“Life is really very simple but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

All too often when we work on project, we assume a one-week completion cycle – that things will get done in a week, and then we’ll talk about the next step.

As a result a lot of things don’t happen quickly.

I have a project lifecycle guideline I use with people I work with that makes life very simple – and helps to move things forward quickly.

It’s called 24 x 7, and it works like this: If we have a conversation today about a task, my default expectation is that it is done in 24 hours.

If it’s a more involved project that requires multiple steps, or working with other people, my default expectation is that it is done in 7 days – or by this time next week.

Most people don’t have a 24 x 7 project lifecycle rule. They have a 7 x 31 rule: get it done within a week – or a month.

Too often when I’m in meetings with leadership teams, their action items list gets bigger and bigger and bigger – because they think 7 x 31. As a result, it just takes longer and becomes bigger than it needs to be.

When you think 24 x 7 you only do what’s required to get it done, rather than making a task into a big complicated project. This is for regular ongoing, day-to-day business – obviously strategic initiatives don’t apply.