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The only way for us to succeed at anything valuable and noteworthy is to structure our lives in a way that facilitates our improvement in that field, and allows us to apply consistent and systematic effort towards our goals.
Given that both our time and our energy levels are finite, it is imperative that we make the most effective and efficient use of these precious resources.
In essence, if you want to achieve progress towards accomplishing a goal, whether that is building a highly profitable business or improving your internet marketing skills, you need to plan for it.
In this article, I want to share with you some of my thoughts on how to proactively structure your life in a way that will allow you to achieve insane levels of productivity and progress.
My thinking is that you should strive to accomplish something massive, so this should be a high level goal that will play out during the next decade.
Again, examples of bold goals would be building and running a valuable world-renowned company or becoming a world-famous digital marketer.
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We are going to work backwards from that goal, essentially reverse engineering the process that will allow you to reach it.
Since it is virtually impossible to predict project the future after the time span of a few years (three is already pushing it), we are going to focus on the shorter time periods of single years.
This system will help you structure your life in a way that you continuously march forward while collecting feedback on your progress and plan at the same time.
We are going to break down the 12 months of a year into shorter, more distinct periods, and work our way from there.
We start with the smaller time block, that of a single day.
What you are doing during each day is of utmost importance, since this is the blueprint with which everything else is going to be built.
I can’t stress this enough: you need to plan your day every day, and develop a strong routine that allows you to work on your goals while minimizing the bullshit distractions of the modern world.
As business philosopher Jim Rohn has said, “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”
First thing in order is to wake up as early as possible, and at a fixed time. The early part means that there will be a minimum number of distractions around and you will be able to focus on your work.
The “fixed time” part will allow yourself to establish a rhythm within which you are going to live. If you wake up at a specific time in the morning, you are going to notice that your body will force you to also sleep at a specific time at night.
Next thing is to tackle the most important tasks first thing in the morning. Work on the tasks that are going to have the biggest impact.
See now why we need to wake up early?
Because the most important tasks are usually the hardest ones and require absolute focus and concentration, thus we can’t afford to have meaningless distractions flying around.
If you belong to the group of people that are night owls, just reverse this setup and make sure to do your deep work late at night when everyone else is sleeping. The principle is the same.
While you are working you need to make sure that you do it in uninterrupted blocks of time.
One of the most effective approaches is to use the Pomodoro technique which simply states that you work on a single task for 25 minutes, then you break for 5 minutes.
You do this for 4 times, and after that (two hours have passed) you break for a longer period of 30 minutes.
If the type of work you do requires more time than 25’, you can also try 45’ of work, followed by 15’ of break.
At some point during the day, make sure to spend a few minutes (or even an hour) to do something physical. That means working out, exercising or just taking a walk.
If you combine that break with an outdoors activity, all the better. This combination will allow you to rejuvenate and also kick-start your creativity.
As a fundamental framework on which to base your daily routine, check out my daily ritual for extreme productivity that will take you to the next level in terms of productive outcome.
Most of the days of your week should flow based on the routine I described above.
However, if you follow this approach to the letter, you will see that towards the end of the week, your willpower levels might drop.
During the weekend, when I expect that you will be working, you should take it a bit easier. You should allocate fewer hours in productive work and invest some time in social and fun activities (or just chilling at home).
Apart from downshifting a bit, you should also add some very powerful elements in your schedule.
The first one is that every second Sunday you will be attending your Mastermind Group.
“What is that?”, you may ask.
A Mastermind Group is at its core a group of trusted and like-minded people. These are peers of yours (around the same level of expertise and experience as you) that share the same values and have similar goals and aspirations.
During your meetups (that might run for a few hours), you will discuss your progress in your businesses and other aspects of your lives.
If you don’t have such a group, you need to create one as soon as possible. It will add a major tailwind to your journey.
The other Sunday, you are going to run what I call “Strategic Sundays”.
These should be dedicated to only two tasks:
a) Educating yourself on new trends, exploring various discoveries made and studying “deep topics”.
During a hectic week, you will not be in position to focus and understand complex material, so the “study time” should be strategically allocated during a more casual day.
There are several publications that you can trust for your education. Here are some of my favorites:
Here is a list of topics that you should definitely keep an eye on:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Machine Learning
- Internet of Things
- Startups / Entrepreneurship
- Engineering / Programming
- AR / VR
Even if you don’t understand the finer details, you should hold a high level overview of them.
b) Strategizing about the next couple of weeks and/or revising your existing plan. This is where the “feedback” part I mentioned kicks in.
Every couple of weeks you should slow down, assess if what you have been doing works, track your progress towards your goals and adjust accordingly.
A typical month will be stacked with highly productive weekdays followed by a bit more casual weekends, when you also do your Mastermind Group meetups and your Strategic Sundays sessions.
If you are doing this correctly, you will notice massive progress, but also start to feel some burnout coming.
Time for recovery.
Each month, allocate one or two days for a trip or excursion, preferably out of the city. During that time, eliminate anything work related or keep it to the bare minimum.
You should chill and relax, preferably with friends or a romantic partner and appreciate what you have accomplished thus far.
Either during that trip or when at home, you need to also allocate one or two days for strategizing for the next couple of months and/or revising accordingly. This should be a more extended version of the strategizing during your Strategic Sundays.
As a final task of your monthly routine, you should arrange a meetup with a successful person within your industry (or outside it if it makes sense meeting him).
Do whatever it takes to arrange a meetup with someone more successful. Hustle, cold call, find common connections. Make sure to offer something of value to that person, don’t be a value leecher.
Quarterly / Semi-annual Routine
The next major milestones should be your quarterly and semi-annual planning.
The principles are the same: arranging for a few days of relaxation, assessing your progress and strategizing your next steps.
An extra spin on this is to do a semi-annual Summit. This is something that we have adopted within the Mastermind Group I attend, and it works like a charm.
In essence, you and your Mastermind peers book a luxurious villa for a few days and get yourselves into a setting where you are presenting your progress, analyzing your next moves and asking for feedback.
It is a great experience that I highly recommend you to try.
Before I wrap this up, I want to bring your attention to something important.
A common pattern that you might have already noticed is that of recovery.
During an hour, we recover for a few minutes.
During a day, we recover for a few hours.
During a week, we recover for a half day.
During a month, we recover for a few days.
During a half-year, we recover for several days.
This is fundamental to do because the human bodies work in cycles, and part of each cycle is the recovery phase. We might strive to become money making robots, but even robots need to recharge from time to time.
Success is never the result of luck. It is the outcome of orchestrated and coordinated effort that manifests each and every day.
By following this blueprint for a few years, I am certain that you will be able to attain high levels of success whether you are a business person, a career individual or an artist.
Follow my plan and you will be kicking ass every single day. Cheers!