Welcome to this edition of the Real Fast Results! The special guest today is D’vorah Lansky, M.Ed. She has been mentoring authors for about 10 years, and a lot of what she teaches has to do with setting goals, having the right mindset, and being really clear about your focus.
So, without any further ado…
What we’re going to be focusing on today is how those micro-habits, that we have the option of creating, when applied, can bring us macro success.
D’vorah’s Excellent Book For Author Productivity
On any journey, you need a road-map. Otherwise, you might get somewhere, but not necessarily where you want to be. By creating habits that allow you to reach your goals, you’re going to be creating the road-map to your dreams. Without a road-map, we often find ourselves being really busy, and doing all of this busy work, thinking that we’re accomplishing all of these things, but we’re not really accomplishing much.
It’s like being on a hamster wheel, and that’s exhausting and overwhelming, so we don’t want that. I’m hoping the tips that I am sharing today will help people with that. Then, by having an action plan, you’ll actually accomplish a lot more, rather than winging it and hoping you’ll accomplish things.
The benefit of doing this gets larger and larger as time goes by. You get used to the habits, and of course, success attracts success. It also allows you to focus on, “Where do I want to be spending my time,” or “Is this a good use of my time?” You also have to factor in time for relaxation and time for family. I’m not talking about working 24/7. I’m just saying, focusing with intention.
Overview of the Three Micro-Habits
I’m going to be going in depth in a few moments, but the three micro-habits that would really help to turbo-charge a person’s career would be:
- Get really clear on your goals and develop an action plan.
- Schedule and prioritize your time.
- Become a master of your to-do list.
Step 1 – Get Really Clear on Your Goals
Step 1 is to get really clear on your goals. One of my favorite sayings is, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” So, we’re not just having it out there in the ether; we’re actually putting a plan for it. As you get clearer on your goals and your action plan, one of the things that I recommend you do is get a blank piece of paper and create a master list of all the projects you’re working on or want to develop.
Step 2 – Schedule and Prioritize Your Time
Gather up all of those sticky notes that are all over the place, that may be in binders, on walls, or on your computer, wherever they might be, put them on your desk and transfer them onto a master project list. You may want to divide your page into six boxes and put things by topic.
Once you have that master project list, that is going to be, if we’re using the analogy of a road-map and taking a journey, so that’s the gasoline in your engine. And then, what you want to do, is you want to look at all of those ideas, and that might be a highlighter or a couple of different colored highlighters, and somehow narrow things down so you can identify the #1 thing that you want to accomplish over the next 30-90 days. While you may have 50 or 100 things on that list, I would imagine that the bulk of them would go under 4 or 5 headings.
So, which of those 4 or 5 headings do you want, if you had to pick one, do you want to work on over the next 30-90 days? This is going to allow you to get a laser focus, and it’s going to allow you to get a lot done. It’s also going to allow you to take a lot off of your plate so you can reduce that feeling of overwhelm. When you can create that laser focus, and put everything else on the back-burner, what I find is that I actually have more time to do the fun things.
Step 3 – Become a Master of Your To-Do List
To be able to go and do those enjoyable activities, take the dog for a walk, travel with your family, you need to be able to get things off your plate. One of the tips that I recommend is that, once you’ve created this master list, and you take that one project that you want to focus on, put that on a fresh piece of paper and then break out all of the pieces of the puzzle that go with that project.
Anything on that master list that does not fit with what you’re focusing on currently, or in the near future, cross it off your list. Move it to a “someday, maybe” page, and put it on the back page of your master clipboard. That’s going to get it off your mind. You won’t lose it, but I find that this activity is so freeing. It’s just like you’ve finished 25 projects. But, you don’t have to lose them; they just don’t have to clutter up your current mind space.
Your Success Is Hidden in Your Daily Activities
One of my favorite things, along this line, is “Your success is hidden in your daily activities.” You can see how serious you are about your success. Just takes a pad of paper and carry it around with you for two days, and make a list of everything that you do and how long you’re spending. It will be eye-opening. It’s kind of like, have you ever done a diet journal, where they have you write down everything you eat? It’s very eye-opening. So, do that with your time.
Then, what you want to do is actually schedule time in your calendar, because we think we’re working a lot, but it could be, if the phone rings, Facebook pings, if someone comes over, if we have a whim, our work may take a backseat. It’s not only important to know what you’ll be focusing on, but when you’ll be focusing on it. What I recommend is, open up your calendar, and don’t schedule times that you think you should, schedule times that you think will really work. Obviously, you don’t want to schedule when you have to drive the kids to soccer, or when you have noise in the background, or whatever’s going on in your life. Schedule times that are realistic.
Maybe there’s a time when your family is all out doing something, or you have a downstairs room where you have privacy and you can have a sign up that lets people know that you’re at work. Involve your family and let them know when those hours are, and schedule those as recurring appointments in your calendar. Not only that, but don’t put those in your calendar, and then when anything comes up, just ignore it. Prioritize those times as if they were your best paying client.
Try this for 30 days. It will blow your mind, and it will increase your income. You also want to minimize distractions during those work times. So turn off your cell phone. If you need it on, put it on vibrate, and disable Facebook pings or close Facebook altogether. This one, you can take to the bank.
When you’re scheduling, there’s a couple of things that you can do. One thing is to batch projects, and so, if a headline has to do with a project, then that goes into that specific focus for that project. I recommend having specific days or specific weeks that you focus on specific aspects, specific jigsaw puzzle pieces of your master project. Imagine a piece of paper divided into nine boxes, where each box is a different component of the project. Well, in my schedule, my calendar, Friday is “blow with the wind time”. I don’t schedule… on a rare occasion I will, but for the most part, I don’t schedule any work appointments. I go out, I’ll do errands, I’ll go to the bookstore.
On occasion, I may even go to the movies, but I also have “blow with the wind time” in my business, and it’s usually not at “peak brain power time”. It’s usually like when I’m watching the ballgame, in the evening, or on a weekend. That’s when I have that master list of “Ooh, got to make a headline,” or “Ooh, got to write that person.” It goes onto a piece of paper, and I have it actually scheduled as a block of time on my calendar, to do all of those administrative pieces of the puzzle. It’s actually really fun because you get to check off so many things since those are pretty quick projects.
A Few More Tips
I used to have 20 or 30 things on my to-do list, and I always felt like such a failure because I only finished 15 of them. Then, I discovered something called “The 6 Most Important List”. This is actually one of the tips that I wanted to share today. You want to streamline your to do list. So, you have this big, long to-do list. You might have 100 items on it; you may have taken and created a master project, and in that master project, maybe you have 20 or 30 items. You can’t do them all in one day.
Well, I heard this story. Just to be brief, the point is, in the early 1900’s a productivity expert went to a major corporation and helped them improve their bottom line by meeting with each of their executives and telling them each night before they left work, they were to create a list of the six, not the 25, but the six most important things on their to-do list so that they knew what they were going to be focusing on the next day. He told them to do this without fail, and not to do anything else until they finished those six things. So, that’s become a daily habit for me and something that I teach the authors that I work with.
It’s that sense of satisfaction of shedding things off. When you work from a master list, you may not feel like you’re making progress because it seems like an unending list, but when you prioritize your to-do list, and you pick the six most important things, you’re going to accomplish a great deal. Even if you work three days a week, three times six, that can add up. In 10 weeks, that’s 180 things that you just finished, versus spinning your wheels.
What I used to do, I used to feel like I was spinning in circles. I would feel like, “Oh, I’ve got to answer this email,” or “Oh, I’ve got to work on this headline,” and then I had all of these partially-created projects, like all of these baking projects in the kitchen, and none of them were getting into the oven.
By deciding you’re the boss of your business, you decide, “What are the six most important things?” And, I really encourage you to focus on this. The bonus tip is to set your “6 most important things” to-do list before you wrap up your business day so that when you arrive to work, whether you’re working from home, or working from the road, or working from an office in town, you’ll know what you’re going to be focusing on when you get to work that day. That’s going to allow you to hit the ground running, and you won’t have to think about what you’ll be working on.
If a person doesn’t have a list, they don’t have a plan, they don’t have that road-map for the day in place, what can easily happen is “Oh, I’ve got to email this person. Well, let me just go ahead and email that person.” Then you end up checking email, and then you’re like, “Oh, I’ve got to go over to Facebook,” and two hours go by and you haven’t even written your list yet. This way, you get to work, and boom, you have your blueprint for the day.
3 Action Steps
What I’ve done is I prepared three action steps to support the three tips that we shared. It might have sounded like there were a lot more than three tips, but I’m going to recap it right here so that you can have a takeaway.
- The first one is to create a master project list and break it down. Identify your main project, identify future projects, so you can create a separate page where you can have future projects, and then everything else, that’s not an urgent, present-tense, something that needs to get done in the foreseeable future, put it on a blank piece of paper, add it to a “someday, maybe” page, and put it on your clipboard as the back page. Every time you think of a project, moving forward, decide which of these pages it should go on. Again, that’s your main project page, your future project page, or your “someday, maybe” page.
- The second one is to open up your calendar and schedule recurring appointments when you’ll focus on your business. I would recommend that you do that for 90 days. You may want to try it for 30 days to see how it works. Well, you know what? Schedule it for 90 days. You can always change your mind, but there you have it blocked out. I believe that after 30 days, you’re going to see such momentum, that this could be a long-term business strategy for you.
- Thirdly, for the next 21 days, start your day with the “six most important things” to-do list that you composed the previous night.
That’s the recap of what we spoke about.
Connecting With D’vorah
The best way would be to come to my website at www.ReachMoreReaders.com.
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About the Author (Author Profile)Daniel Hall is a bestselling author, speaker, publisher, nurse, attorney and host the Real Fast Results podcast. He is also the creator of other highly popular “Real Fast” brand of training products. He left law practice 10 years ago to build his publishing business and has never looked back. Daniel is a true serial entrepreneur and his list of URLs is longer than a piece of paper, so you can check out Daniel’s hub at www.DanielHallPresents.com or the podcast right here on this site!
Sites That Link to this Post
- Schedule | October 24, 2016
- Virtual Book Tour Day #3: Daniel Hall’s Real Fast Results Podcast – We Discuss Micro Habits for Macro Success | October 24, 2016