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-   -   Getting business stuff done - the Power of Routines...! (http://www.sowpub.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9123)

Dien Rice April 8, 2015 09:06 AM

Getting business stuff done - the Power of Routines...!
 
Hi,

This is one of the "downfalls" of working for yourself... a lack of routines. When you work for someone else, they have often already set up routines for you to follow at work.

However, when you're working for yourself, you will often be more effective if you set up your own routines.

Think of exercising. Let's say you want to exercise every day, but you decide to leave it to chance when that will be every day - depending on what you "feel" like. What's the chances you'll keep to this plan to exercise every day?

I'll tell you... it will be pretty unlikely!

However, let's say you go to the effort of setting up a "routine." For example, every day, you plan to go for a good walk at 11 am, before lunch. You could even set a daily alarm to remind you.

Now, what's the chance you'll stick to your daily exercise? It's a lot better than if you left everything to "chance!"

This applies to everything else you might do...

And it applies not only to daily routines. I've started to find it helpful to write down the things associated with what I want to do. For example, if I'm writing a business plan (which is something I've been doing lately), I make sure I have a coffee, and listen to a specific type of music which helps me to focus. On the other hand, if I'm doing "light-hearted" writing, I don't worry too much about the coffee, make sure I have some food for mental energy, and listen to a completely different kind of music! These "routines" seem help me to get into the right frame of mind to get things done...

Going back to the exercise example, you can increase the power of the walking routine by, for example, finding out what kind of audio (music? seminars? comedy?) helps to motivate you to walk. Then listen to that on an iPod or smartphone or other device as you walk... And once you find what works, stick to it as part of your routine...

There are many routines you can set up in business... routinely doing your marketing, routinely doing product development, or even routinely sending pranks to your competition... ;)

Have you found any routines helpful in working in your business, or even your personal life?

Best wishes,

Dien

palmanator April 8, 2015 06:12 PM

Re: Getting business stuff done - the Power of Routines...!
 
Speaking of routines, I actually started a new "routine journey" on January 1 of this year (2015) - from an idea that started to "form" back in December of last year (2014).

For whatever reason - last December - I was thinking about how long it would take to walk from the East Coast to the West Coast.

Again - for whatever reason, I checked things out - and found that the "average" mileage was around 2800 miles - depending on where you started and ended the journey.

I measured my steps - and found out my steps average around 21 inches.

I then timed myself, and found that I take about 106 steps a minute when walking.

So - I then figured out that if I could walk for a TOTAL of 8 hours a day - I could cover 16.86 miles a day - and that it would take me about 166 days to walk across America.

I thought that was interesting.

Then - I thought about the fact that each step of the journey would SEEM inconsequential at a given hour on a GIVEN day to the OVERALL TASK of walking across America - but that faithfully taking steps of approximately 21 inches at a time - I could walk across America in 166 days - which meant I could walk across AND BACK in one year.

Now - I'm not thinking about doing it - it was just something that came to mind.

Butttttttttttttttttt - it occurred to me that the same principle holds true in other areas of my life.

I once heard a story from Jim Rohn about the difference small decisions make over time.

He said if someone decided to eat 1 candy bar a day and another person decided to eat 1 apple a day - and they began on Jan 1 - on January 2nd - there wouldn't be much difference.

But on Jan 1st of the next year, "person A" would have eaten 365 candy bars - and "person B" would have eaten 365 apples.

At that point - there WOULD be a difference - weight wise and health wise.

Then - around December 15th of last year (2014) - I was sitting in my living room staring at the same Christmas tree that I had stared at 1 year earlier (2013) and a thought occurred to me - what would this moment look and feel like if I had taken SMALL consistent actions for ALL OF 2014?

I then got a notepad, and wrote down what I would have LIKED to have done all year.

I then evaluated the actions - prioritized them - eliminated some - and came up with what the year would have looked like if I had done the things I wrote down.

Then - I decided to figure out a way to "take small steps EVERY DAY" starting on Jan 1 2015.

An the idea of writing the tasks down on 3x5 cards struck me.

I then made cards for EACH DAY of 2015 - and I have now been "working the system" for 98 days (since Jan 1, 2015).

I also went to Staples and bought a wall map, and created a set of "check boxes across the bottom representing my "daily walk" - which I mark off as the journey is continuing.

I have learned a few things - even in the short time I've been doing this.

1.) I've realized how much wasted time was occurring in my life from UNDISCIPLINED "rabbit trails" in my life in the past - and I didn't even know it.

I know it because as I "work the cards" each day - I find myself THINKING ABOUT "rabbit trails" - like checking email TOO MUCH - wanting to read just ONE news story - wanting to check into the next "shiny" object from a marketing email - but finding that it leads to another and another and another - and pretty soon I've wasted an hour or two.

2.) I can now see the results of 98 days - and realize that - if I work the system - then come Dec 31st of 2015 - just 267 days from today (April 8 2015) - there will be a whole new life to both look back on without regret - as well as a new discipline of life that will gain momentum for 2016!

3.) I don't use a clock - meaning I don't have the activities scheduled by a set time - because if anything unexpected occurs - and if I had everything scheduled with "do this at 9 am - this at 9:45 am - this at 10:30 etc" - I feel like I failed.

I just "get through the cards" - one step (card) at a time - and at the end of the day - if I executed the task on each card - it doesn't matter if I did it at 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock - hope that makes sense.

I DO have a timer - because some tasks have a set time frame - like a work session is 1.5 hours - but it DOESN'T have to be done at a certain time - just during the day.

It's like walking across America.

If I had to stop and get a rock out of my shoe - or help someone change a tire - I would just need to take care of the unexpected - and then finish the walk for that day.

It wouldn't matter whether I took a "step" at a certain time - just that I took the step.

4.) When I finish a card - I FORGET about it.

I don't waste time thinking about the task ANYMORE - I move on to the next card.

This works especially well for my "work" sessions.

I found it was too easy to want to do just "one more thing" - but that is futile - as there is ALWAYS just "one more thing" you could do in my business.

5.) I DON'T think about "Can I make it for the whole year".

I ONLY think about doing the NEXT CARD - because if I do the next card - like taking a step of approximately 21 inches at a time - the year will take care of itself.

If I thought too much about walking across America - it could discourage me because I would appear to be making SO LITTLE PROGRESS one step at a time.

But - if I just concentrated on ONE STEP AT A TIME - the journey would take care of itself.

6.) I purposely didn't OVER commit with TOO MANY TASKS - I trimmed them down to WHAT WOULD BE NON-NEGOTIABLE for sitting in my living room this coming Christmas - and FEELING the discipline of actually having done something for ONE FULL YEAR - and not feeling like I have so many years of my life in the past - and then saying - "NEXT YEAR".

I WON'T have to do that!!!

Just thought I'd take a moment to share.

A PDF of the simple system I use is at:

http://johnpalma.com/card-system-1.pdf

John Palma

GordonJ April 8, 2015 10:06 PM

Good stuff John, and something additional.
 
Love maps, got started with Navy recruiter, he had me cross off all the places I didn't want to go. Then circle the ones I wanted.

Then we ranked them.

He helped me with a plan (I call it the GRAPE Plan)...

Goal
Reason
Action 0r Activity-
Plan
Energy

Four years and two days later, everything was crossed off my map, got everything I PLANNED for, at a time most guys had no idea you could even do that.

This "Map" of possibilities is an integral part of my Square One Workshops and once a list of wants is made, one can priortize them with the Binary Matrix of Choices to get what they want.

I advise new Internet Markets to think of El PASO for opportunity

EL

Products
Affiliates
Service
Off line

So as not to put all their eggs in one basket.

Using your map, one has choices, spend half the year walking or hop on a plane and arrive in hours. Other choices, train, bike, bus, hitch or drive.

Walking...this would be the NEW IMer with NO money, but if someone has money to invest, then they can get to their destination much faster.

I like what you've done there, sorta like Harvey Brody's rungs up the side of a building to the rooftop.

Small steps.

I like to set and encourage rest stops, a weekend once a month to see where you've been and also add financial goals (for business planning).

Last week I got blasted for opining a noob should aim for 100 bux a day after a year of Internet Marketing. Spending 10 hours a week, taking those steps, there isn't a good reason why it can't be done,

500 hours for a year is a lot of time if one

HAS A GOAL
HAS A PLAN

Takes small DAILY steps (actions)
Stays focused
Has energy

I can see how your index card system could benefit a lot of people.

Thanks for sharing John.

Gordon

Quote:

Originally Posted by palmanator (Post 34838)
Speaking of routines, I actually started a new "routine journey" on January 1 of this year (2015) - from an idea that started to "form" back in December of last year (2014).

For whatever reason - last December - I was thinking about how long it would take to walk from the East Coast to the West Coast.

Again - for whatever reason, I checked things out - and found that the "average" mileage was around 2800 miles - depending on where you started and ended the journey.

I measured my steps - and found out my steps average around 21 inches.

I then timed myself, and found that I take about 106 steps a minute when walking.

So - I then figured out that if I could walk for a TOTAL of 8 hours a day - I could cover 16.86 miles a day - and that it would take me about 166 days to walk across America.

I thought that was interesting.

Then - I thought about the fact that each step of the journey would SEEM inconsequential at a given hour on a GIVEN day to the OVERALL TASK of walking across America - but that faithfully taking steps of approximately 21 inches at a time - I could walk across America in 166 days - which meant I could walk across AND BACK in one year.

Now - I'm not thinking about doing it - it was just something that came to mind.

Butttttttttttttttttt - it occurred to me that the same principle holds true in other areas of my life.

I once heard a story from Jim Rohn about the difference small decisions make over time.

He said if someone decided to eat 1 candy bar a day and another person decided to eat 1 apple a day - and they began on Jan 1 - on January 2nd - there wouldn't be much difference.

But on Jan 1st of the next year, "person A" would have eaten 365 candy bars - and "person B" would have eaten 365 apples.

At that point - there WOULD be a difference - weight wise and health wise.

Then - around December 15th of last year (2014) - I was sitting in my living room staring at the same Christmas tree that I had stared at 1 year earlier (2013) and a thought occurred to me - what would this moment look and feel like if I had taken SMALL consistent actions for ALL OF 2014?

I then got a notepad, and wrote down what I would have LIKED to have done all year.

I then evaluated the actions - prioritized them - eliminated some - and came up with what the year would have looked like if I had done the things I wrote down.

Then - I decided to figure out a way to "take small steps EVERY DAY" starting on Jan 1 2015.

An the idea of writing the tasks down on 3x5 cards struck me.

I then made cards for EACH DAY of 2015 - and I have now been "working the system" for 98 days (since Jan 1, 2015).

I also went to Staples and bought a wall map, and created a set of "check boxes across the bottom representing my "daily walk" - which I mark off as the journey is continuing.

I have learned a few things - even in the short time I've been doing this.

1.) I've realized how much wasted time was occurring in my life from UNDISCIPLINED "rabbit trails" in my life in the past - and I didn't even know it.

I know it because as I "work the cards" each day - I find myself THINKING ABOUT "rabbit trails" - like checking email TOO MUCH - wanting to read just ONE news story - wanting to check into the next "shiny" object from a marketing email - but finding that it leads to another and another and another - and pretty soon I've wasted an hour or two.

2.) I can now see the results of 98 days - and realize that - if I work the system - then come Dec 31st of 2015 - just 267 days from today (April 8 2015) - there will be a whole new life to both look back on without regret - as well as a new discipline of life that will gain momentum for 2016!

3.) I don't use a clock - meaning I don't have the activities scheduled by a set time - because if anything unexpected occurs - and if I had everything scheduled with "do this at 9 am - this at 9:45 am - this at 10:30 etc" - I feel like I failed.

I just "get through the cards" - one step (card) at a time - and at the end of the day - if I executed the task on each card - it doesn't matter if I did it at 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock - hope that makes sense.

I DO have a timer - because some tasks have a set time frame - like a work session is 1.5 hours - but it DOESN'T have to be done at a certain time - just during the day.

It's like walking across America.

If I had to stop and get a rock out of my shoe - or help someone change a tire - I would just need to take care of the unexpected - and then finish the walk for that day.

It wouldn't matter whether I took a "step" at a certain time - just that I took the step.

4.) When I finish a card - I FORGET about it.

I don't waste time thinking about the task ANYMORE - I move on to the next card.

This works especially well for my "work" sessions.

I found it was too easy to want to do just "one more thing" - but that is futile - as there is ALWAYS just "one more thing" you could do in my business.

5.) I DON'T think about "Can I make it for the whole year".

I ONLY think about doing the NEXT CARD - because if I do the next card - like taking a step of approximately 21 inches at a time - the year will take care of itself.

If I thought too much about walking across America - it could discourage me because I would appear to be making SO LITTLE PROGRESS one step at a time.

But - if I just concentrated on ONE STEP AT A TIME - the journey would take care of itself.

6.) I purposely didn't OVER commit with TOO MANY TASKS - I trimmed them down to WHAT WOULD BE NON-NEGOTIABLE for sitting in my living room this coming Christmas - and FEELING the discipline of actually having done something for ONE FULL YEAR - and not feeling like I have so many years of my life in the past - and then saying - "NEXT YEAR".

I WON'T have to do that!!!

Just thought I'd take a moment to share.

A PDF of the simple system I use is at:

http://johnpalma.com/card-system-1.pdf

John Palma


Dien Rice April 8, 2015 11:38 PM

Re: Getting business stuff done - the Power of Routines...!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by palmanator (Post 34838)
Speaking of routines, I actually started a new "routine journey" on January 1 of this year (2015) - from an idea that started to "form" back in December of last year (2014).

Hi John,

I love your index card system!

You're right, much success comes from doing little things, on a regular basis... Over time, it can add up to a lot!

By the way, around Feb. 1, I started a different program... It's called writing "10 ideas a day"...

I got it from James Altucher...

How to Have GREAT Ideas
http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2012/04...e-great-ideas/

The Ultimate Guide for Becoming an Idea Machine
http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2014/05...-idea-machine/

He claims, if you do this for 6 months each day, without fail... Your life will change within those 6 months!

Well... I'm just over 2 months in... and I do think my life has changed in multiple ways...

Part of the benefit, I think, is that if you come up with 10 ideas a day, and keep working your "idea muscle" (as Altucher puts it), when you do need ideas, you'll have your "idea muscle" all ready to go...!

I also became fascinated by Altucher's notion of using "ideas" as "currency"... The way this works is by giving your ideas away!

If you come up with ideas to help a business, and give them away, and the recipient finds them helpful... The benefit could return to you in some fashion.

While this was before I was doing the "10 ideas a day" thing, I have found helping others for free, often leads to opportunities! In the past, I've helped a restaurant owner with his marketing - I created a website for him, and also wrote some press releases which ran in various newspapers and brought in customers to his restaurant. I did it all for free. By doing this - I got to know some other people through that restaurant owner... I've learned a lot of new business knowhow from two people in particular I got to know through him, and a business opportunity has come about through one of those people... All by helping someone for free.

I think I may have gone off on a tangent... But, I love your index cards idea! I'll have to do something similar... :)

Best wishes,

Dien

Dien Rice April 8, 2015 11:46 PM

Re: Good stuff John, and something additional.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GordonJ (Post 34840)
Love maps, got started with Navy recruiter, he had me cross off all the places I didn't want to go. Then circle the ones I wanted.

Then we ranked them.

He helped me with a plan (I call it the GRAPE Plan)...

Goal
Reason
Action 0r Activity-
Plan
Energy

Four years and two days later, everything was crossed off my map, got everything I PLANNED for, at a time most guys had no idea you could even do that.

Hi Gordon,

That sounds like a great approach!

Without a "plan" or a "map"... where will you end up?

Who knows! You could end up anywhere!

But... with a plan... you're more likely to end up at a destination you want to be at...

As you know, one thing Harvey Brody teaches is planning... He once told me, he doesn't do things "by the seat of his pants"...

Sure, some people do it that way. It may seem more exciting. But if you want to make the big bucks at the end... Well, the "seat of the pants" method is less likely to get you there...

Thanks for sharing,

Dien

perryny April 9, 2015 02:07 AM

Re: Getting business stuff done - the Power of Routines...!
 
Hey Palmanator,

I've been using a similar index card system for several years. I think you're completely spot on with why this system works.

You summed up the foundation very nicely right here:
"I just "get through the cards" - one step (card) at a time - and at the end of the day - if I executed the task on each card - it doesn't matter if I did it at 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock - hope that makes sense."
This makes absolute perfect sense.

If you have a project you want to complete, you need to spend time on it. Probably daily, or just about.

If you can simply commit to pulling out a project card and doing one small block of time on whatever is listed on one of your cards, you're making progress.

Ignore your cards for a period, and you're letting your project slip away from you.

Below is a link to an excerpt of a report I wrote recently, which includes my "Project Cards" system. I think you'll find it interesting and hopefully helpful.

http://www.outsizedresponse.com/SOWPub/ProjectCards.pdf

Thanks much,
-Rob Perry

GordonJ April 9, 2015 03:12 AM

More good stuff.
 
Where your head goes, your body follows.

GJA


Quote:

Originally Posted by perryny (Post 34846)
Hey Palmanator,

I've been using a similar index card system for several years. I think you're completely spot on with why this system works.

You summed up the foundation very nicely right here:
"I just "get through the cards" - one step (card) at a time - and at the end of the day - if I executed the task on each card - it doesn't matter if I did it at 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock - hope that makes sense."
This makes absolute perfect sense.

If you have a project you want to complete, you need to spend time on it. Probably daily, or just about.

If you can simply commit to pulling out a project card and doing one small block of time on whatever is listed on one of your cards, you're making progress.

Ignore your cards for a period, and you're letting your project slip away from you.

Below is a link to an excerpt of a report I wrote recently, which includes my "Project Cards" system. I think you'll find it interesting and hopefully helpful.

http://www.outsizedresponse.com/SOWPub/ProjectCards.pdf

Thanks much,
-Rob Perry


rebornatoz April 9, 2015 11:21 AM

Re: Getting business stuff done - the Power of Routines...!
 
I just want to thank everyone for sharing such a simple yet powerful Routines

Powerful Quote by John Palma "person A would have eaten 365 candy bars - and person B would have eaten 365 apples after 1 year ! "

Takes small DAILY steps (actions)
Stays focused
Has energy

I guess that's what I like about this forum - not just business advice but constant self-improvement from you guys (moderators) - spending time on business, spending family time with my wife and kids, etc.

Thanks much,
Darren.

Rob Yaggie April 9, 2015 12:52 PM

Re: Getting business stuff done - the Power of Routines...!
 
Great post John...

You said:

"I then made cards for EACH DAY of 2015 - and I have now been "working the system" for 98 days (since Jan 1, 2015)."


I certainly can't plan out that far in advance except for the routine things like drinking water and exercising, etc. Maybe that is what you meant anyway. What I need to start doing at a minimum is planning for a month at a time and one of the cards during that month should be doing my planning for the next month. It really is amazing how much small steps add up over time!

Rob Yaggie

GordonJ April 9, 2015 02:05 PM

Making money is great, but it is only a part of life.
 
Thanks Darren,

Over the last 15 years Dien and I both have had health concerns, me with 2 heart attacks and a myriad of other things, and Dien with diabetes and respiratory problems, so we know the importance HEALTH plays in running a business.

When my kids were younger, no amount of money could keep me away from a play or activity my kids were in, I even dragged Dien to one of my kid's plays; Peter Pan (she was Tinkerbell).

Today, we both examine opportunity with a keen eye on ABSENTEE or limited involvement, let the younger guys make those cold calls, been there and done that.

Re: routines. Improperly structured, they could become ruts, which are the beginnings of a grave,

set up routines you can do, look for ways to improve your time spent on mundane activity.

I don't use cards, they would quickly get scattered across the room, but I do use white boards, have 5 on the wall and three by my side, and they keep me focused on the task at hand.

I've always been a "when it is time to work, WORK!" and when it is play time, leave work out of it.

But quality work and play time both depend on good health and energy, which has become more of our focus in recent years.

Thanks, we are more than just all about a buck here.

Gordon



Quote:

Originally Posted by rebornatoz (Post 34850)
I just want to thank everyone for sharing such a simple yet powerful Routines

Powerful Quote by John Palma "person A would have eaten 365 candy bars - and person B would have eaten 365 apples after 1 year ! "

Takes small DAILY steps (actions)
Stays focused
Has energy

I guess that's what I like about this forum - not just business advice but constant self-improvement from you guys (moderators) - spending time on business, spending family time with my wife and kids, etc.

Thanks much,
Darren.



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