Behind the Scenes

How We Get Things Done

by Ezra Firestone



Video Highlights:
0:05 Watch Pincommerce training for a more in-depth look
0:18 We’ve tried a lot of task-management systems: LeanKit, Mavenlink, Podio, Basecamp, and others
0:38 We’ve moved to a new system of managing our workflow called Slack
0:52 You can have different channels for different conversations
1:25 Slack also offers private messaging
1:42 I direct all of my favorite blogs to a blogs-worth-watching channel (RSS Integration)
2:08 The other program we use is Evernote
2:25 What needs to happen, who’s going to do it, and when?
3:00 Limit your appointment availability
4:20 Schedule strategy time
5:22 Action in the wrong direction doesn’t get you anywhere

Click Here For Video Transcript

I want to cover it quickly here. I’ll run through it. You can also watch the PinCommerce training if you want to see a more in-depth version of this. Some of you will not have seen this yet. It’s sort of an update on how we manage all of our businesses.

Man, we tried LeanKit, Mavenlink, Podio, Basecamp, and a couple of others. We’ve been through a lot of task management systems. Essentially, we spent more time entering and managing the tasks than actually doing stuff.

Now we’ve moved to this system of managing our workflow, and it’s called Slack. What Slack is is a combination between Dropbox and Skype. It’s file sharing and it’s messaging. It’s team communication.

You can have these things called channels. You can have different channels for different conversations. You can see what we’re looking at is a development channel. You see Nick and I talking about certain things with regard to development like, “Hey, the footer’s broken, here’s this thing.” We have all of our conversations about development in that channel. We share our files related to development in this channel.

I’ve got an approvals channel up there where anytime there’s something to approve, if Boris has a new piece of content to release or if Nick has a new page code, he drops it in the approvals channel and then I look at it. A blue ribbon mastermind channel. We have all these different channels.

It also does private messaging between users. You can have private messaging. You can have private channels. You’ll see that I’ve got one up there called blogs worth watching. What I’ve got in that channel… It’s free by the way. I think it’s free for, like, the first two users. Then, it’s pretty cheap, $6 a user a month or something. Blogs worth watching, every time one of my favorite blogs posts a post, it just drops into that channel for me. So I never have to go look at my blogs anymore. They call come into this channel. Once a week for an hour, I read through it. I see what I want to read and I catch up on what’s been going on in the world that I’m interested in, which is ecommerce and marketing and stuff like that. Yeah, it does direct messaging and file sharing and stuff like that.

The other thing that we use is Evernote. Basically, we have these team meetings twice a week, sometimes not even that many times but usually twice a week. And on the team meeting we do bullet points for that day of what needs to happen and who’s doing it. Then, we talk about those things in Slack. Then, we have the next team meeting and we say, “Did this thing get done? Okay, no. Then, it’s got to go onto this week’s bullet list.” And we’re just using bullet lists and Slack, and we’re more productive than we’ve ever been. So with regard to managing your work flow, what needs to happen? Who’s going to do it and when? That’s all you need to know.

Meet with your group, whoever you’re working with. If it’s just you by yourself, meet with yourself once a week, do this, make a bullet list or twice a week. And then use Slack to talk to yourself. Hopefully, you’ve got someone who you’re working with. And it’ll really get rid of all the extra crap that you don’t need.

The other thing that I want you to do is limit your appointment availability. Stop it. Stop talking to people all the time. You need to be implementing stuff. You don’t need to be in meetings all the time.

I’ve really drastically cut down my appointment availability. I’m only available for appointments on one day of the week. That’s it. I’ve got my appointments that I do one day of the week, and those are usually with people in the Blue Ribbon Mastermind is usually who I only ever talk to. And maybe if I need to talk to press people or, I don’t know, new people or whatever. But usually I’m only having conversations with people one day a week and then I’ve got my calls which are on Thursday. On Thursday I might have a Community Mastermind call or I might have a one on one with someone or I might have a Blue Ribbon Mastermind call. I essentially have really limited the ability to get ahold of me.

And what happens is people who you really need to talk to will get ahold of you, right? You will end up talking to them at that time. But it really frees up your schedule if you don’t just have a call here and a call there and a call here. So you really want to be protective of your time and limit how easy it is to get ahold of you. Create a barrier between you and people trying to get ahold of you, some kind of way that it’s done so that it only happens on one day per week at a certain time. It’ll really free you up to get stuff done.

The other thing that I recommend is scheduling strategy time. So what I’m responsible for in all my businesses, and it’s I think because I love it so much, is the strategy. I’m not responsible for the development. I’m not responsible for the design. I’m not responsible for the content. I’m not responsible for a lot of stuff. But I am responsible for strategy. And I really like that role.

And I think that, likely, for your business if you’re on this call if you’re part of the ecommerce community, you are likely responsible for strategy in your business. What are you even doing here? Why are you doing it? What are you trying to accomplish? What things are in place? What things do you need in place? You should really review your strategy once a week.

That’s really what our team meetings are generally about. It’s like what the heck are we doing, guys? What are we doing this week? What are we trying to get done by when?

You’ve got to have strategy time. If you’re just busy doing all the time, you may be working in the wrong direction. You may be moving really fast and really well in the wrong direction. This whole thing of just take action, just do stuff, really not a good strategy. Right? Because action in the wrong direction doesn’t get you anywhere. You definitely want to take action, and you definitely want to do things, but you also want it to be calculated. You want to take calculated action.

So I’d really like you to have at least one time per week that you’re reviewing the strategy of your business, and what your goals are, and what you’re trying to achieve, and what strategy is in place to make that happen.

Smart Marketing. Right to your email.

Get the latest marketing news, hot tips, and lifestyle advice delviered to your inbox.

Smart Marketer will not sell or spam your email, you can opt-out at any time.

Get Smart(er) with our courses & memberships

View Courses