Plan for the future

I’ve spoken about this before.

If you make a five year plan, you will fail. So much changes in five years, the plan is meaningless, almost immediately.

But if you only make a plan for tomorrow, you’re directionless. Whatever feels most urgent at the time will get done, if you have something you really want to achieve, it will get lost in the day to day.

So instead, you should plan for all.

  • Where do you want to be in five years time? What do you need to do to get there?
  • So where should you be in three years time if you want to achieve that five year goal?
  • So where should you be in one years time if you want to achieve that three year goal?
  • So where should you be in six months time if you want to achieve that one year goal?
  • So where should you be in three months time if you want to achieve that six month goal?
  • So where should you be in one months time if you want to achieve that three month goal?
  • So where should you be in one weeks time if you want to achieve that one month goal?
  • So where should you be tomorrow if you want to achieve that one week goal?
  • So what should you do next if you want to achieve tomorrow’s goal?

Take action: What should you do next? To achieve tomorrow’s, this week’s, this month’s (and so on) goal.

Priority

APOLOGIES: Looks like we had a double posting last night.  I had put the wrong publish time in originally, and obviously must have reposted at the correct time instead of amending the original.  Sorry to bug you twice in a day.  

 

I’ve been reading this book called “The One Thing” by Gary Keller, and although on the surface, it’s really really simple, the ideas behind it are quite profound.

One of the things he says is that the word “priority” comes from the latin for first. And, until the mid-twentieth century, it did not have a plural. In other words, you had one, and only one, priority.

He then talks about “timeblocking” – something which I’ve used before, but never in this manner. Previously I would fill my diary with time, scheduled for “planning this” and “doing that”. Some of them would be recurring.

But, inevitably, life would get in the way, I would delete the appointment from my diary and replace it with something else.

Blocking out the time made no difference.

Now I’ve changed how I do it.

Every morning has four hours, just labelled “priority”.

We’ll see why this makes a difference tomorrow.

Take action: Find four hours a day and mark them out for your priority.

A thousand no’s for every yes

It’s no secret that I love Steve Jobs. He kind of changed my life, back when I was a kid.

Apparently, he used to say that he was more proud of the products Apple said no to than the ones that they took to market.

His successor, Tim Cook, often says Apple has a thousand no’s for every yes.

This is a lesson I’m learning at the moment.

If you want to be amazing, you need to focus. And that means turning things away. Saying no.

It’s not easy, but it has to be done.

Take action: Make a list of three things you recently agreed to that you should have said no to. Why should you have said no? Why did you say yes?

Why?

What do you mean?

How will you do that?

What will it look like when you’re done?

What will it feel like when you’re done?

Is that really what you want, or is that what you’re supposed to want?

It sounds like you’re not too sure, tell me a bit more about it.

So how are you going to get there?

What’s stopping you?

What’s your first step?

Take action: Drop a few of these into conversation next time you’re talking to a stranger. It’s amazing what you can find out.

Making a difference

A lot of people say “I don’t really like my job, I feel like I should be making a difference”

A huge percentage of those people then do absolutely nothing about it.

Why not?

Probably because they don’t know what they mean when they say “making a difference”

For me, I’ve figured it out. It’s taken me forty-something years, but it’s become a driver for what I do. I know how I can make a difference and it now sits at the heart of how I plan my days. As you might have guessed from this week’s letters, it involves talking to people.

Take action: Do you want to make a difference? What does that actually mean to you? If you don’t know, I might be able to help you figure it out.

Talking to strangers on the street

The other day, we went to the pub, then went to the shop to get some supplies for the evening (booze1 and unhealthy snacks). Sat outside was a homeless guy. I had some change in my pocket so I gave him some and said “there you go”. He said “thank you, I just need to get some money for a bed tonight and you’re the first person today who hasn’t just given me abuse”. It was gone 7pm.

I sat down with him and we had a chat. A bit about how the various hostels worked (if you don’t get in on a Friday, you’re basically locked out till Monday), about the people he was talking to to try and get some help, about how he sometimes feels like he doesn’t exist as people look away.

I’m not saying this to be preachy or anything. It could be that he was totally taking me for a ride. But it’s more likely that he wasn’t lying about being ignored all day (face it, that’s not improbable), and for a couple of minutes I might just have made him feel a tiny bit better. For the cost of a few coins and some time.

Take action: Talk to strangers, wherever they are.

  1. Appletise for me

Talking to strangers in pubs

The other day, my daughter and her friend wanted to go to see a band in Manchester. I was then on taxi duty for the evening.

We parked up, I dropped them off and I went to wander around the city centre for four hours. I went to Starbucks, had a coffee and did a bit of work. I went to eat something (mainly out of boredom). And then I wandered into a random pub.

As I was buying a drink, the guy stood next to me turned, said “Hi, I’m Nick” and shook my hand. I was somewhat surprised, even though I shouldn’t be. It’s a pub. You’re supposed to do that.

Anyway, we spent most of the next few hours chatting about stuff. It turns out he could potentially be a very good contact for me (he also works in technology). But more importantly I got to learn a bit about his life, he got to find out a bit about mine1 and it turned a dull, rainy evening, into something quite enjoyable.

Take action: Find a pub, buy a drink, say hello to someone who’s standing on their own.

  1. For example, he had never heard of anyone that does what I do, even though to me, it’s as clear as day

Talking to strangers

I think I opened my Twitter account in 2007.

I don’t really like it there any more.

The official Twitter app is terrible (I can’t understand what I’m seeing as everything is out of order and there’s stuff from people I don’t follow and I just don’t get it)1

But more importantly, because I’ve been there for so long, I’ve watched as it changed.

Today, the best way to describe it is “if you ran a pub and the way you made the most money is when your patrons had a fight“.

But I used to describe it as the best place to talk to strangers. And talking to strangers is a very valuable thing to do. You never know who you might meet and what you, or they, could learn.

Take action: Talk to a stranger. If you would like to promote your business I front of a group of very friendly strangers, drop me an email at hello@echodek.co

  1. I use an app called Tweetbot instead, which is lovely.

Talking to strangers

I think I opened my Twitter account in 2007.

I don’t really like it there any more.

The official Twitter app is terrible (I can’t understand what I’m seeing as everything is out of order and there’s stuff from people I don’t follow and I just don’t get it)1But more importantly, because I’ve been there for so long, I’ve watched as it changed.

Today, the best way to describe it is “if you ran a pub and the way you made the most money is when your patrons had a fight“.

But I used to describe it as the best place to talk to strangers. And talking to strangers is a very valuable thing to do. You never know who you might meet and what you, or they, could learn.

Take action: Talk to a stranger today.

  1. I use an app called Tweetbot instead, which is lovely.

Do what’s important

So one of your goals is to concentrate on the stuff that matters and not waste time on the trivia.

The first thing you need to do is figure out what actually is important.

Sometimes, that’s easy. That bit of work for your big client who’s going to pay you five grand needs completing by the end of the week.

Sometimes, that’s hard. That small piece of work on a new product or service – that doesn’t pay any bills at the moment, but is an important foundation for next year’s revenue.

To figure that out, you need to know where you want to be. And stick to it.

The best way to do that is to design a quarterly schedule that references your one, three and five year plans. Give yourself a bit of leeway to roll with the punches, but remind yourself of where you want to be in a few weeks time.

Take action: Build a quarterly plan. Find out how by looking at my New Business Essentials course. .