Hey Rainmaker, today is my Birthday — the big 33!
A while ago, in my calendar, I blocked out the entire day with an appointment titled, “I do what I want.”
And here’s what I’m going to do. This email is the first thing I’m doing today, in terms of work. It might be a little short, but I promised a daily breakthrough for you, so that’s what you get!
Then I have the “work” that I’m going to explain below, that can help YOU achieve your biggest goals, faster.
And then I’m going to make sure I take some time to make music today. Even if it’s just an hour this afternoon, it’s a treat to myself.
Then, I’ll knock off early (a little before 3) to pick up my kiddos from school, and it’s family time the rest of the day.
Sometimes this is what we most need.
And a birthday makes a great excuse (although you should definitely do this more than once a year!).
Instead of pushing, pushing, pushing, sometimes we need space. Space to breathe, and space to think. To rejuvenate, and refresh ourselves.
So that when we come back to work, we can do it with more clarity, purpose, and natural energy.
Here’s the work that I feel is so important, I’m going to set aside time on my birthday to make sure it gets done…
An Entrepreneurial Productivity System for helping YOU reach your biggest goals, faster!
And once again I have to credit Alex Charfen for much of this thinking, although I’m adapting it to me. And it certainly builds on productivity recommendations I’ve heard from Mark Ford (writing as Michael Masterson), Dan Kennedy, and others.
(Alex is getting the most credit today because it’s one of those “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” things. I’m ready to elevate myself to the next level, and Alex is putting out a ton of content in that regard right now.)
The entrepreneurial disconnect…
Maybe you’re a lot like me. Maybe you’ve felt like you’re entrepreneurial your whole life… Or just for a while now.
Maybe you’ve felt different, like you don’t exactly fit in with the 95% of people who can just be content getting a good job and sticking with it for a while… Whether a while means the next 5 years, or the next 5 decades.
Maybe you want more.
Maybe you feel — like me and so many other entrepreneurs — that you need to always be moving forward and creating a bigger future to feel fulfilled.
And yet — and here’s the rub…
Maybe you also feel like there’s a big gap between what you can, want, and need to do today… And what those bigger goals are in your life and business.
It’s hard to live out a huge mission and purpose in life when you’re stuck trying to pay the bills this month… This week… Today… Or even yesterday.
In other words…
It’s hard to sail when today you’re just worried about staying afloat.
Here’s how to connect today’s actions with the bigger, brighter future you wish to create…
Put very simply, your future is too big to immediately translate into the small tasks you need to get done today.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It may sound trite, but it’s the truth.
Even a house isn’t built in a day.
Which means you can’t expect to go from where you are today, to your business or career ideal, in a day. And maybe not in a week, a month, or even a year.
Especially if you haven’t planned to make it so, in that length of time.
Because there’s no focus, no clarity. There’s no path from here to there.
So even if you have the destination in mind, if you don’t know how you’re going to get there, you wander. Today’s tasks MIGHT move you closer to your goals. Or, they won’t.
Even if you know where to go, if you haven’t planned out the path, you’re not going to get there nearly as fast as you could otherwise.
Here’s how you plan the path from wherever you are to achieving your life’s biggest goals and fulfilling the purpose deep inside you.
First, you have to get clear about your destination…
The more clear, the better.
You need to be crystal-clear about where you’re going, and what that’s going to look like.
What is it going to mean to you? What is the emotional reward? What is the material reward? When you’ve achieved this, what will your life look like? What will your average day look like? Who will be in your life? What things will be in your life?
Also, what impact will it make on the world? What is your contribution? Whoever it is that you’re serving and whoever it is whose business or life you’re improving, what will their outcome be? For the individuals you help, what will their life be like? What outcome will they have achieved that would not have been achieved if it weren’t for your help?
The more you can incorporate all your senses, the better. Create a vivid picture! Make it all feel real, very real.
Write this down. You can actually answer the questions I’ve laid out above.
And if you feel like you have multiple big purposes in life, that require multiple projects to complete, do this for each. The personal stuff may have a lot of overlap, but the impact descriptions will be unique to each project.
Next, you have to look at what major targets you can reasonably expect to hit in the next 90 days…
Be ambitious, but not insane. There’s no use driving yourself into the ground, because you’ll have the next 90 days after that, and the next, and the next. As Marty Edelston — founder of Boardroom — told Brian Kurtz, who told me… “Life is long.”
But still when you use this planning system, you can expect to achieve a lot more than you otherwise would. So you can set goals that require you to stretch without going overboard.
Here’s the really important part of this process, though.
If you’re drawn — as I am — to accomplish many things in life, you may be tempted to make progress on ALL of them in the next 90 days.
And while that might feel good, there’s a danger to it. Because five projects half done are far less valuable than one project all the way done and out in the world.
So when you look at your life purpose and goals, you have to decide… What should I focus on making progress on in the next 90 days — and what is it okay to let sit for at least that long?
There’s a lot of ways to answer that question. Ultimately it’s yours to decide. Just remember that often you’ll accomplish more by committing to accomplish less in the short term.
So, once you’ve decided what life goals and purposes you want to work towards in the next 90 days, establish clear targets that will move you toward your big objectives.
Then, decide what your goals are for the next 30 days that will put you on track to hit your 90-day targets…
The better you are at breaking all this down, the more progress you’re going to make.
One month from now, you should be roughly 1/3 of the way toward your 90-day targets.
What goals do you need to set for yourself to ensure that will be so?
Here’s where you want to start to get super measurable. What milestones are involved? What activity or tasks or projects need to be complete?
I should note that, in most cases, there should be a financial outcome tied to all of this.
But if what you’re doing is something that people value and will pay money for, the money is an important yet secondary measurement.
The time and tasks that are planned will lead to the money outcome. The time and tasks are your primary measurement.
Your long-term destination and your 90-day targets may have been more “big picture” and perhaps a bit more vague.
When you’re planning the next 30 days, you need to establish a clear list of what will be true at the end of those 30 days, if you’re successful.
Does this mean you’re going to be able to check every item off your list in the next month? Maybe, maybe not. But you’ll likely get a lot more of them done following this system than you would have otherwise.
Then commit to a weekly check-in on your 30-day goals…
Every week, you need to measure your progress. Make it a habit on Friday afternoon, or Sunday evening. Preferably BEFORE the start of the next week.
Look at where you’ve moved forward in the last week.
Also, where you could have moved forward more.
And importantly, identify the specific progress you want to make in the next week. This should be reflective of your 30-day goals, and a reasonable expectation of what will keep you on track.
While your 30-day goals were already a specific set of measurable tasks, activities, and outcomes, this is the set of those you’re going to get done this week. And, of course, an opportunity to check on what you need to carry over from the last week, to keep momentum in your favor.
Finally, establish daily tasks, preferably at least one day in advance…
If you wait to plan what you’re going to do tomorrow until tomorrow morning, you will start slow. (Believe me, I know!)
If you are clear at the end of the day today what you’re doing first thing tomorrow, and then for the rest of the day, you have a much better chance of achieving it all.
So, take what you’ve laid out for the progress you want to make this week, and break it into chunks that can be accomplished today.
Here, the more specific you get, the better.
Since you’re going to have to sit down and get them done each day, you will benefit from being as specific as possible.
If you can, schedule them into your day.
If you’re accomplishing a lot, you’ll probably need to know, at a minimum, how long each task should take.
Will you always get this right? Absolutely not. (For example, I’m taking longer on making this a super-useful article than initially planned.)
But the more constraints you put on getting work done, the faster you’ll work. Work tends to expand to fill the time you give it — Parkinson’s Law — so give it less time and you’ll get it done faster.
Even better, establish a clear schedule for when you’re doing to do each task.
Once you’ve planned how long each task should take, it’s easy to identify what time you’re going to do it.
Put it on your schedule for the day…
Then, just do it!
Now you’ve worked backwards from the destination you want, all the way through to what you can reasonably accomplish today that will move you toward that desired outcome.
Now comes the hard part — committing to following this system every day.
Something like this is usually most painful in getting it started…
If you can START TODAY…
And follow-through for the next 30 days…
You will then have a much greater likelihood of making it work for the next 90 days, and the next year…
And then fulfilling your life’s purpose, achieving your biggest goals and objectives, and making the great contribution you know you have inside of you.
So, before I run off and make some music today, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to update all my planning for the next 90 days. (Conveniently, my birthday is at the end of the quarter, which means I’m clarifying the rest of my year!)
And here’s what you should know…
I have some really awesome things planned.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets