I always had a drawer full of calendars and planners that I never really used; eventually, they made great kindling for a fire. Eventually, an electronic calendar reminded me to show up to a meeting and take my ADD meds.
When I took a job as an executive in the corporate world, we would have large staff meetings attended by little soldiers dutifully at attention with their notebooks and planners as if something I would say during the meeting was worthy of note and might actually change their lives…sitting on the edges of their chairs, each of the staff waited for that one word on which their lives would pivot. As I looked out on the crowd of worker bees poised to take notes, I wondered, “How could your lives be so ordered?” The way I saw it, those people allowed their planners and calendars to manage them. My assistant kept my calendar and we had sophisticated project-planning software. My assistant reminded me of important events. I had no compelling personal reason for a calendar.
After corporate life I became one of the owners of an advertising agency that mixed in a heavy element of business coaching. One of the first things I discovered was that many of our customers really do not know how to create a step-by-step model to provide the environment to produce the outcomes they desire in their business or marketing. Most small businesses don’t have the luxury of owning a complex project management system. They may have a calendar, but that calendar is not used to control their own agenda for life. So, I created one. Credit to many existing systems that only got me part of the way to my goal.
Using any system effectively requires action. It has been said that it is better to work smarter rather than harder. I say, work both smart and hard. There are a lot of really smart people out there being crushed by people taking focused positive action. Most of the really successful people I know are not the smartest people I know; they are the hardest workers. The person or company doing the work can often beat the smart ones. The most dangerous people are the smart, hard workers. Before you whip out the excuse that says, “But, life is about more than business. I want better quality of life, better relationships, great health and fitness, and spiritual connection.” This method addresses all those elements.
All the elements of our lives are interconnected. I have discovered that if a person has trouble in their marriage, that same problem is likely present in their business, and if their fitness is out of whack, those discipline issues are present in other areas of their life. It is actually easier to diagnose business problems if we examine all areas of someone’s life rather than limiting the examination to the business.
One must create measurable outcomes in their health and fitness, spiritual being and meditation, relationships, and business. People can grow and change quickly and significantly in all these areas if managed properly. Knowing what you want, why, and how you will need to modify yourself is part of the process.
Getting Granular to the Core
We break down desired outcomes into a more granular, detailed outline that asks very specific questions about the requirements to obtain what is desired. However, if a program like this is so simple, why do we have so many underperformers in the marketplace? A simple answer. They fail to get off their ass and do the work required. Performing on the granular, simple tasks is what accomplishes monster outcomes. Base hits get points on the scoreboard and home runs are rare. Our process is detailed and asks 11 different questions that provide the clarity required to accomplish each outcome. These are the key requirements to achieve results.
The Mission Log
This is not a position for sex. We grabbed this idea from the military. It is a detailed journal and system that connects the granular plan to the daily schedule. We then apply a scoring system to track progress. Ideally, a person should have accomplished all the core elements on their list by early in the morning. This provides the rest of the day for productive activities.
Setting Your Agenda
This is your assignment for the next phase. Be specific. Apply this to 1) your health and fitness, 2) your mindset and spirituality (can be meditation or focus), 3) your relationships, and 4) business…and ask…What do you want? Why do you want it? What assets or liabilities exist? Then we create targets 30, 60, and 90 days out.
I have provided a link to a PDF that can be used to begin this process. The document includes some simple instructions.
Setting your agenda requires taking focused positive action in your life. I have ADD and my excuse was that, as a creative, my life was messy.
My objection to the planner junkies was not the calendar in their hands, it was what that document represented. Someone else set their agenda. Is what you are doing today putting you in control? Regardless of being a business owner or an employee, are you directing your future?
Since the mid-1990s Carl Hartman has been working in senior management at television networks and his own agency, developing innovative formats for digital marketing content as well as consulting with businesses to refine their business systems & logic, soft skills, and marketing to drive their success. Based in Denver and Los Angeles, Carl’s education includes a mix of coaching modalities, creative, and business disciplines.
Visit his company website or follow him on Twitter. Get his bestselling book/workbook on branding for FREE here.