Ditch Your To-Do List – Enlist a Purposeful Action Plan!
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Sitting at my desk with my planner in front of me, my eyes crossed and stomach tightened. My to-do list for the day stretched out in front of me like a haunted hallway in a horror movie. Maybe you know the feeling.
As far as my handwriting stretched, I saw a list of uninspiring tasks I had no desire of completing. Despite being a business owner with a large team and well-paying clients, somehow my business had morphed into a factory building other people’s dreams rather than my own.
I put my head and my hands and felt a tear roll down my cheek. How the heck had I left a job where I only spent 40 hours a week building somebody else’s wealth and wound up in an 80 hour a week J-O-B doing the same?
Wasn’t being an entrepreneur supposed to be fun? Wasn’t I supposed to be fulfilling my Purpose?
Alright, I know I’m sounding completely selfish here, however, maybe you’ve felt the same. No matter how much we love our clients, there IS a line that can be crossed. It comes at that time when you stop working on your own dreams and Purpose because you’re more concerned about the next dollar, referral and client.
And it sucks.
But what if it didn’t have to?
What if we could operate our business from a place of passion and Purpose rather than only serving the agendas of others?
I have news for you…
Unfortunately, it took me a good four years in business to begin to realize this, and another two+ years for it to totally sink in to my thick head.
Filling my to-do list with mundane tasks is not the name of my entrepreneurial game. Prioritizing my Purpose and then supplementing income with other activities is.
For two years you’ve been sitting on a fabulous business idea which you’ve been working on here and there, when time allowed. “When time allowed” was between client calls and priorities, as well as between all your other personal and professional commitments.
What I’m saying is, “When time allowed” was essentially one minute a month, if that.
But then, one day, your magical entrepreneurial fairy Godmother gave you a swift spark in the butt with her magic wand. For 8-10 hours, all you did was focus on that ONE fantastically awesome idea and… whoa…
At the end of the day you actually had a completed product that spoke to YOUR soul.
Holy moly. That feeling was delicious. You wanted more of it. But before you got more, you decided to put that product out to market.
Putting together the landing page and product, a little voice in the back of your head said, “You just spent 10 hours working on this. It better be worth it.” Somehow, you knew to say, “Shush, you!”
You clicked publish, shared a couple quick social media posts and shot of an email and… WHOA. Within two minutes a couple sales came in.
The “cost” of your time, you know, that time you could’ve been spending on client work, was immediately covered.
Could it really be that easy?
So you decide to give it another go. There’s another product, not much different from the first, that you could have done in another 10 hours, so you decide, What the heck! I’m going for it!
And the same thing happened.
Sales came in for products you only had to 1) put out once and 2) lit you up.
You suddenly realized you could make money from your Purpose, not by building the empires of others.
If you, the reader, haven’t experienced this yet, do you want to? Because yes, it really IS as easy as prioritizing your time for your Purpose.
I want you to consider Purpose Based Planning instead of whatever frantic, client-based planning you’ve used in the past.
At the beginning of every month, week and every day, evaluate your schedule and prioritize time to spend on your Purpose project. Block this time in to your calendar, and only when this is complete, work around your time with your clients’ needs and expectations.
Guess what… You will still get done what you need to get done for your clients.
Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” If you allow the client tasks all of your 40 hour week, they will take all of that 40-hour week. However, if you only allow them 20 hours, you will focus harder and get them completed in the time you allow!
Your #1 priority needs to be the activity which prioritizes your Purpose.
Whether you’re building a course or writing a book, developing a week’s worth of marketing content or re-writing the content for your website, this is the work which will allow you to make a greater impact in your community through your Purpose.
Don’t just write down any old task, however. This action (A) needs to have a reason (R) for why it’s your #1 focus RIGHT NOW. After you have the reason, determine what resources (R) you need to complete said action. How much time do you need? Do you need to purchase any tools or enlist the support of others? Next, you need to know the order ( O ) of the tasks necessary to complete the action. Put these tasks in your schedule, and make this time non-negotiable. Last, write down the win (W) you’ll have once the action is completed.
How will you feel? What will completing this action allow you to do for others? What will it allow you to do for yourself? And how does this action contribute to the big picture?
Note: without a solid reason and win, you may as well be working on client activities.
Unless you are completely vested in the importance of the action, you will not commit fully to it. And, if you’re not going to commit, the time you’ve blocked out on your calendar will not be non-negotiable. It will be wishy-washy, and you will allow clients to claim the time for themselves (albeit unknowingly!)
Do you want to continue staring at the Task List of Despair? Or do you want to pursue your Purpose and fully engage with the A.R.R.O.W. action plan?
It’s time to set a new target. YOUR target. God didn’t put you here to fulfill the Purpose of others, but to fulfill your own. Allow your bowstring to enjoy a moment of slack, establish your A.R.R.O.W. action plan, and fire!