The Theory and Practice of 50 Minute Sprints
“It’s a must,” said Matt. “If there is no change in what you do, there will be no change in your results. The key is determining: are you reactive or do you plan the work you have to do?”
The keys he said are “research, enquiry, list and plan. The Planner will always finish first.”
Slow Down To Speed Up
The environment is always perfect for business. Why? Uncertainty is always there. You cannot control the environment – the business environment.
What you can control is how you think about it and how you plan to implement our business.
To achieve your goals, you must:
- Take ownership
- Be Accountable
- Be Responsible
What will defeat you is if you
- Blame others
- Make excuses
- Live in a state of denial about the reasons you are not achieving your goals.
The Power Of Planning and Written Goals
The power of having written goals cannot be overstated, according to Matt. 70% of business people have no specific verbal or written goals; 27% have verbalised their goals but not written them down, so they can be reviewed regularly.
3% have detailed written goals and, according to Matt, achieve 98% of the wealth derived from business. The message is clear: wealth goes hand in hand with written goals.
Matt said his KEY point is having a STRATEGY to achieve your goals, once they are written, but being committed to the strategy is more important than the strategy itself.
(Author’s note: commitment and action will build momentum)
What is a strategy? It is a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.
(Author’s note: Strategies will be amended, redefined and changed as the year progresses and various results make themselves apparent or opportunities present themselves.)
The First Step Is To Decide On Your Top Three Business Goals, For The Next Twelve Months.
The reason it is so important to commit to the STRATEGY is because people overestimate what you can do in one year – but under-estimate what you can do in five. Being committed to a strategy means you can learn to ride the wave, as your business builds momentum.
Habits: control us – so we need to choose to implement good habits.
Discipline: is doing the harder of two things, only one of which will move you closer to your goals.
(Authors note: For me, my three top business goals, for the next twelve months, are:
To be generating $80,000 of income each year from my businesses by the end of twelve months.
Build Stories My Nana Tells to a premium subscriber list of 700 by the end of twelve month
Start recording stories as podcasts.
Remember this, the next time you consider doing something pleasant and recreational – is it moving you closer to your goals?)
Your Net Worth Follows Your Calendar
The more planned you are, the most success you will achieve in meeting your business goals.
To set up your plan, following Matt’s guidelines, you will do the following:
- Use a YEARLY planning folder
- Start by organizing at least ONE full day to complete your plan for the year
- Put your holidays and time out into your yearly plan FIRST.
- Make a decision – this will be your best year EVER.
We are all familiar with the story of how much you can get into a jar or glass – using rocks, pebbles, sand. Put the BIG ROCKS in first – your holidays, your time out with family or for yourself. This gets your priorities in the right order and lets you have personal time to which you can look forward.
The pebbles – the important business tasks will fit in between the rocks (your personal time out) and the sand (whatever you have to do to achieve your goals) will flow over everything else, to take up whatever time you have in your life.
Matt made the point that if you have to learn something new, to achieve your business goals, be prepared for that to take time to learn but that it gets easier as you do it more often. For him, it has been learning to present Webinars – like the one from which these notes are drawn.
Be clear about what you want – not just in $$$ terms, but in other measurable results.
Be super clear on what you want for yourself – more than just $$$ but in terms of life style.
- By How Much
- By When
- By How Often
Are You Not Seeing Success, To Date?
FEAR holds us back.
Most of our fears are not even real – we make them up and then allow them to hold us back. We must move out of our comfort zone and when we look back, we will see the fears have evaporated, because they never were a real threat to our success – unless we allow them to be so.
Do A Yearly Planner – And Choose Your Time Slots For The BIG Actions – To Achieve The Big Results.
To do this, set out themes for your Quarters, depending on your type of business. Do you need to theme around the seasons? If you are a gardener, that makes perfect sense.
If your business is sports related, your themes might be
- Playing season
- Finals season
(Author’s Note: Teachers and educators theme around semesters; fashion gurus will following the seasons, but six months ahead and accountants and financial planners have their themes and events set for them by regular monetary events.
If your business is online, plan your themes around building momentum for a new eBook; a series of new blog posts on a particular topic; the release of a new product; think ahead, rather than just having a bright idea and launching it without any planning or buildup. Create a theme – develop anticipation – deliver with clout.)
Theme your Quarters with specific targets: Money, Goals, Numbers. Keep moving towards your overall yearly goals with every action.
Your planning has to be for next week, next 90 days and for a year. Build momentum – every week.
Weekly Planning – Theme Your Weeks
Start with a blank weekly planner each week and your week can start any day of the week that suits you. Just be consistent.
Decide what activities you need to undertake each week on a regular basis and set a theme style for the week.
- Marketing Mondays
- Scheduling Facebook and Twitter posts Tuesdays
- Networking Wednesdays
- Selling Thursdays
- Blogging, podcasting, webinars Fridays
are just suggestions on how you might want to theme a week, so you can plan your tasks, appointments and meetings (face-to-face or online) to maximize your working time. Get some structure around your week and don’t over commit, in the beginning. If you over commit and fail to meet your schedule, you are less likely to try again.
First write it up in pencil and when you are happy with your planning for the week, copy it across to Outlook – so that it will come up and set you up for the day, every day.
(Author’s Note: or whatever daily calendar you use, but it needs to be something that is going to remind you during the day of what tasks you have set for the day)
Check in regularly, that you are moving towards your goals. Moving towards……… you may get there before the year is up – it may take a little longer – but you need to be moving towards your goals all the time.
Each day you need to commit to completing the following:
- Writing down your Gratitudes
- Speaking your Affirmations
- Completing your set Tasks
- Reviewing your Planning
Discipline and Control Your Mind.
Discipline is a learned habit and the sooner we learn to exercise discipline, the easier it becomes because we see the results, by achieving our goals; our written goals.
Daily Action Sheet
Matt set out a strategy of using a Daily Action Sheet, where specific results are recorded every day. You can click on the picture above, for a bigger view.
- Achieved today (three specific results from completing tasks)
- Productivity – % (your estimation of how productive your day has been, in moving you towards your own goals
- Want to achieve tomorrow (three specific results from completing tasks)
- Grateful for today (five specific declarations of gratitude for your experience of the day)
- Major Goals (three specific major goals for the next twelve months)
Next, write up your Day Planner for the next day – listing no more than twelve tasks for the day; prioritize them in order of their Decision Making Importance and then by priority.
A KEY part of planning your tasks; creating your themes and keeping in touch with how well you are moving towards your goals is to align your focus with the zone in which you are most productive and where you achieve the most for the energy you expend.
Matt says until you have achieved $1M (yes, $1,000,000) in turnover – 50% of your activity should be in Sales and Marketing.
The relative values of Decision Making Importance cannot be overstated, according to Matt.
Major decisions are life changing decisions = 85% of your decision making time and energy, when they are needed – but you don’t make them every day.
Medium decisions are business goals = 50% of your decision making time and energy – but once set, these should not need big changes until you do a yearly review.
Minor decisions are the tasks you need to complete to achieve your goals = 25% of your decision making time and energy.
They are minor decisions, because they are simply the steps you have to take to achieve your business goals. They don’t require much decision making – they are part of the strategy. Instead, spend the time prioritizing them, as A, B, or C tasks.
Don’t procrastinate on minor decisions which will not have a major impact on your life. Filter out what is not necessary for you to do. Think about “What do I need to start saying “No” to, instead of saying “Yes”, when it does not fit my strategy and will not move me towards my goals.
Work From Your Centre Of Genius
Imagine your working time as a target – and the bull’s eye is your planning. Your Zone, where you do your best work.
The next ring is Demand – what you know is both “Urgent and Important”
The next ring is Delusion – what you imagine is urgent but is, in fact, not important.
The final ring is Distraction – what is neither urgent nor important but which distracts you from being in the Zone.
You must remove the “bricks” – little things that distract you from being in the zone. Get a PA and leverage your time and your skills. Make a list of the things you WILL NOT do and outsource them.
Manage Your Energy – NOT Your Time
According to Matt, one hour of inspired work is better than six hours of static work.
Use Your Timer!!
Do 50 minute Sprints.
Be totally focused on ONE task for 50 minutes.
- Turn off your email
- Turn off your Facebook and Twitter
- Turn off your phone
- Turn on some background music
STOP at 50 minutes. Take a 10 minute break.
THEN decide IF you will continue on the same task.
You will be amazed at how your productivity will increase, doing 50 minute sprints. Because what is on your task list no longer requires any decision making to start doing them, you will burn through your task list like never before.
Start with one 50 minute sprint in a week and then build up to one or two a day, in the defined format – absolutely no outside distractions; just doing the job!
- Overcome your reluctance to get things done by committing to the strategy
- Work from your centre of genius
- Theme your days and quarters
- Manage your energy.
With thanks to Matt Malouf – who provided the material for this blog post
(with Author’s notes in italics)This article took five fifty minute sprints – and four ten minute breaks – to write from the notes taken during the Webinar. At each break, I decided to continue until it was finished, because 50 minute sprints are now a key part of my productivity. I include at least two every day, in my planning.
As a writer, I find putting words on paper not too hard – but even I tend to put off Blogging, as much as I love to write. There is no end of ideas to share; experiences to validate with others; suggestions to share and questions to ask.
Part of the reluctance to blog is wondering whether what you have to say is valuable; will your words go unread or unregarded? Few people leave comments on blogs these days, when a Twitter retweet of your post or a Facebook comment is much easier in our time poor world.
So, how is Blogging relevant? Does Blogging build customer loyalty to your “brand” – whether it is your total retail presence or a specific product?
What cannot be overstated is that your blog is your PRIMARY opportunity to build your brand. [Read more...]
The mobile networking concept, for an Australian traveller heading overseas, is highly attractive but not as easy to implement economically as I had hoped on my trip to the US and Canada in July/August. I didn’t spend a lot but my internet access was very sparse and that came down to
- not doing my homework properly;
- making wrong assumptions about internet services overseas;
- being terrified of incurring a big unwanted bill and
- not mentally splitting my phone/SMS services from my internet access.
Before leaving for the US and Canada in July (2012), I arranged to have my iPhone untethered from the Telstra network – with a simple phone call to them. They recommended that, when I arrived in the US, my Network settings be set to 3G and Cellular data on but Data Roaming OFF. Several messages from Telstra alerted me that new charges would apply, especially for SMS, and at a higher rate than in Australia. Messages on my iPhone could still be accessed at minimal cost using #101# as a dial in number.
As soon as I arrived in Salt Lake City, I purchased an AT&T SIM for $US50 which gave me a US phone number and unlimited phone calls and texts (without attachments) within the US for the next 30 days. The service at AT&T store was very good indeed – the SIM cards were swapped and the phone checked to make sure it worked just fine. When I moved from the US to Canada, the basic service was automatically switched to Rogers for phone calls and texts – but texts were not free from Canada. I added $US25 for overseas calls (including from Canada back to the US and Australia) and figured I was set for the month.
Not quite so fast, Madam! First of all, finding WiFi hot spots for FREE internet access in the US needs a little pre-planning, through sites like http://www.openwifispots.com/ if you can’t log on through a friend’s account.
Hotel WiFi access needs a password for login and is usually only available for guests; open access free WiFi is not freely available except through places like Starbucks, McDonalds, many Barnes & Noble book shops and some cafes. Airports have WiFi almost everywhere – in boarding areas. However, caution is necessary! BEWARE of Wi-Fi networks called “Free Public Wi-Fi” in airports. You’ll get online but most likely they are fake unsecure networks hoping to steal your information, especially if you use them to log into your bank account or use a credit card.
In Bryant Park in New York, close to my hotel on 6th Avenue, I enjoyed the beautiful gardens, a ride on a carousel, coffee, a free movie on a Monday night and free WiFi. http://www.bryantpark.org New York has an official policy of extending free WiFi through public spaces, as do other big US cities. The City of Perth is to be commended for implementing their new free WiFi policy, as is the City of Swan.
Otherwise, roaming can be accessed through “hot spots”, which usually are not free. For example, through T-Mobile, access to a Hot Spot requires a paid-plan ($US39.99 for a month for unlimited roaming but which can be subject to daily additional charges depending on location, of up to $US6.99 per 24 hour day). One of the biggest mind shifts required is accepting telephone and SMS services have to be accessed separately from the internet – whereas, for an Australian home based customer, both mobile internet access and telephone / SMS services are highly integrated and we rarely think about them being separate services.
Switching my SIM card from Telstra to AT&T had an unexpected glitch. My bank sends a security code to my Australian mobile phone number to authorise any transaction to a new account, when it is done on the internet. In SLC, I used the notebook to book a hotel in Miami, using a friend’s internet. There was a sudden flurry of activity when the SIM card in the phone had to be switched back to Telstra, so I could receive the required security code and authorise the transaction.
Accessing email was a whole new story, since four or five email accounts come to my iPhone. I could RECEIVE bigpond.com email any time I had internet access through WiFi. With Telstra access for SENDING email from the iPhone not a viable option – Gmail.com (Google’s internet based email service) was essential.
Since I already had a Gmail account, it was a fairly simple step to set it up on my iPhone and I quickly found I could reply to my bigpond.com emails, using the SEND FROM Gmail.com account on the iPhone.
Accessing services like Twitter (without free WiFi) are fraught with cost danger but essential when your Bank sends a message that your Debit Card has been temporarily suspended because of an overseas transaction! A quick message on Twitter that asks them to send you a DM, to which you will (and do) respond with confirmation of the questionable purchase, is worth almost any cost as an SMS. Especially after their phone call at 12:45am (local time) to San Francisco dropped out after less than a minute!
Next month, we will update the installation on my iPhone of a phone service that gives virtually free calls to and from the USA and Canada from Australia, while being free within those countries, and how well it has worked.
Are you missing out on getting your business page “Liked” on Facebook?
Setting up your description of your own occupation on your Facebook profile needs to be done with care – because you may just be losing the opportunity to have friends easily find your business page and share it, by giving it a friendly like, when you are running your own business.
Setting up your current “occupation”
If you want your business page to be easily found on Facebook by anyone including friends, your current employer needs to be the NAME of your Facebook business page and what you do needs to be what you want people to understand about your business. Then, your employment has to be VISIBLE to everyone who looks at your profile on Facebook. This is where [Read more...]
Doing a bit of a scan of my systems for something on St Patrick’s day, I came across this from March 22, 1999. I thought it would be fun to put it up, thirteen years later.
St Patrick’s Day Hacker Nearly Put Me Out Of Business
On St Patrick’s day 1999, we were completely trashed by a hacker and then found out our backup tapes haven’t been working since the 5th Feb 1999 – so we had lost the records of the last 6 weeks work, in an office that was totally digital.
Basically someone put a ‘backdoor’ virus into our Linux operating system, to open on St Patrick’s Day – 17th March. We found out about 14 other sites had the same thing happen. We lost our logs, had our O/S chewed up and data trashed. Apparently, it has been resident on our ‘slave’ backup computer since installation as part of the original programme.
????? What!!! (Yes, it turned out later that our IT guy was installing from a master disc that had the bug in [Read more...]