We had the honor of interviewing Dr. Stevie Dawn of Always Be The Shark on our podcast, HR Insiders. Stevie is known as the productivity queen, and she was generous enough to share her SHARK method for personal productivity. Read on to hear Stevie share, in her own words, how to achieve more, in less time and with less effort.
This is an outline for the steps of the SHARK Method. You don’t have to accomplish this all in a day. In fact, it usually takes between four and six weeks to implement this method in a meaningful way. Let’s look at the breakdown so you can start making more time and making more money.
S – Streamline
Write down a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish, with space to the side of them for ratings. This should include everything you need to accomplish in a whole month.
Once you have listed all of your tasks, go through and rate each one on a scale of one to five in these three areas:
- Time – How quickly can you accomplish this task?
(One requires a LOT of time and five would not take much time at all.)
- ROI – How much income does the task produce?
(One means very little and five is rakin’ in the big bucks)
- Genius – How is this task aligned with your skillset and expertise?
(One means not at all and five means fully aligned)
Add the three ratings together to score each task and circle anything higher than 12. These are the tasks that make up the work that truly matters — the tasks that are aligned with your zone of genius, bring in a high level of profit, and don’t take much time. This is the priority section of your new to-do list
H – Handoff/Hands Off
What is left on your list that doesn’t need to be accomplished by you? Look at the remaining tasks on your list. Mark anything that could be done by someone else with an “H.” If you’re struggling to identify what can be handed off, look at your rating for how a task falls within your level of expertise (we’ll call this your zone of genius). Anything that you gave a rating of three and below could be considered for delegation to someone else.
Think of your team members and their individual areas of expertise. As you hand off tasks, try to give people tasks that would get a score of 12 or higher in their own streamline phase. Make sure that things are delegated in a way that ensures they can be accomplished efficiently and well. Any task you hand off, you should treat as a hands-off item. Micromanaging won’t boost your productivity or conserve anyone’s energy. The onus lies with you to delegate well and to communicate with respect and authority.
A – Automate/Autopilot
Go back to the items still left on your task list. As we look at the tasks that can’t be passed off but don’t fit your zone of genius, mark an “A” by anything that can be automated.
Ask yourself, “Could I use technology to support me with this task? Can I create a process so delineated that I can do it on autopilot?” Think about email lists and other general business tasks. Think about templates. How many times are you writing the same email over and over again? Just make it once then copy and paste it. You don’t need to keep writing it, it can be automated.
As we think about making some tasks automatic, our goal is conserving energy for the work that matters. Many of us have a certain process or procedure that we go through every morning when we get into the office. Maybe for you it’s fill your coffee cup, say hello to Janet, check your calendar, read your emails… you have a process. You don’t think about it, it just happens. It takes zero energy. What else can you create a process for that could be totally automatic?
R – Review
Now that you’ve streamlined your task load and identified what you can hand off or automate, you need to review it. I suggest that every 60-90 days you reassess your process. Did you hand something off but end up taking it back on? Did you find yourself struggling to work with a tool you used to automate a task?
Know that you’re not going to come up with a perfect solution in your first pass through the process. Productivity requires constant tweaking. As your role changes and your business grows you’ll need to readdress your list.
K – Keep Swimming
This sounds the simplest but is truly the most profound step in this process. Don’t give up, and don’t stop taking yourself through this process. Sharks rarely make sharp turns, they consistently make minimal tweaks and adjustments to their path to end up exactly where they mean to be. Big pivots take too much energy — for sharks and for you.