Project managers know it. Change managers know it. A status report is a great way to increase your productivity. It ensures your stakeholders know where you are at and, because it’s public, it keeps you motivated to deliver what you promised, on time.
You can increase your productivity with a status report by choosing what matters most to you and who to share it with. The magic is in the sharing. Creating a status report knowing it’s going nowhere isn’t enough to keep you focused on delivering what you said you would. But make no mistake, the most important person to keep your delivery promises to, is you.
What goes in a status report
First of all decide on the project that you need to report on. A project is anything that requires your time and attention. It has a start, a middle and an end. Projects could be: sorting out the wardrobe, getting three new clients, increasing your fitness, launching your own instagram TV channel. Choose that thing that you want to deliver and are afraid to.
No point reinventing the wheel, borrow from project managers and use the sections they typically use in their status reports to answer these three main questions:
- are you on track to deliver within the timeframe that you set?
- how’s the quality of what you are delivering?
- how are your revenue and costs tracking?
Here are the sections I typically include in my status reports:
I begin with a dashboard which provides a quick snapshot of how I’m doing and how I’m feeling because when it comes to being productive, mindset is everything. This is the part where I track my numbers. If your project is focused on generating revenue, track that. Otherwise, track how much you are spending to deliver your outcomes. Here’s an example.
I start with my name and the month the status report is for. Then there are the snapshots of how I am doing and feeling as at today. The box on the right of the snapshot is where I write about what has contributed to my scores for time, revenue, mindset, productivity and delivery of milestones.
The next section talks about what you want to deliver this quarter and this month. To borrow from that fabulous book, The One Thing by Gary Keller, what’s the one thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
The section after that compares your progress this month to what you said you would do last month. Depending on what I am reporting on, I’ll include a section on volume service targets or activities leading up to a launch. The important thing is to make the status report your own. Report on the things that matter using the format that works best for you.
Don’t spend time trying to create a report with skills that don’t come naturally. Write your status report on a piece of paper if that’s what gets you creative. Create it using your computer with fancy graphs and coloured tables if that’s what gets you in the flow. Don’t let the creation of the report be the reason you didn’t deliver.
What’s the most important part of your status report?
Here’s the thing that turbo charges your productivity. The status report is a great tool for working out what needs to be done, when, and how you got on with the things you decided needed to be done last time. But that’s not the best bit…
What turns your status report into a productivity tool?
It’s in the sharing of it.
Find yourself an accountability partner. Somebody who believes in you, will cheer you on and, when it comes to it, will hold your feet to the fire and call you out when you accidentally on purpose start getting off track.
Want to create your own status report?
Connect with me by applying for your free strategy session. You will come away from the session clear on what you want to achieve, and why, and the next steps to get you there; all recorded in your very own status report.
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