Do NOT waste one minute of your time... Live On Purpose. (pt 1)
Updated: Jul 26, 2020
12 Things NOT TO DO...
Issue 6pt 1
Do NOT waste one minute of your time... Live On Purpose.
Have you ever read an Absolutely Amazing, Life-Changing, Super Energy Infused, Self-Help book that is SURE to make you rich in the next 12 months and change your life forever….. then you wake up the next morning and have absolutely NO IDEA what the heck to do?…. LOL, yea, me too!
So far in this 12-part series we’ve dealt a lot with creating a proper plan, studying our wheelhouse, having a giving attitude, setting goals with passion, and learning how to focus
on today. This foundation we’ve created in the first 5 articles definitely gets us on the right track to know WHAT our plan is, HOW to execute it , and WHAT to execute. Now we need to look deeper at “today” and exactly what should you do each day. How do we maximize every minute?
My goal here is to not just give you a bunch of “philosophy” and discuss lofty ideas, but to help you learn EXACTLY what you need to do, down to a daily, moment-by-moment schedule. Knowing how to create the right schedule is the KEY to taking daily forward steps toward completing your plan and reaching your goals. If you do not form the correct habits in your daily schedule, then you WILL FAIL. You will NOT reach your goals. I have seen some of the most brilliant people, with amazing, profitable ideas fail, because they could not create the correct daily schedule for the action habits they “know” they need to take. You see, simply knowing the right things to do is only 1/2 the battle. Actually doing them is the other 1/2. And I have found it’s not only a matter of motivation, it’s also a matter of habit. Or more precisely, it’s a matter of a “proper schedule”, which allows specific times for those habits. It is much easier for you to “take the action” if it is in your schedule. So let’s explore this.
FYI, this will be divided into two articles due to the length of the content. First let’s talk about what a proper schedule really is, and how it works. We will also dispel some schedule myths, and discuss the concept of Time Blocks. Then in Part 2, we will examine some actual schedule examples and compare that to what you currently do.
A Proper Schedule
A Proper Schedule consists of 2 main things.
A list of everything need to accomplish
A specific timeframe (start and STOP times) for each item.
So just like in Issue 1 where we discuss how to create a proper business and life plan, you need to be able to articulate in writing all the individual items you need to accomplish and want to accomplish. But going a step beyond the business plan, we’re going to schedule down to “Time Blocks”, first larger blocks, then eventually 15 minute blocks. These Blocks will map out each and every part of your day. Before we do this, let’s dispel some myths.
List of Schedule Myths, True or False?:
You must get up early to be successful. FALSE. It is not which hours of the day you follow your plan and achieve your goals, it’s that you DO follow your plan and reach your goals. Example: I have never been a morning person. I was a singer, songwriter, engineer, producer, and agent. I loved to work late and get up late. And I was able to achieve my goals and enjoy success. Most all the successful musicians I know live a late night, late morning schedule. They work hard, just during different hours. Other newer digital industries also have a large amount of people that enjoy working later. Many people in the country work second or third shift. In the end it’s the work and result that matters. I am still not a “natural” morning person. However I now have adjusted my schedule to be up earlier and to go to sleep earlier in order to achieve the plan and goals I now have. My goals have changed, thus my Method has changed, thus my Schedule has changed to adapt to meet my new goals. So it is not the time on the clock that matters, it’s the amount of time you put in that matters
A person needs 8 hours of sleep. FALSE. HAHAA, LOL!!! I am literally laughing out loud while I type this. I have NEVER (never ever) met a super successful person, that actually get’s 8 hours of sleep every night. Never. We work our butts off at least 6 days/wk. Now I am not your doctor, and I am not saying 8 hours of sleep is not good for you. But I am saying people that work/think/plan/dream more hours/day, tend to be the people that achieve those things. I average 5-6 hours of sleep. I try to get a bit more on weekends. I am privileged to know many highly successful people from Entrepreneurs to Rockstars, Law Partners to the Navy Seals, Actors to Billionaire Business Professionals. All of these people are top in their fields. And not one of them I personally know get 8 hours of sleep daily. A good example is this article. It is 12:51am as I am writing this.
Any meeting over 2 hours becomes complexly ineffective. TRUE. It is true that meetings that go too long reach a point where the mind’s creativity shuts down. I have also found it much more useful to have only one topic in a “non-board” meeting. These are ideally 15 minutes. The ideal meeting times for me are 15 minutes and 30 minutes. 60 Minutes is reserved for things like Board meetings or things that have a lot of items in the agenda. I do not endorse a 4-6 hour meeting with a bunch of people “white boarding’. It just turns into a long, circular discussion that can better be conducted with people divided into teams doing their own smaller meetings, and bringing conclusions into a larger, shorter meeting. When doing larger planning sessions I recommend a 2 hr max with 15-30 min breaks for healthy snacks, outdoor air etc... Except for the very rare, life-altering, “Master-Mind/brainstorming our next businesses venture” type gathering, meetings should be under 60 minutes.
You should not eat a big lunch. TRUE. I have found that eating a large meal in the middle of the day will give me a carb-coma and I become ineffective the rest of the day. The best way I have found to eat, is small items throughout the day. I personally like things like Cliff Bars, Bananas, salads, and other healthy, easy munch food. Sensible dinner, small portions, medium size for dinner. I am 6’4” and at one point in my life I weighed 257lbs. I now weigh 205 and feel amazing. Your brain will function at peak with consistent energy going into your body. Your mental effectiveness will fluctuate if your body’s energy fluctuates.
You can only accomplish so much in a day. TRUE & FALSE. This is one of those tricky statements. It is True that you can only schedule a finite amount of Blocks of time, during the hours you are awake. HOWEVER…. I will call this False, until you actually do so. Why? Because 99% of people do not operate on Blocks, so most people can accomplish so much more than what they are currently doing. The statement would be better put like this: Most people can accomplish MUCH more than what they think they can, and currently do. That would be TRUE. Just watch an episode of Gary V (Vaynerchuck) and you’ll see what I mean. Gary runs his day in many time blocks. He’s a no nonsense individual much like Steve Jobs was. He wants to hear what’s on your mind (or tell you what’s on his) then create an action plan, and move on to the next item of the day. Most all successful people share this trait of moving from item to item quickly and efficiently, on a daily basis.
Ok, so let’s talk about “how” to schedule your day. First of all there are different kinds of days,Typical Weekdays, A-Typical Weekdays, and Weekends.
(There are others like holidays, A-Typical Weekends etc... but for now we'll keep it simple) So you will need to develop several different schedules. I like templates for everything. I use them for dream building, business planning, project management, board meetings, recreation, family time, etc.. Therefore since there are different types of days, you need different types of Blocked schedules to accommodate these different goals. This might seem “overly complicated” up front, but I GUARANTEE you, that after you create it, it will be the exact opposite. I’ll bet you a vodka/tonic (or your favorite craft-brew) that It is 10 times faster and easier for me to plan my day than yours.
SIDE NOTE: Now one thing I will say as a disclaimer is that all successful people do this whether they know it consciously or not. I have a friend who is CEO of a multi-billion dollar company and he does this exact process daily, but in his head. Out of… you guessed it… HABIT. He literally does not need to plan his blocks, because he knows how to do this so well. But for the rest of us mere mortals, we’ll start by writing it down each day. When you’e been doing this for 15+ years like he has, you can consider dropping the written schedule, although you may never want to. So let’s talk real-world example and then how you can use this Block method for yourself, right away.
First we are going to start simple, with larger blocks, then I will show you an example of how organized you can get once you are used to this and have done it enough to form it as a lifestyle habit. We will use one of my actual old schedules to illustrate and teach this process.
Schedule, and Control what you can
We are going to use a personal schedule I had during my music industry days, as a real-world example. Remember it is not as much the actual items in the time blocks that matter, so much as the concept of HOW to put items into time blocks. Once you learn this method of time management, you will find you are able to accomplish a great many things in one day, but only focus on one thing at a time.
So, like most of us, my daily schedule has many things I need to do in a given day. There are work responsibilities, family, friends, and unexpected things that come up. After years of struggling with a long list of un-accomplished items at the end of each day, I found this method allows me to accomplish more, by focusing on less. Less at one time that is.
"Although we can’t control everything, if we DO control all that we can, we minimize the negative effects of the things we can’t control, and are therefor more likely to achieve more of the goals we desire, on a more regular basis."
The first thing you must do is have a list of everything you need to accomplish in your day. It is crucial to write all of these things down, set them into blocks, then to every extent humanly possible, STICK to the start and stop time of the blocks. I say “humanly possible” because we all have unexpected things occur. From the broken furnace or the traffic jam that messes up your meetings, to an unexpected illness or a health emergency. However, the more you have under control, the less these uncontrolled exceptions will effect you. Although we can’t control everything, if we DO control all that we can, we minimize the negative effects of the things we can’t control, and are therefor more likely to achieve more of the goals we desire, on a more regular basis.
Controlling our schedule, by forming habits that allow us to make the most of every minute, of every day, is one key method that is in our control. If you are completing 90% of what you need to in a day and 10% of it went off track, you’re still winning. Remember, control what you can control, this will stak the deck of life in your favor. Learning how to habitually control your schedule is how you will eliminate wasted time and increase the time spent on things you desire to do. This is how you spend more of your time living, and enjoying the moments each day has to offer.
"Remember, control what you can control, this will stack the deck of life in your favor."
The secret to this is Time Blocking. Everyone does this to some level subconsciously, some of us better than others. But if you can learn to do it consciously, you can literally control whether or not the majority of moments in your day are happy and fulfilling. I am going to take you through the thought process in this article, and show you proactive examples in the next issue, so you can begin using the method immediately. Let’s discuss Time Blocks.
HOW TO TIME BLOCK
Step 1. Make a list of all the items you MUST complete in a day/week, and the items you DESIRE to complete in a day. Here is an example of one of my old lists. Review this and create a list of your own with MUST accomplish and DESIRE to accomplish.
I Must Accomplish:
In Between Meals (Daily)
Review overall business (M-F)
Review studio recording/mixing schedule (M-F)
Review meeting agenda (M-F)
Record/Mix in Studio (M-F)
Attend all scheduled meetings (Client, Board, Misc) (M-F)
Attend all scheduled Phone/Video calls (M-F)
Answer Emails (M-Sat)
Write (for Blogs and other commitments (M-F)
Read (to continually study my wheelhouse (Daily)
Misc. Business (Vlogs, Interviews, Meals, Bus. Golf, travel, etc.. (M-F)
Family Time (Daily)
I Desire To Accomplish:
Personal Recreation (M-F)
Music Practice (M-F)
Talk to Family & Friends (Weekly)
Have at least one Family Meal (Daily)
Recreate with kids daily (daily)
Adult Family Time (daily)
Home Projects (Weekly)
Misc. Errands (Weekly)
Quality Sleep (Daily)
So if you look at that list, I do all of the above….. DAILY…… 5-7 Days/week. Mon-Sun. Yes, I am able to accomplish everything on those lists almost every day. That may seem like a lot of items, and this is not even all of them! But really, you and I both have lists like this already, you just have probably never written it down, so you don’t know how many items you do in a day, or week, and therefore are probably not doing them as efficiently as you could.
There are some days when everything goes haywire and things on the DESIRE List get bumped off. There are some really crazy days where things on the MUST list get re-arranged or bumped off. But for the most part, because I schedule these items with Time Limits and RULES, I am able to accomplish all of them. But first you MUST create and be able to see your lists. Seeing them visually changes your perception of them. It creates an ability in your brain to better organize them. Create your MUST and DESIRE lists now.
Step 2. Apply a time allotment to each item in both lists.
We call these Time Blocks, or Blocks for short. A Block is basically a starting time and a Hard-Stop, like 8:00am - 9:00am. The definition of a Hard Stop is, except for extreme exception, no matter what, you stop what you are doing at the time allotted. The best way to do this is always inform the person or people you are with, that you have a “Hard Stop” in 10 minutes, 30 minutes, etc… I do this for EVERY meeting and conversation I have. Every single one…. Begin by taking the list you made in Step 1 and putting a time next to it, like this list below.
I Must Accomplish:
Prayer/Meditation/Stretch (Daily) - 30 min
Workout (M-Sat) - 45 min
Shower/Dress (Daily) - 30min
Breakfast (Daily) - 30 min
In Between Meals (Daily) - 5min as needed
Lunch (Daily) - 30-60min
Review overall business (M-F) - 30 min
Review studio recording/mixing schedule (M-F) - 15 min
Review meeting agenda (M-F) - 15 min
Record/Mix in Studio (M-F) - 6-10hrs
Attend all scheduled meetings (Client, Board, Misc) (M-F) - 1-2 hrs
Attend all scheduled Phone/Video calls (M-F) - 1-2 hrs
Answer Emails (M-Sat) - 30 min
Write (for Blogs and other commitments (M-F) - 30 min
Read (to continually study my wheelhouse (Daily) - 60 min
Misc. Business (Vlogs, Interviews, Meals, travel, etc.. (M-F) - TBD
Family Time (Daily) - 60min
I Desire to Accomplish:
Personal Recreation (M-F) - 60min
Music Practice (M-F) - 30min
Read More (M-Sun) - 60min
Talk to Family & Friends (Weekly) - TBD
Have at least one Family Meal (Daily) - 60min
Recreate with kids daily (daily) - 60min
Adult Family Time (daily) - 60min
Home Projects (Weekly) - 2-4hrs
Misc. Errands (Weekly) - 2-4hrs
Quality Sleep (Daily) - 6hrs+
OK, now we know how much time we desire to allot to each item, and can therefore more efficiently fit in into our schedules, making it more likely that we will actually accomplish it. In the next issue we will take your new list and we will create a few different daily schedules to accommodate standard weekdays, odd weekdays, weekends, and holidays. We'll include Time Blocks and set some rules. By the end of the exercise you'll be able to operate on a smooth, productive schedule, that will accomplish more than you ever thought possible.