Planning

30 Days of Daily Planning for a Better Life

30 Days of Daily Planning for a Better Life

The last place I ever wanted to be was on a twin-engine propeller plane in an ice storm.

Yet there I was, sitting in seat 2b, listening to the engines labor to keep 20 tons of metal and humanity afloat. Unlike the constant drone of a jet engine, this prop plane had a chant—a repetitive roar intermingled with a gnarly growl—like a lion voicing his displeasure as he tumbled around in an industrial dryer.

41 Ways to Get Home Early Every Day This Week

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗡𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗕𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗲

1. Get 7 hours of sleep
2. Lay out daily clothes in advance
3. Block calendar for important work
4. Schedule commute time
5. Schedule breaks
6. Plan to deal with time obstacles
7. Schedule administrivia

𝗜𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗠𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴

8. Exercise
9. Eat healthy food that energizes you
10. Tell everyone when you plan to leave
11. When work begins, begin work (don’t get distracted)

𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗠𝗲𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀

12. Squeeze meetings together
13. Focus (or leave) meetings that aren’t productive
14. Reschedule meetings that start late
15. Hold stand up meetings
16. Decline meetings where you can’t contribute
17. Add buffer between meetings and tasks

𝗠𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗧𝗮𝘀𝗸𝘀

18. Schedule important tasks
19. Prioritize urgent tasks
20. Delegate unimportant tasks
21. Delete the rest of your tasks
22. Limit emailing to 3x per day
23. Automate repetitive tasks with apps like IFTTT
24. Bundle similar tasks together
25. Set a timer for your tasks

𝗗𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗪𝗼𝗿𝗸

26. Begin with the end in mind
27. Minimize distractions
28. Stick to your schedule
29. Delegate
30. Work on what matters
31. Focus with music
32. Work intensely
33. Take breaks often
34. Work when everyone else isn’t

𝗔𝗱𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗮

35. Call instead of email
36. Send shorter emails… get to the point
37. Only read emails where you are in the to: line

𝗔𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗘𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗗𝗮𝘆

38. Block time before you leave to clean up your day
39. Reduce and remove clutter in your work space

𝗠𝗶𝘀𝗰/𝗗𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗙𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗲𝘁

40. Add some greenery to your work space (scientifically proven to increase productivity)
41. Sit, stand, walk, talk, act confidently

How to Get Where You're Going with a Good Plan

How to Get Where You're Going with a Good Plan

A good plan for the week starts on Monday and has two parts:

☝️ The three most important things you’ll get done this week to make it easier to achieve your goal.
✌️ The three things you will get done today, Monday, that will make it easier to have a successful week.

That’s it.

People often complicate planning, thinking it requires expensive project management software, some fancy new task management app, or PhD in Gantt charting to organize their thinking.

This over-complication transforms into an excuse for not planning—for working in disorganized chaos—for living a busy but unproductive life.

But here’s the thing:

A 30-Second Exercise for a Full Day of Productivity

A 30-Second Exercise for a Full Day of Productivity

Tetris is the best puzzle game of all time. Period.

(I thought of ending the post here, but you’d have no f*cking clue how that statement relates to this picture, and I have a point to make...)

The satisfaction of slipping a multicolored shape into the perfect opening to clear the entire board in one epic moment can’t be explained, it must be played.

When you get good at Tetris, you automatically get good at similar games like Dr. Mario, Bejeweled, or Luminex.

That’s because they all have…

The Japanese Planning System For Procrastinators

The Japanese Planning System For Procrastinators

Planning isn’t for procrastinators.

Procrastinators need pressure to complete their project—time pressure, money pressure, the pressure of a demanding customer.

Procrastinators also need energy. Energy to focus on their task. Energy to ignore the coffee machine, phone calls, texts, cat videos, and other distractions.

When procrastinators have energy and pressure, they don’t need a plan. Shit just gets done.

Without these two things, however, procrastinators find themselves thrashing around like fish in a catch-and-release pond, biting one shiny lure after another, wondering why they can’t make it home.

If you’ve ever procrastinated, you know that fighting it is impossible. But you also know that succumbing to a day of lost work isn’t acceptable.

That’s where Kanban comes in.

Use This Exercise to Get Out of Disorganized Chaos

Use This Exercise to Get Out of Disorganized Chaos

It’s Friday, and you’re battered from a 5-day attack on your focus, attention, and patience; a battle that started the moment your alarm blared Monday morning.

If you started with a plan, it’s now buried in the rubble of a week that bombarded you with emails, phone calls, and customer demands.

Yes, the work-week struggle was real, and though it’s now over, another battle looms next week.

But, enter the weekend with a clean slate and you’ll start next week fresh, reinvigorated, and ready to crush it. What’s more, your free hours won’t be consumed with thoughts of unfinished tasks. You’ll enjoy a truly restful weekend.

This all begins with a weekly review.

Get the Results You Need to Hit Your Goals Faster, Better, Cheaper

Get the Results You Need to Hit Your Goals Faster, Better, Cheaper

There are three ways of working:

  1. 😫 Working in chaos.

  2. 🙂 Getting shit done.

  3. 😁 Getting the results you need to hit your goals faster, better, cheaper.

When you work in chaos or you just try to get shit done, it’s easy to think:

start work -> to get results -> so I can meet my goals.

But this is backwards.

Prevent Wasted Effort by Beginning With the End in Mind

Prevent Wasted Effort by Beginning With the End in Mind

It’s Monday, closing time, and in four days your week will be over.

Where will you find yourself Friday afternoon? What will you have accomplished?

Most people don’t know. They begin each day, do what they can, and try to “finish things up” Friday afternoon before cashing out for the weekend.

I’ve been there. Living day to day, never knowing how much I can get done, never planning a path my goals.

How Much Planning Should You Really Do for a Creative Project?

How Much Planning Should You Really Do for a Creative Project?

Some projects, like building a house, cleaning a garage, or building a military helicopter can be scheduled in great detail from start to finish. 

Most projects cannot. 

So does that mean you should give up? Should you run your next project ad-hoc, dealing with issues as they arise and hoping for the best?

4 Ways to Optimize Your Small Business Finance Processes in 2018

4 Ways to Optimize Your Small Business Finance Processes in 2018

For the majority of small businesses, managing finances is one of the most difficult tasks to perform. However, no matter how tedious this task may be, it is critical for your business’ growth. It not only helps you predict where your business is headed but also allows you to make more informed and data-backed business decisions. Not to mention that maintaining your financial records will make your tax reporting and payments much simpler.

Here are a few tips that will help you boost your finances in 2018.

How to Build a Business Strategy Worthy of Olympic Gold

How to Build a Business Strategy Worthy of Olympic Gold

Last weekend, the US Olympic men’s curling team took gold in a knock out battle with Sweden. People were yelling. Stones were flying. And grown men were crying. 

It was an incredible game won by flawless execution and a superior strategy. 

That’s why I harp on having a strategy for your business. 

Not some complex strategy worthy of a multi-billion dollar publicly traded company. No, just a plan to get from point A to point B with consideration for each of those steps along the way. 

How do you do that? How do you build a legitimate roadmap for the purpose-filled growth you desire? Try these steps:

How to Stay on Track (and Massively Productive) Every Day

How to Stay on Track (and Massively Productive) Every Day

You know what's coming... 

At the end of today, you'll either feel a sense of accomplishment, or like you've wasted another day. 

It's not that you didn't work hard. 

You answered emails. You took phone calls. You attended meetings. You made decisions. 

But for some reason you got nothing done. 

Well, that's not true. You got a lot of other people's work done, just not your own. 

You've made little progress toward your goals. You've been running around solving other people's problems. You've been answering other people's questions, and spending time in other people's meetings.

In other words, you've been working on urgent, but not important tasks. 

There's a solution to this problem. A way to move closer to your goals every day. 

How to Crush Your Small Business Goals in the New Year

How to Crush Your Small Business Goals in the New Year

If you’re heading into 2017 thinking about setting new plans and goals for your business, Modern da Vinci is here to help. In this brief video, we cover:

  1. three big planning mistakes that you must avoid, and
  2. the first step you should take to set the foundation for your planning process.  

This is the first video in a series where we will lay out a specific approach for creating a simple, clear, and impactful plan to help you set (and reach) your goals in 2017. And beyond.

What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Financial Planning with Blake Fellows

What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Financial Planning with Blake Fellows

Many small and medium-sized business owners kick the can down the road when it comes to financial planning. That’s understandable since business owners are preoccupied with short-term responsibilities and dealing with fires that inevitably pop up daily.

Unfortunately, this leaves the business owner and his or her partners and family members exposed to tremendous risk.

What happens if conditions change and the business fails? How will the business respond if a partner falls ill? What is the business exposed to as the market fluctuates? How can the business be financially responsible while offering competitive compensation and benefits to employees?

In this interview, business finance expert Blake Fellows explains why it is essential for business owners to be proactive about setting goals, determining ranges for spending and saving, ensuring that foundational agreements are in place, and having specialized support in all aspects of financial planning

How to Know the Right Skills (and Perfect Time) to Hire

How to Know the Right Skills (and Perfect Time) to Hire

The thought of burning cash on a new employee who can't keep up with the work and is making life worse for everyone around them is a real threat.

On the flip side are small business owners who need to hire but won't pull the trigger. They stand frozen by uncertainty. They don't know who to hire, and can't justify hiring to grow their business. So they don't act. Their businesses are suffering from overwork and stagnant growth. 

What these unfortunate small business owners don’t have is a method to sort through the confusion, making it clear when to bring on a new employee, and what skills they should have. 

This is the method I’m going to show you today. And if you’re not sure it’s needed, consider this:

How to Prevent Negotiation Disasters with a Plan B

How to Prevent Negotiation Disasters with a Plan B

Preparation is essential to effective negotiation. If you wish to reach a fair and satisfactory deal, you need to enter the negotiation with a clear understanding of your interests, options, comparative data, and objective criteria.

One of the most important data points to consider is your “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement”. This serves as your “Plan B” to the negotiation. In other words, it is the best option you have and the one you will live with should you leave the negotiation without an agreement.

If you don’t know your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, you may end up taking a deal that is worse than your backup option, or you may walk away from a deal that is better than your backup option.

In this podcast, we will give you some simple steps to create your best alternative to a negotiated agreement and use an example to drive the point home. 

What Is Effective Strategic Planning for Small Business

What Is Effective Strategic Planning for Small Business

Having a strategy is vital for any small business. A strategy defines your plan for moving from where you are today to where you want your business to be in the future. On a more tactical level, having a clearly articulated business strategy is essential to being able to prioritize, build consensus, make decisions, and assess progress toward your goals.

Unfortunately, the “classic” approach to strategic planning doesn’t work very well for small businesses. The traditional methods found in textbooks are designed for large organizations. Small businesses don’t need the same kind of plan that a large corporation does, and they certainly don’t need the types of plans that global corporations produce. Using the wrong methods for strategic planning can cause a lot of frustration for small business owners as well as wasted time, effort, and resources.

So then, what is the right amount of strategic planning for a small business? What should you focus on? Who should be involved? What should the final plan look like? How much planning is too much?

This post will give owners of small businesses a simple and effective process for performing strategic planning by taking a look at some common issues small businesses run into with strategic planning, the most important elements of planning that small business should focus on, and concrete steps to tackling strategic planning the right way.