There are 3 types of tasks needed to continually push a business forward. Each person needs to do all of them, albeit in different portions depending on the role.
Dailys are the things we natural fall into each day. They usually consist of a significant portion of your day.
- Checking emails
- Answer the phone
- Going through mail
- Updating spreadsheets
- Shipping packages
- Inspecting material
- Processing billing
These tasks are essential and make the core of the business value machine, yet they can become distractions. Some even use these to avoid real meaningful work (although probably subconsciously). While these are mandatory, they cannot consist of our entire day, every day. We can feel busy and productive as we hammer away at our daily tasks. Many even consider this their full job.
However, a team of people who only consider the dailys as their entire job will become reactive. They will fall behind the industry given enough time. They will be putting out fires, and find themselves out of time to do the work needed. You might start saying "the industry changed" or "we used to just buy and sell, now there is so much more going on!". The reality is, the two other tasks were neglected.
Project tasks are those that require deeper work, less distraction, and will create a permanent shift in the business. It doesn't have to be huge, but the operation will have moved forward.
- A better organized spreadsheet for tracking shipments
- Some new formulas in a spreadsheet to save time
- Restructuring the incoming material work flows
- Adjusting the old form, or creating a new form that is easier to complete and helps more with the current process
- Building a new piece of software to automate tasks
- Developing a training video series on key parts of the business for new hires
When we finish dailys, instead of rechecking emails, we should put some focused work in on these. It is easier to instead check email, feel busy and productive, and never create these operational shifts. However, a team that is consistently performing project tasks, will move forward a little bit each day and rebuild itself over and over from the inside.
These are the tasks that clear out the build up. I have around 30 that take place on frequencies from daily to annually.
- Checkup on and cancel old purchase orders
- Delete old screenshots
- Remove old notes and emails
- Check inventory that hasn't moved in 24 months
As we work, different processes create excess outputs that are no longer needed. The more this builds up around you, physically and digitally, the longer it takes you to find information, understand where you are at, manage your time, find lost money, or reduce risk of orders and billing that fell through the cracks.
Splitting these up among the team, and picking useful frequencies, keeps the operation running clean and without garbage bogging it down.
Every company should work on building a culture that addresses each task type, done by every employee. The admin can work on excel organization projects while the CEO can eliminate old strategy objectives and update to new ones. No one is above or below each task type.