One of my favorite small business books is Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky of Behance (who also happened to be this year’s HOW Design Live Conference closing keynote speaker). The book truly has helped me make ideas happen, by showing me how to focus on the right ideas, keep them moving forward, and spend my time wisely.
One of the tips in the book is to create an energy line, a graphic display of where you are focusing your energy. The energy line starts at “Idle” and ends at “Extreme” (with High, Medium and Low in the middle). You file current and future projects where it’s most appropriate, moving them around as needed. See an example of Behance’s Energy Line here.
He suggests creating an energy line on a wall with sticky notes (for fluid movement), however since I have multiple working environments, I saved an Excel doc in Evernote so I could make edits on the fly (i.e. when my Little One is sleeping).
So, what’s so great about the energy line? For one, it helps you focus, prioritize and manage your time. It makes you realize that not every project is urgent (or “Extreme”) And it helps you decide which projects should go on the backburner for a while (or “Idle”). In my case, this is most important of all. Since I’m a working mom with limited time, I have to focus my time and energy on projects that are creating results. And well, shouldn’t we all be doing that anyway?
Do you track your projects by how much time and energy to focus on them?