One of the main reasons why successful people become successful – and why they become even more successful after they’ve reached one level of success – is that they plan!
They need to plan every single year. They need to plan every single quarter. They need to plan every single week. And they need to plan every single day!
It’s one of the key secrets on how to become successful, how to become productive, and how to be able to execute what you need to execute, efficiently.
The answer will always be pre-planning.
The way I do it is, I use my Sunday.
Every Sunday I sit down, in the morning, undisturbed, with a blank sheet of paper – and I have a list of all of the things, which I call my “universe”, that I want to accomplish.
These are preferably the key results of what I want to accomplish – like the sales number I want to achieve, anything new to be launched, or any blog post (like this one!) that I want to write. I have a list, which I brainstormed – which is my backlog. It encompasses any task in my universe that I feel I need to get done right now.
Then I start prioritizing that list, bringing the high value tasks to the top.
So you have your backlog – the list of your universe, everything that you think you should be doing, all opportunities, all tasks, and all key results;
Then, on that list, you define a business value – which is the 1 to 10 rating of how valuable that will become for you. How much ROI it will generate for you if it’s executed. And it has a cost – which is basically the time or the monetary costs – for executing that one task.
Once you have this task, what you need to do is put it on a timeline. So, you’re basically looking at your year, your month, your quarter, or the day; and you’re putting those big value tasks into that calendar.
So you’re putting them, and spreading them, into the future. This way you’ll end up with a clear plan of those big ones. Those big, important, high business value tasks; with an estimate of how many hours that task will take you.
And then you’ll basically have the rest of the time for the ad hoc stuff that happens – checking your emails, doing the stuff that really fills your day; but the big ones – the big wins – they won’t come shouting at you…
They’ll basically be when you have your alone time, where you have time to think about the opportunities.
The biggest opportunities I’ve had have not come to me and shouted at me:
“Hey, you need to launch in the U.S. now!” or “Hey, you should start your Instagram account and build that!” Those are things that have come in my alone time, when I’m reflecting and have time to think.
Have your backlog of tasks, set aside one hour every week – preferably on the weekend – in peace and quiet without people around, turn your phone off, and plan.
Plan your timelines, plan your coming week, plan the coming month, and plan the rest of the year! This will keep you aligned.
And don’t just do that with your “work stuff”, do it in your private life, too! If you have kids, put in the quality time you need to spend with your children into that plan because otherwise, you’ll just be fully focused on your business and on your work, and you’ll feel bad because you didn’t give the kids what they needed from you as a father or a mother. So this helps you balance it out.
Also, health is very critical for you. I mean, health should be put in that plan, straight off the bat as the first thing. You put it in, in addition to your family and your partner duties; because the health will make sure that your vehicle – your mind and your body – are functioning; and that is necessary for you to become successful, for you to build that successful goal that you’re chasing towards.
So, to summarize;
Have a clear backlog with all of your brainstormed opportunities and tasks rated by business value and cost.
Put them on a timeline with your calendar in front of you. You place these tasks into the time over the year, over the months, over the weeks; and then
Is to execute every single day, every morning, or every evening. I prefer the mornings, because before bed I prefer to just chill out and wind down before my sleep (because I really need my sleep), but then when I get up at 6:00 in the morning (which I do every day), I start revisiting and planning my day, going through that mentally in my mind to make sure it’s optimal; and then when the day starts, I’m fully planned. I know exactly what I’ll be doing, when. Even my alone time is booked in my calendar.
And then, of course, what you need to do to execute your plan is to keep focusing on that plan. Do not change it. Whatever flies in, whatever people try to disturb you – yes, if it’s a crisis, shit does happen, but really try to maintain your focus and try to keep your focus on executing your next seven to eight hours, every single day. Try to avoid getting derailed.
So what I typically do is I set, for example, one hour of “problem time”, where ad-hoc stuff that comes up during the day (maybe it’s papers I need to sign, maybe it’s a problem which is more trivial in nature, but still important to solve to unblock everyone) – I put that one hour at the end of my day, where I don’t need my brainpower, and I put the most important tasks first in the day, because I want to be sure I’m fresh in my mind, fresh in my day, pumped up and ready when I’m at my best, to tackle the most important issues first. I don’t really know what crises will appear later on, throughout my day.
And that is really how to plan like a millionaire!
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