the business, right now. It’s different. Try it. We know it’ll help you. And if you’re not a “list person”… become one.

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