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.
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As I walked out the back door in the early evening a few years ago, a hissing cough drew my attention to the banksia tree by Burt’s cage. It was my old friend, the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) and she was disturbed to see me.
I looked around and to my delight further down the “sliding pole” that brings every one to the feeding tray I saw another possum. She had a new baby clinging to her back and these three are almost certainly mother and daughter – with a new granddaughter enjoying the balmy night. It’s an occasional tit-bit of apple or banana that they love; to supplement their original food of choice –oats. The oats in the bird seed mix that the pink and grey galahs refuse to eat. As do the magpies, bronze wing pigeons, ravens and almost everyone else who came to “Dewar’s Drop In Feeding Tray”
Only the possums liked the oats. And the mice, which frequented the floor of the large cage on the other side of the big banksia tree, happily eating Burt’s discards.
During the day, Burt flew freely about calling in the other pink and grey galahs, so he could eyeball them through the front of his cage or to talk with them as they sat on top of the small cage that was fitted to his roof like a penthouse.
Now, he sat tucked up in his back corner, beak under wing, warm and safe, while the possums scampered up and down the banksia and the pole that leant against it, jumping to and from the feeding platform.
I clicked my tongue at the mother, who was half way down the pole with her baby and quietly went back into the kitchen. [Read more...]
From: Annette Butchart
Sent: 5 March 1999 4:06
Subject: your last message
I have tried to open the last message you sent but although I have loaded
the software package I still don’t have that particular access as we have
limited acces to the internet – due to unscrupulous staff members doing
naughty things etc!!!!! One month they downloaded a whole load of “trash”
and ran up a bill of $2k needless to say that even we senior staff have to
Anyway, how has your short week been? I always seem to work twice as hard
on a short week to try and catch up!! As hard as they are I still enjoy
those short weeks though because we get that lovely long weekend. Take the
good with the bad!
Warren Lisa Gordon and I went to Rockingham last weekend for the Sunday
night and then went to Penguin Island for the day on Monday. Really lovely
- excellent snorkeling, the best since Thailand. We did see 1 dolphin on
the way over and although we didn’t see any – I will send more info later I
have a client waiting for me in reception. I’ll send this now and sent the
Bye xx—–Original Message—–
From: Lesley Dewar
Sent: 5 March 1999 4:15
To: Annette ButchartSubject: RE: your last message
The last message was an “I feel warm inside when I think of you” card from the Blue Mountain Card company. They are really great for spontaneous messages to people you want to send ‘warm & fuzzies’ to, at the drop of a hat.
Our short week has been frantic – I have worked nearly 6o hours this week (which included Monday).This Sunday we are having lunch at Plantations in South Perth with Colin (Pauline is working) W & L. It’s Lisa’s birthday about then (thank goodness Pauline rang today to let me know (remind me? =- no I didn’t actually know).
Robbie & I drove down to Golden Bay, near Mandurah, yesterday to write up some business with a top client. It was lovely to be out with him – even though I had to come back to work afterwards. today, he is doing a courier run to Hamersley for me.So, yes. We are flat chat.
Doing some really serious business evaluations, have team meetings every week, sorting out the wheat from the chaff with our customers (the 80/20 rule is alive and well)
I hope Robert liked his trilobite for his birthday – if not, I’ll have it back. I really love it, myself.
I am growing my hair – and it’s doing really well. Want to end up with a bob, at about chin length – totally different.
Lots of baby frogs - possum in residence – kangaroos come to feed almost every night.
Let’s do lunch, soon.
Lesley Dewar is an author and publisher of Stories My Nana Tells. She was one of some leading Perth career women to participate in Mentoring sessions for Year 12 Girls from Penrhos College, Perth, on February 12, 2013, in conjunction with Women In Business WA.
This blog was written half way through her chemo treatment for breast cancer, at a time when she was experiencing “chemo wall” from time to time. Before the event, she proclaimed “I am getting my Mojo back!” She was adamant that by not opting out of the event, but writing her notes and giving it her best shot, it reminded her of her achievements and there is still much more to come.
It was several months later (by the end of April 2013) that she could really say she had her Mojo back – but this is a very interesting blog post about a woman who continues to inspire and lead.
These notes are a summary of what was used for the table discussion – which allowed the girls to ask many questions about choosing a career.
- Lesley’s background :
- Well, I now I am 69, fighting triple negative cancer and building a new business called Stories My Nana Tells. I have been married twice, divorced once and I was widowed ten years ago. I have two married sons and my daughter died when she was thirty four. Today is my granddaughters birthday. Jade is 28 today.
- Career pathways and progression since leaving school.
- I was trained as a shorthand / typist and did lots of secretarial work until I married. Once I became a single parent, I had to earn as much as a man – so I specifically demanded equal pay for equal work, [Read more...]
The pond was under shade cloth, but the morning sun struck directly on the water, covered with duckweed and surrounded by ferns. Since last year, the plants have made a veritable jungle around the pond. The soil is rich with earthworms, slugs and beetles; we use no herbicides. Tall tree ferns shade fishbone and maidenhair alike; a chicken and hen fern has become quite spectacular in size. Begonias and native violets added their subtle blooms amid the green foliage and later, in the early evening, nothing will match the sweet, warm perfume of petunias freshly watered. Elephant ears compete with philodendron to be the biggest by the pond; asparagus fern winds its soft tendrils about the butterfly plant.
It was quite an experience to watch the frogs emerge, as the early morning sun cleared the tree tops and lit up the pond. They cared nothing for Ten Sing Tung, who loved to wander among their habitat, curious but only ever looking. They were quite used to him by now and the tinkling bell on his collar let them know where he might be, in their overgrown world.
Eight, ten or even fifteen frogs had already positioned themselves on the veranda rafters in preparation for the day. Deep brown with black spots or bronzed with the green of verdigris of aged copper, [Read more...]
Perhaps we haven’t shared the news with you recently, but I am very happy to let you know I am just that – a breast cancer survivor. After five months of surgery and chemotherapy, I am now (March 2013) on three monthly reviews and feel absolutely fabulous!
Not everyone is this lucky, I know, and I am very grateful for the help, support and medical care I have had, in the past six months.
It was my support network, particularly on Facebook, which really helped me get through some of the worst days – and shared my best days, too. It has changed how Stories My Nana Tells exists! We are now building a community here at Stories My Nana Tells and in a Member’s Group on Facebook, too.
I didn’t lose my hair from the chemo – but I did have a head shave, for charity. So, now, I am wearing lots of turban style hats, while my hair grows back.
I have had amazing support from Facebook friends and through our page at Stories My Nana Tells
A Cancer Survivor’s Blog
I have been asked many times to blog about my cancer journey and about being a cancer survivor.
For now, this is what it would be:
* be focussed around having a great support network (mine is Facebook);
* being positive about your personal survival (even with Triple Negative Cancer, I never thought for a moment I would die);
* totally trust your medical team (they genuinely want you to get well);
* stay away from all the scams that prey on your fears (I mean to say, how much bi-carb water can you drink in a day? your body sets its own pH levels for different parts of you and half a lemon is not going to change anything); if anyone hassles you about using marijuana or other stuff and it’s not for you, tell them in no uncertain terms you are not interested and you know what you are doing (the amount of misinformation and scams there are on the internet is just disgusting, frightening and downright criminal)
* have a great plan for getting on with life, as soon as you can (mine is completely changing Stories My Nana Tells so it is focussed on our readers and building a community)
* be prepared for some dreadful days if you are doing chemo or radiation (OMG – you start to wonder if the cure is worse than the complaint);
* have deep and genuine GRATITUDE for everything in your life that is good and trust your instincts
* don’t become your cancer (it is not you, it is just something that is happening to your body, right now)
I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am – many beautiful women (and men) will not survive or get through their treatment as quickly as I did. I just happened to have a breast cancer that was much more easily dealt with through my surgery than anyone, the surgeon included, expected.
My blog would be all about being GRATEFUL, eating and sleeping well, having great friends and loving life, whatever it brings you. Every day above the ground is a GREAT day.
Warmest regards, Lesley
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A short story – told in tweets:
I am researching what yabbies eat. Have bait, torch and sitting by the bottom dam waiting for night to fall.
From what I have read today, I am not so worried about any yabbies down here that haven’t died yet.
The water is so shallow, the cat food bowl shows half of itself above the surface, when on its side. It’s secured.
Last night, in the rain, there was a chorus of happy singing voices down here. Tonight – it is silent.
There is not a breath of wind, not the slightest breeze to stir the surface of the water. Crickets chirp and cicadas tap their frenetic song
Across the road, silly dogs bark and yelp – disturbing the stillness of a gently descending dusk, that rests featherlight around us.
My torch is to hand. A frog bleats a small call. The meat ants have stopped scavenging yesterday’s bait have gone, with part of my ankle
Lloyd, ever patient while I conduct my little expeditions, is lying on the top of the dam wall. He wants his dinner. But he is quiet.
It’s almost too dark to see the water and where the bait is set out on the muddy bank. I don’t want to flash the torch too soon. Kookaburra.
And another. They won’t come to the dam while I am here. It starts! The yabbie singing.
The yabbie singing is starting
Damn kookaburras – will not be quiet for a minute.
I am trying to record the yabbies and the kookaburras will not stop.
It’s different to last night -only one singer and what a pair of lungs. I suspect it is a frog. But, be that as it may, it is so peaceful and quiet I am not of a mind to pull in the net.
There are tracks on the mud already where yabbies have been coming up to get their food : CARROTS. I chopped some fresh carrots up in the blender and yabbies love it.
So, home Lloyd and I go, by torchlight, and we leave all these critters in peace
“What can you say to pierce this dreaded black fog, when once it descends? No words prevail. Your hugs pain me as I seek only the agony of my solitude. Leave me. Let me lie, that I might ponder why I am worthy to live. To recall my unknown and unforgiven trespasses. To hear each breath as it flows in and out my imprisoned chest. My heart cold. My sun dark. Perhaps, this time, it will not pass – and then I shall lie peacefully forever in the arms of eternal quiet and struggle no more.”
These are not words spun like a silken thread from the spindle of a writer. These are my own memories. Memories of dark days that haunted me – and I survived. Shared memories of my beautiful daughter, who did not.
Depression comes into our lives in different ways and not everyone can deal with it successfully. Once it has struck and covered you with its black fog, nothing is ever the same again. When depression strikes our loved ones, the pain of feeling impotent and unable to “fix it” is a pain of a different kind but of no less intensity
Depression can be crippling – and worse. As Stephen Fry has recently written, it is almost impossible to explain to someone who has never experienced it.
There is a world of difference between feeling “a bit under the weather” or “not feeling too bright today” to suffering the deep despair that depression brings; that paralyzing abyss from which even to dream of rising seems beyond the realms of possibility.
I have known depression. But no longer. I guard against it; watch out for it; stomp on it as soon as it begins to raise its ugly head. I know it to be insidious; sneaky; a two-faced Gollum like emotion that catches you unawares when you think everything is going to be OK.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Many of you will already know I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer at the end of November 2012 and by December 3, my left breast was gone! Am I depressed? No!
I have much for which I am thankful:
- for the cat whose embedded claw sent me to the Doctor.
- for my Social Media network which helped me find an excellent surgeon and medical team
- for my health fund which has made it less of a financial burden to get healed
- for the excellent private and public health system in Australia which underpin my treatment
- for knowing there were no cancerous cells detected in my lymph glands nor has a fully body MRI shown anything to cause us immediate concern
- for my family and friends on Facebook, Twitter and in my offline world who have been unstinting in their support and good wishes.
I have heeded the advice of my Surgeon and my Oncologist and others – by putting my own situation into context when I research on line and being careful to not encourage unreasonable worrying and fear for myself.
I reject websites, organizations and ideas which are negative in their views about survival and treatment, while I am realistic about having to make some changes to my lifestyle, diet and recreation and accept my treatment. I mean to say: I know that chemotherapy is not going to be fun!
I don’t think Facebook gives a “rat’s” about how I am feeling today, but I do think Facebook wants to prompt us into saying how we “feel” today.
It’s great for targeting us with adverts for the cure for whatever ails us, maybe. Or a new holiday destination; a new car; a new romance. Who knows? Not me!
I will tell you (and Facebook) I am feeling absolutely fantastic today!
I was a bit put out yesterday when I dressed for lunch, to take my Mum and Dad out for the day, only to post on my Facebook page: “hmmm – beautifully dressed to take Mum to lunch. Dad is splendiferous. Dresses don’t sit so well when half your “chest” is missing. Will have to look into this sooner, rather than later.” and later I wrote “I actually forgot about it once we got out and about. However, I have some beautiful clothes and there is no point in not making the most of them. So, some little adjustments will be made. “
Sharing our aches and pains; our fears and worries; our anger and grief through Social Media is incredibly helpful in dealing with stress. If we SAY we feel like “a dog’s breakfast” and a friend gives it a Like - that DOES help us feel better, because we know someone has acknowledged us AND I care how you are feeling today.
We can never have too much laughter, compassion and gratitude. We can never share too many happy stories and photos, like this one of the gorgeous Sean Connery. The next time someone tells you “on your bike, mate” say: “Yes! Sean Connery looks fab on a bike!”
If you want to tell me how you are feeling today, please feel free to comment. You are more likely to get a reply from me than you are from Facebook. :-)
What can we do for each other?
Show compassion. Depression is an insidious disease and we need to be aware – all the time – that a “down day” may not be as simple as it seems. Do not feel embarrassed to ask for help. I know now that I suffered badly from post-natal depression after Annette was born but I did not know why I was so miserable. I only knew that I thought the world would be a better place without me.
Reach out! Keep reaching out! You are not alone. Reach out to groups like
and many other organizations that are there to help. Find your local support organization and keep the contact details close to hand. If you feel you are suffering from depression, learn how to manage it – with diet, exercise, support, counselling and medication.
Take care of yourself. Laugh a lot – even when it seems ridiculous to be laughing when you feel so damn awful.
Begin to pray, although you may not feel God is listening. Angels are. They brought me home and they will help bring you safely home, too.
Be involved in saving your cockatoos
Support a project in your back yard!
Our Black Cockatoos are seriously threatened by the consistent clearing of their habitat and the ever depleting groundwater resources on the Swan Coastal Plain.
Education is the key!
By donating, you will be supporting current and future education opportunities for our children about Black Cockatoos and their lives.
You will be supporting Kaarakin in its mission to ‘protect, rehabilitate and release endangered species of Australian wildlife’.
Every donation no matter how small is valuable to this project!
You can make your donation right now, with PayPal. Please do it now!
Donations of all amounts are very welcome!
“On a Wing and a Prayer” follows the incredible life cycle of the Carnaby’s cockatoo through the engaging story of one small cockatoo family. Capturing a remarkable “never filmed before” journey of life and hope for one of Australia’s most loved, but critically, endangered birds.
Recently screened Australia-wide on the ABC , this inspiring and educational film received rave reviews and will shortly be available on DVD as a fundraising project for Kaarakin.
This project will raise funds to support the ongoing work of Kaarakin, in its mission to protect, rehabilitate and release endangered species of Australian wildlife – including our Black Cockatoos