EPISODE 56 | How to Smash Goals Daily
Hey folks and welcome to another episode of Builders Business Success Podcast!
If you’ve never listened to, participated in, watched, engaged with this Builders Business Success Podcast in the past, it’s purpose is to simply address the common and often costly problems that most builders experience.
Particularly if you are an established builder, most builders experience in their businesses. And, the cool thing is, what we do is, with Builders Business Black Belt, that’s our group of builder members that are all over the country.
We talk about things on a daily basis, what are the current issues, what are the current problems, what are the current challenges, what are the current opportunities?
And, come up with solutions as a group, start to apply them, find out where it works, where it doesn’t, how we can improve it, how we can fix it. So what we end up doing is sharing with you what works on this podcast, so there’s a lot of effort.
A lot of time has gone into testing and measuring the validity of everything that we talk about in this podcast. So it’s not just my opinion, they are ideas that either I, or other members of Blackbelt have come up with, and we’ve gone and put it into practice.
Sometimes for years, and got the feedback, refined it, made it better, and we’re passing that on to you today.
Now, something that we’re passing on today, because if you’ve been with us for a while, you know we’re writing a book and we’re using the content of each episode of the podcast for the last however many episodes of the podcast to write a new book.
And, it’s got everything in it all the way from the initial mindset, and then moving into the marketing stages, and the sales stages, and the build stages, and then the growth and scaling of the business, and improving your skills and so forth.
And, we’re pretty much at the point at the end, where we’re getting close to this, perhaps being the second to last episode that will be focused on the content for the book.
This particular episode, we’re gonna be talking about a thing called the prioritized daily action list. Very well proven, very well documented as to its effectiveness, and I’ve been using it, and teaching it for about 30 odd years. And it still is relevant today as it’s ever been.
Of course, we’re gonna do Q&A, the question we’re going to address is, someone asked about helping them with the admin side of things, because they said that the admin activity tends to bite them on the butt.
It sneaks up on them, and it doesn’t get done when it should and so on, and so we’ll be addressing that in the Q&A section.
And of course we have to use our floating light bulb because we’ve got one.
And, that’s our idea of the week, and it’s a pretty cool idea that I think is going to free up some time for you, and potentially eliminate some frustration for you, so it’s a great idea.
*Transcription of the show*
What I am covering today in this chapter of the podcast is a thing called the prioritized daily action list. And, it is all about having a high quality plan for the day. Why should you have a high quality plan for the day?
Well, it’s kind of, I dunno, a bit of a crazy question really, because you might as well ask the same question as to why do we need to set of plans to build a house?
Because we need to know the detail, we need to know what needs to happen in a certain order, there needs to be a lot of planning, and you need to have an overview of things to be able to move things around, and make decisions, and so forth. It’s equally as important, in fact, I believe it’s more important.
There tends to be a ton more planning and effort going into planning and prioritizing to build a house, or an extension, or a renovation that goes into your life. So, if I were to ask you the question, which is more important, the house that you’re currently working on for a customer or your life?
Well, you can answer that question. And, if you chose your life over the current project that you’re working on, my question to you is, how come there’s a whole lot of planning and prioritizing going into that project, and not much going into your life and into your business’s life?
Really far more important than just one project, yet not much planning goes into it. The other reason that you might be interested in this is, many, many moons ago, I was doing a job.
It was kind of the first time we started working for ourselves, so instead of swapping hours, trading hours for dollars and working for somebody else, that was my first foray into working for myself. And the only thing that I knew to do was get it done.
And, I was working on average 14 hours a day, often six days, very rarely seven, but often six. And I just thought there was a better way. So, I started reading time management books, and listening to time management cassettes. So that gives you a bit of an idea of the time line.
And, there was some good ideas, but nothing really had an impact on me until I went and participated in a workshop called time power. And, it was put together by a chap from America, his name was Dr. Charles Hobbs, it wasn’t presented by him obviously.
But, it was presented by a very capable trainer in Australia, and I went there for the whole day, and long story short, I enjoyed it that much, I went back again the following month, and I went back again the following month.
So I went to this eight hour seminar every single month, a whole day a month for 14 months straight.
‘Cause every time I went back to it I learned something more, and learned something more. Now, the results were that within three months I had cut my working day in half.
So working for myself, I was able to maintain the same amount of income, and my work time had dropped by half, that kind of got my attention. I thought there’s something in that, and that’s why I kept going back and back and back and back.
And, then to continue the story, after about 18 months, I’d changed a whole bunch of things. And, instead of working 14 hours a day, I’d changed so much that I was working around 14 hours a week.
Not 14 hours a day, but 14 hours a week, and still maintaining the same level of income. I was so impressed that I wanted to be part of this, so I got the opportunity to start a, I suppose it was a distributorship for the time management tool.
So the tool was a paper based diary, a ring binder diary. And, there was a day, full day training seminar that came with it, and my job at that time was selling the diary and selling seats in the seminar.
But, what I really wanted to do was to teach the seminar, so I pushed and pushed and pushed, and eventually they agreed to train me, and then I became one of two trainers in the country.
And, for the next few years I was just flying all around the country, and just teaching this stuff every day in a different place, each day during the week. And, it was really exciting, and I learned so much.
Part of what we talked about, and it’s only part, because there’s a lot more to it, that you’ve got to have a good philosophy. Because a diary system isn’t gonna make any difference, if you’ve got a great diary system and you just use it like a note pad, it’ll be the world’s most expensive notepad.
If you’ve got a notepad, and you refine your philosophy, and your choices, and your perceptions of what things are as far as priorities are concerned, you can turn that blank note pad into a very, very powerful tool.
So the philosophy is really far more important than the tool, but if you’ve got a good tool, and you match it with a good philosophy, well that’s a great match.
Someone’s just put a comment in. I don’t know what you’re talking about here, you’ll need to give me more specificity. So Hugh has put a comment in, “could the Ivy Lee method be incorporated into this?”
It probably could if I knew what the Ivy Lee method was, unless you’ve made a typo, and neither of us know what we’re talking about, but anyway, let me know and I will address it.
So I think we’ve talked about why having a quality plan is important, because it can save you a ton of time, it can prevent you from wasting a ton of time, it can cause you to be incredibly more productive, and help you enjoy your day and your week and your month significantly more.
It’s just a very cool thing, and the thing is, it doesn’t take extra time, you get more choice, it gives you more choice, so the next question is, after why have a high quality plan, the next question is, what is a high quality plan? To me, a high quality plan, it’s got a few criteria. One is, you need to have something to write with.
This is an apple pencil, so you’ll need something to write on as well if you don’t have an iPad, you can use a piece of paper. But other tools that we’ve used, and what we used to recommend with the day-timer diaries, or you can get the, I think the Franklin Covey is designed with the 7 Habits philosophy in mind.
That works really, really well as well. And, I still believe that a paper based diary is significantly more effective than any electronic tool still to this day, if you are managing your own time.
So a lot of people like the electronic stuff ’cause it’s convenient, I can guarantee you this, that if you could get over that mindset, that convenience mindset, and be prepared to use a paper-based diary, your effectiveness would skyrocket if you using this philosophy that we’re gonna talk about.
So, high quality planning, something to write on, something to write with, and it needs to have a priority assigned to each event in your plan.
So that’s the why, what is it, we just talked about that as well, so let’s get into the how of this prioritized daily action list. So there are basically five steps to creating a prioritized daily action list.
The first step is, when you’re creating your list for the day, the first thing you need to do, and if you’ve got the proper diary system you will have a month at a glance. Now, you might be using your phone, or you might be using a Google Calendar, or something like that.
Your meetings and time bound events are already in that calendar, and the very first step you need to take, and this is so important folks, is transfer those time bound events into today’s plan. So if you’ve got a diary system, you’ve got a place to write your appointments.
And, I would suggest to you, rather than working off the calendar online, that you have a paper based plan to work off, I think it works significantly better. And, something magic happens when you get that information, you transfer it off your digital calendar, or your analog month at a glance, and put it on the daily page.
But, that’s the first step, you transfer from the month to the day, it gives you a great reminder of what you got on that day. ‘Cause I’m sure, hands up anyone’s who forgotten to turn up to an appointment, or a meeting, or something.
Yep, everybody, I can see all your hands. So that’s a good thing, but the real key to this is being able to do step two. So step one, move from the month to the day, step two is called pick the gaps, and this is critical folks, for your productivity and your effectiveness.
What that means is, if you’re only working from this time in the morning to this time at night, and you’ve got these appointments, and you’ve got some travel time, and this meeting, and so on.
So these time bound engagements, you’ve got a doctor’s appointment maybe in there, or whatever it might be, there are gaps that not taken up by an appointment or whatever. So you’ve got to pick those gaps, you’ve gotta add up that time.
How much time is left over for you to work on the list of things you wanna get done today.
And, this is absolutely critical, because what most people do is, they have this massive, big list and they just keep working off the same list, and it, again, to use this horrible analogy of throwing the stick for the dog, and when it brings it back, you slap it in the head, you don’t reward it.
After a while you kind of lose the vibe for it. It’s not as fun anymore, so if you wanna put some excitement, enthusiasm, and passion back into your day, you need to make sure that you feel like you’re accomplishing things.
And, if you have this big list that has no end to it, and you just keep ticking stuff off and adding stuff on, there is no accomplishment, and we are wired to have a reward and recognition, that’s what keeps us going.
And, no one else is gonna do it for you, you’ve gotta do it yourself, so what you need to do is set up a list of things that are on your list of things to do that is no larger than the time available in between your time bound events to work on. That will give you the best chance of getting things done.
Some, as I’ve said this in past episodes, some gurus suggest that you leave room for interruptions and the like, and just don’t do that. Don’t listen to that crap, don’t do it. Don’t leave any room, figure out what the really important things are, make sure that they’re on your list, and all of those gaps are filled up.
‘Cause that’ll get you focused, it’ll get you committed, it’ll get you moving, and create momentum, and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll get done using this technique.
So step one, months to day, step two, pick the gaps, step three, create the lists. I made a very big effort to put some sss on that because it’s not a list, it’s lists.
And, the two lists, one is professional, and one is personal, and what I’d suggest, and again, another good reason to have an analog system is you start at the top of your page for your professional list of things you wanna get done professionally, start at the top and work your way down.
The stuff you need personally, that you wanna get done personally, you put at the bottom and you work your way up. Why would I have a personal list?
Well, I don’t know, is your personal life important, do you have things you need to accomplish and achieve in your personal life, has anyone ever heard anyone push themselves up on one elbow on their death bed and say, “I wish I’d spent more time at work”?
No one says that, the things in your personal life are incredibly important, you need to be planning them, you need to be preparing for them, you need to be prioritizing those actions.
And, so you need to have personal goals and professional goals, and when you’re creating your list of things to do today, you need to be looking at the action step from your high priority goals, and making sure they’re making your list every single day. Otherwise you’ll end up just working on crap.
And, at the end of the day, and hands up again, who’s ever got to the end of the day, worked like a crazy person, and felt, “geez, I didn’t actually achieve, “I don’t feel that I achieved anything today”? Again, I see a lot of hands up out there.
Everyone’s experienced that, that is because internally, subconsciously, you know what is important, but then you’ve gone and done all of these other things, made conscious decisions to do all of these other things.
And, so there is this inner conflict, “I don’t feel good, “I don’t feel like I accomplished anything.” And, that’s because you didn’t work on the things that are genuinely high leverage.
You might’ve worked on things that were urgent, and have been pestering you for ages, and you finally got it done, and there is a bit of relief, but that’s different to a sense of accomplishment.
And, when you’ve planned something, when you’ve prioritized something, when you’ve given it the priority, and you’ve worked on it, and you’ve accomplished it, that is the sense of accomplishment. So step one, month to day, step two, pick the gaps.
Step three, create the lists, you gotta have two, because, well I’ve already gone through that, I don’t need to repeat myself, as I often do. I can see you nodding your head now, you’ve put your hand up, now you’re nodding your head, agreeing with me that I repeat myself, how dare you?
The next step, step four, is to assign the categories. There are four categories, there’s an A, a B, a C, and a D. An A, is something that is vital. So if any of you have a dictionary by the side of your bed, and you read it every night before you go to bed, and learn new words, if you’re up to the V’s, you’ll know what the word vital means.
The dictionary definition of vital is, “essential for life”, or the other one is, “life sustaining”, and so we need to apply that philosophy to the goal that this activity is connected to.
And, you’ve got to ask this question. This is the most important question you need to ask to be able to apply a category properly, and that is, what will happen if I don’t do this today?
Today is the most important word in that sentence. If the answer comes back, “the goal cannot be accomplished”, “it is impossible for that goal “to be accomplished if I don’t do that today”, then you put an A priority next to, or an A category next to that activity.
If it’s, it will make everything really, really hard and inconvenient, and it’ll piss some people off. It’s still not an A, it can be done, it is a B, it is important, B is important. A is vital, life sustaining, B is important. Life-sustaining is far more important than important. Life sustaining, a C is of some value.
So it’s not a very high priority at all, and a D, get this folks, make sure you make a note of this, a D is a complete waste. And, most of you right now will be going, “why would you even bother telling me that as if I would put “something on my list that would be a complete waste?”
Well, I reckon you would, because we hypnotize ourselves into thinking things are important, and we just repeat things, we’re getting into habits of doing things, and the reason that we did them in the first place sometimes changes.
And, if we’re still habituated into doing it, we just do it, and we just assume that it’s got some value or it’s important, and it’s just not necessary anymore.
So ask the question, “what will happen “if I don’t do this today” for everything. Absolutely everything, and put the appropriate A, B, C, or D next to the actions in your prioritized daily action list.
The fifth step, are the priorities. They’re just the ones, and the twos, and threes. It’s pretty simple, and so if you’ve got a couple of A’s, and if you’re doing this properly, you probably in the beginning you won’t have many, if any A’s.
Because A’s are things that are directly connected to your pre ordained, pre-program, preset goals. They’re not things that are just urgent, or for whatever reason you feel that they’re important.
Work it out, is it connected to your goals, if it’s not, what are you doing it for? It’s not moving you towards your goals, you’ve just habituated, hypnotized yourself into thinking it’s important, this is a much better way of doing it. A planned, on purpose way of doing it.
So if you’ve got some A’s, you’ll go, out of the A’s, if I could only do one today, which one is it, that’s your A one. Then if you go, if you’ve got a few more, you go, out of the ones that are left, if I could only ever do one today, which would not be, there’s your A two, A three, so on.
And, then you do the same for the B, B one, B two, B three, B four, and then get started. There’s your list, get started. Do A one first, doesn’t matter about urgency or anything like that, we’ve gotta learn to make decisions based on the consequences of doing or not doing something, rather than our gut.
All urgency is as an emotion, and it shouldn’t be the only thing that you make a decision by. It can come into it, ’cause if you’ve got something that’s absolutely vital and a sense of urgency, it’s probably an emergency, or a crisis, go deal with it.
But, there are plenty of things that have a massive sense of urgency, that if you asked the question, “what would happen if I didn’t address this, “what would happen if I didn’t do this today?”
The real genuine answer is, not much, it’s just you can feel it in your gut because you’ve habituated yourself into believing that this stuff is important.
So this will take a little while for you to get used to, but if you repeat it, you’ll get better and better and better at it. The last thing I wanna share with you is how to prioritize on the run, because you’ve got your list of professional things at the top, and your list of personal things at the bottom.
There should be a gap in between, because every single day you’ll get your lists done, and as soon as you get into it, someone’s gonna phone you, someone’s gonna ask you something, there’ll be things that you weren’t aware of that may or may not need to be done.
And, the key with this is not adding them to the list, but putting them in the middle, just adding them to their own list.
And then, let’s say I’m up to A two, I would grab the new request or the new action that’s made my little middle list, and I’d put that on this side of the mental scales, and I go, what will happen if I don’t do that today?
And, then I go, A two, what will happen if I don’t do that today, and I would go with whichever one has the more far reaching consequences, the most important consequences.
Not the one that feels the most urgent, but the one that has the most important consequences. And, if you keep doing that, what you’re doing is learning how to be proactive rather than reactive.
And, at the end of the day, you will be feeling satisfied because you have done, you might not have done everything, but you’ve done the most important things that you could have done, even when you didn’t know that some of those things existed at the start of the day.
So this is a very, very powerful system. I hope that it ends up in how you do your day.
Q & A
Okay, Q&A time, gotta rip through this. I’m not sure how long we’ve being going, but it’ll probably be too long, because prioritize daily action list, I didn’t want to leave any of the bits out.
The Q&A, now the question was, I’m always behind with the admin, the words were, “bites me in the ass”, but I didn’t think I should say that.
So always behind with the admin, and said, “how do we catch up?” My first suggestion would be time block, and so I would go back into the previous episodes, and look at time-blocking, or the other option is to book a strategy call and we can show you how to do it like that.
‘Cause it’s all part of the blueprint program, but time-blocking, super powerful. It is unbelievable how much can get done when you time block properly, so time-blocking is, you’ve gotta have a start time.
You’ve gotta have a duration, you’ve gotta have absolutely no distractions, and you’ve gotta have a reward. They’re the really important things to consider with time-blocking.
And, if you block the time to do this without the distractions, without the interruptions, and you just create two or three time blocks throughout the week, you will be blown away how quickly you can get on top of and stay on top of all of the administrative stuff.
You also, obviously, and you probably not gonna like this answer, but here we go, you need to be disciplined.
Many of you do the work, you give the onsite stuff preference all of the time, priority, priority, and I don’t know how many builders I’ve run into that have done the work and haven’t put the invoices out in a timely fashion.
Some of them are months after they’ve done the work, and then they go, “I’ve got a bit of a cashflow problem.” Well, Sherlock, I wonder why that’s the case. We’ve gotta have some discipline, we’ve gotta time block, we’ve gotta ensure that those really important things get done.
And, we either do themselves or we delegate them, have somebody else do them for us, but that sort of stuff needs to be done, and you need to take responsibility for ensuring that it gets done.
And, other ways that you can look at that is, look to automate some of the process, so it takes a lot of the admin work away from you. There’s a ton of ways of doing that. And, I know something that we’re talking about a lot in Black Belt now, and the members are absolutely loving it, is talking about virtual assistance.
And, many builders have thought, “oh, there’s nothing “a virtual assistant can do in my business.” Well, I beg to differ, like I said to you in the start, I don’t tell you anything that doesn’t work.
One chap we were talking to just the other day started using that for his marketing maybe well over a year ago, just recently started using a VA for administration tasks, talking to him a few days ago, and he says, “I think I’m gonna need a second VA “because I’ve worked out ways “to get a whole lot more off my plate.”
And, he’s so enjoying the freedom right now, and that obviously creates own problems of, “now what do we do”, but we can figure that out.
It’s a good problem to have, having some time freedom. So I hope that makes sense, but time blocking is the first cab off the rank there.
Personal Productivity Hack
Here’s the idea of the week real quick.
It’s spring time, so this won’t make sense if you’re watching the replay many, many months down the track, but right now it’s springtime. What do we do in spring, spring clean.
And, what I’m talking here is, again, going back to the prioritized daily action list and all of the things that we do. When we get new ideas on how to do things, I’ve found over the years, as we learn we tend to add things to our list of things to do.
Always, as we learn things, it’s always an exercise in addition, and I don’t believe many of us at all ever take the time to do a spring clean, and go, “let’s go through everything.”
Everything that shows up on my list on a regular basis, either daily or weekly, and go through it and go, “can I get that off my list?”
The first question you ask is can I dump it, can I just get rid of it, is it still relevant, often you’ll find, hey, it’s not. So you can just chuck it, it’s fantastic. But if it is still relevant, what you can do is potentially automate it.
There’s tons of apps, and software, and amazing stuff that does amazing stuff for you. And, it’s pennies to get a lot of this stuff implemented, and if you’re a technophobe ask your five-year-old to help you out, or go to fiverr.com, or places like that.
People can help you set this up, again, for a small amount of money, but it’s so, so worth it. You can outsource it, the sort of stuff we’re talking about a second ago with VA’s and so forth.
You can spring clean some of the actions that way. And, then of course you can, the last cab off the rank is delegating it to somebody on your team, but that’s the last one because it’s the most expensive option out of the lot.
But, on a regular basis, I’d say at least twice a year, if not once a quarter, have a spring clean, and look at everything that’s on your list and go, can I dump it, can I automate it, can I outsource it, can I delegate it?
And, you will find that a big majority of the things will be able to tick one of those boxes, but at least go to the effort and do a spring clean on a regular basis, you’ll absolutely love it.
Takeaway & Jump On A Call
So, what’s the takeaway for this episode? Just like the need for accurate detailed plans for your project, I think you should have one for your day.
You should put effort into learning how to leverage your time and effort, because if you just keep working harder and harder and harder, instead of learning how to do those things we just talked about.
Use the prioritized daily action list, to use outsourcing, or automation, or things like that. You starting to leverage your time when you work on those sorts of things, so you need plans, you need accurate plans, and you need one for every day.
And, part of that plan every day, I believe, should be putting some effort into getting something off your list that recurs on your list daily or weekly permanently, that’s the takeaway I’d like you to have for this episode.
So that’s it for this episode of Builders Business Success Podcast. If you’ve been watching it live, please put in #live. If you you’ve been watching the replay, please put on #replay, and as I said to you, I would love to chat with you.
Love to get you into a conversation, to find out where you are, where you wanna go, what’s in the way, and look at how we might be able to point you in the right direction.
Now, the blueprint might be an option, or there might be a free option that that will work for you where you are right now, but we’re never gonna know unless we have that conversation.
So you’ve got absolutely everything to gain, and nothing to lose by jumping on a seven to 10 minute conversation, and find out what the next possible steps are for you.
See if it suits you, if it suits your great, if it doesn’t, great, at least you know, but have that conversation. How you do that, again, there’s a link in the comment section if you’re watching it on Facebook, there will be on YouTube as well.
If you’re watching it on the blog, there’s a button underneath the video. And, if you’re listening to the audio only, all you need to do is navigate to buildersbusinessblackbelt.com.au.
And, as you can see, if you’re watching it, if you wouldn’t be if you’re just listening to it, is schedule a call buttons all over the screen there.
So it’s very, very easy to get in contact with us. Hope this was helpful, I hope it made sense. I really, really hope that you implement it.
And, if you’ve got any questions, you know where to find us in the Facebook group and Builders Business Success Forum, you can get in there and ask questions about what I spoke about today.
More than happy to help you, that is it for this episode, I’m Mick Hawes, from Builders Business Black Belt, bye for now.