My brain dump system to create clarity

About once every week or two my brain starts to feel overwhelmed or unsure of the ‘most important thing’ to be doing that day. It’s important to always be checking to make sure you and your team’s working on important things!

The issue is, important things change. And change fast. I’ve created a weekly or bi-weekly habit of a pen to paper brain dump in my daily to-do notebook. I start off with a few power questions that always rotate. Here are some examples:

  • What will help us reach our goal this year the fastest and simplest way?
  • What is out biggest bottleneck at the moment?
  • What small changes would make the biggest impact?
  • What could we do today that has a CHANCE at 10X our business this year?
  • Why are we in this business to begin with?

This gets me focused on the bigger picture and lets me spot the items on the list that could bring the biggest results with the least time or money.

Then, I write down anything and everything related to the business. It’s usually about 2 full pages of bullet point items. I do this off the top of my head first as it brings out the things most top of mind  (usually the ones I should do first that maybe have not). After that, I look back at the previous brain dump and check off the completed ones (this feels good) and add any I’ve  forgotten about to the new list I created.

Reflecting back on this is awesome! I can see the ones that have been on the list for too long and either take action, remove them entirely if no longer important or just let them float along till the time is right. It creates clarity and lets me know we’re focusing on the right things.

This master list is always evolving. We add new ideas, new tests, new product lines. Anything that might help us get to our goals as a company. Here are a few on my list this moment that are not done yet. This will give you a scope of the size of these tasks from large to small:

  • setting up an upsell and split testing system to outsource and automate
  • look back and find scaling triggers. can we find a pattern in the data showing us which products could have scaled faster and learn from that?
  • start testing and creating systems around international expansion – create the MVP
  • Build more KPI’s around the key drivers for our business (the key drivers are held internally)
  • create a dashboard for easier view of business in real time (klipfolio or other)
  • automate monthly accounting tasks
  • find new partners to promote as affiliates or paid ads
  • create videos for top selling skus + systemize
  • collect video testemonials for website
  • split test cart and checkout pages to improve conersions – simplest way?
  • improve thank you page – think of ‘connecting generations’
  • improve overall ineraction level and personality of the company – how and what is it?
  • licensing deals?
  • create a premium brand
  • test a new theme for dramatic conversion rate test – protect the downside
  • implement and hire legit SEO peeps
  • test new traffic sources like taboola, ourbrain, yahoo, email and other
  • continue to create manuals and systems for aspects of business
  • review ‘high our put management’ questions and take action on points
  • book a room for the team to meet in before next week
  • finally automate bi-weekly emails and forget about them!
  • meet suppliers in person

These are just a few, are the specific enough? Not really. But as I choose from this list we break them down into actionable steps and decide who is responsible. This lets our team execute on what’s most important. The list never really shrinks, in fact, it always grows, but it’s a great refference of ‘are important things getting done?’ And to make sure were not just focsuing on daily immediate emergencies. It ensures we never stop improving the business as a whole and lose site of our why.

Going back 3,6,12 months and reviewing the list reveals a lot about where time has been invested. Are we not getting some important things done? Why has this been on the list for 6 months with no action? Is it because it’s not important? Because we don’t know how to do it? Are we focusing too much on short-term emergencies than building the company? Which leads to the question ‘How to reduce or eliminate short-term emergencies so we can focus on the important things?’.

This all adds to the brain dump and I always get new ideas while doing this exercise. Hope it helps, give it a try!

 

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