This is part two of a series, which outlines the systems, principles, strategies, and tools I’ve used over the past 10 years to fine-tune my routines to increase results and productivity.
In part one, I discussed the Entrepreneurial Time System (via The Strategic Coach). Now that you have a framework to work with, you can start creating and fine-tuning your routines. However, before you can fix routines and habits you need a focal point – something to work towards. In part two, I outline some principles and tools I use to decide what to focus on.
I’ve been setting goals since I was 16 years old. However, up until recently, my goals were mostly financial or based on something I was driven to do. I also ended up taking on too many goals at once, which spread out my energy and focus and motivation.
A few years ago, I found a solution. I started using the One Goal System after reading The Power Of Less (affiliate) by Leo Babauta. Simply put, you focus on one big goal (at a time). My deadline to achieving my one big goal is usually six months. Any longer, I lose focus and enthusiasm. Any shorter, it’s not worth my efforts. Incidentally, I do my goal setting on Buffer Days.
Bucket Thinking (focus areas)
With one goal in mind, you then create “buckets” or “focus areas” as filters for determining what projects and/or tasks to focus on. Any additional work that comes in is pushed through these filters.
In my case, my buckets or focus areas are:
- Online Marketing (Fruition Interactive)
- Online Publishing (blogging, writing, etc.)
- New Media Education (Social Media Club Niagara)
- Buffer (planning, clean-ups, new skills)
Incidentally, the first three “buckets” are areas I work on during Focus Days with the exception of the “Buffer bucket” (always have a bucket for the stuff that has to get done, but isn’t directly related to producing results).
Using these buckets, you now have a way to separate what project and/or tasks to work on. As a rule, I never have more than three projects going at one time. I define “project” as anything that takes a day or more to complete. If you can do it in a few hours, you can add it to your list, but a project is typically something that takes several tasks to complete.
I use mind-maps to keep track of project lists. I love mind-maps, because I can break out my thoughts by priority in a non-linear way. I use MindNode on my Mac, but there are tons of such apps, so pick one you like.
Staying on Target
To ensure you stick with a routine, first establish your one big goal – something you’re passionate about. From there, use a tool like mind-mapping to pick your top 3 projects and weekly priorities.
Stay tuned for part three.
About the Author:
Mitch Fanning is VP of Strategy & Business Development for Fruition Interactive, an authorized member of Social Media Club, and founding member of Social Media Club Niagara. He’s spent 10 plus years working with businesses of all sizes, from global brands to some of Canada’s fastest growing Internet companies ranked in the PROFIT 100. Follow Mitch on his adventures in new media here at [mitchellfanning.com].
Photo credit: flattop341