How do you stay organized in your life?
We're all busy and trying to figure out how to manage the different areas of our lives. Without a system to properly organize our lives, things can get stressful. I know I've definitely been there before – running multiple businesses, competing in a fitness competition, growing a relationship, going out with friends and socializing, etc…
I was recently asked this question by a follower of PLM and created a video blog from it. Check it out below:
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You Need A System For Your Life
In order to effectively manage and organize your life, you need a system. I personally follow a system that Tony Robbins designed and teaches in his Time Of Your Life program, but essentially it's about developing the habit of planning and organizing your life. In my life plan video, I talk about how I categorize life into different areas – health/fitness, emotions, relationships, finance, career/business, etc… I believe that each area of life requires consistent focus each week and you must grow each area to be completely fulfilled. Growing and focusing on each area of your life isn't an easy task, unless you have a system for it.
1. I take out a journal and I begin to write down everything that I want to get done this week. I make a long list, and also include actions for the goals I have for each area of my life.
So for example, the list could look like:
- Reply to all emails.
- Buy groceries.
- Record video blog.
- Publish blog post.
- Coach John.
- Complete morning ritual 7x this week.
- Workout 5x this week.
- Go to church on Sunday.
- Plan out each day 5x this week.
- Read 10 pages of self-help book 5x this week.
- Update finances.
- Call mom.
- Go out for dinner with Jessica.
As you can see from this list, I have a variety of tasks I need to get done for the upcoming week. They're all in different categories of life, but at least now I have a clear idea of what I want to get done.
2. Categorize each action item under the goals that I have for the month.
I always have a list of goals for each month, for each area of my life. I again take out my journal and begin to categorize each action item for each goal. So for example, if I have the goal of making $10,000 a month in my business, then I'd put the action items “reply to all emails”, “record video blog”, “coach John”, and anything else related to business under that goal.
If I have the goal of losing 5 pounds this month, then I'll put all health/fitness related actions under that goal, such as “workout 5x this week” and “buy groceries.” The same goes for every other action item on this list and for every other goal that I have.
3. Schedule My Goals And Tasks
Next I begin to schedule each task during specific time blocks during the week. When am I going to do my morning ritual everyday? I write out in my calendar what time that I'll be doing it, let's say 8AM to 8:30AM. When am I going to workout each day? I schedule it in for 9AM to 10AM. When am I going to go out for dinner with Jessica? I schedule that for Friday at 7:00PM.
I make sure that EVERY GOAL and EVERY ACTION ITEM is scheduled and so each day I have a plan and know EXACTLY what I am doing. You need to schedule the time you're going to be working on your business, attend school classes, do your homework, hangout with your friends, etc… I recommend investing in a good quality planner. I use Tony Robbins RPM Planner and sometimes just use a paperback journal.
By scheduling things in your life, it takes the stress and thinking out of it. You wake up each day with a plan. You are being PROACTIVE each week and designing your life, instead of reacting to things as they come up. Planning is a vital part of success. Things are going to come up to distract you from your plan, but you must not deviate. If your friends invite you out tonight but you've scheduled tonight for working on your business, you must learn to say NO.
Learning To Say No!
Learning to say “no” is an important strategy that has helped me stay organized. Distractions are inevitable. The more successful you become, the more people want your time and want to hangout with you. I can't tell you how many people e-mail me each day and message me on Facebook and want my time. It wasn't like this years ago, but has been now that I am more public and transparent with my blog. The more popular you become, the more people want to spend time with you!
The challenge is, if you just talk to everyone and give your time away, then you're left with no time for yourself and the things that are important in your life. It can be a big drain and consume a lot of energy. That's where the power of NO comes in. I am very protective of my time and very selective about the people I spend time with. I make sure I respond to all e-mails on my blog, but when people ask more from me, I usually have to decline. I have people wanting to pitch me weekly on ideas or a MLM business, but I have to decline. I have people asking me to go for coffee or want to pick my brain on things, and I just tell them to e-mail me as I don't have time right now to meet up.
I make sure I FOCUS MY TIME on the things that are important to me and things that are aligned with my goals. I make sure I schedule the time to hangout with certain friends, or family, or my girlfriend, or to focus my time on my businesses. There's times when I am focused on a big project and I'll turn off my phone and not reply to anyone for a full week so that I can give 100% of my focus towards the project. I'll have people invite me out to parties or fun activities, but sometimes I have to say NO because I know that what I have planned for my life is more important.
Simplify Your Life
Being able to simplify your life is important. I used to focus on too much at once and would often easily become overwhelmed. It became more difficult to stay organized and I'd be very stressed. I decided I needed to cut off some activities in my life so that I could focus more effectively on a fewer number of things that were more important.
For example, when I first started coaching people on PLM I would take on anyone that was interested in coaching. The problem was that eventually it ended up consuming a lot of my time and was taking away the focus of my online businesses, which were important to me as they were creating passive income and freedom for my life. I also had so many clients that I often couldn't remember things with some of them and important things we'd talk about on each of our sessions. That's when I decided I needed to start saying NO to people and only taking on a limited number of people at a time. I decided on a limit and focused on more quality coaching, rather than quantity. It's been an important decision that has really helped me stay more organized.
I've also simplified my life by cutting out certain people that were wasting my time and activities that were too time consuming. I learned how to AUTOMATE my life and use OUTSOURCING, which I'll discuss below.
Automation And Outsourcing
I first learned about automation and outsourcing through Tim Ferriss' book, The 4 Hour Work Week. I was then introduced to outsourcing and virtual assistants. I've learned that if there's something in my life that I could hire another person to do, it's worth doing it. If there's something in my life that only I can do and I'm good at it, then that's something that I need to focus on doing consistently. I eliminate all the mundane, simple tasks that can easily be outsourced and focus on the high leverage tasks that are important.
For example, when I first started an online business I did everything myself. I did the web design, copywriting, graphics, content creation, search engine optimization, customer support, etc… It was very time consuming and I'd end up spending 12+ hours a day doing this stuff. It was also a waste of my time, as I wasn't strong in any of these areas and I'd have to learn how to do this stuff, whereas I could have easily hired someone inexpensively to do this stuff who's already an expert at it.
Many people object to outsourcing or hiring others to perform certain tasks that they say they can do themselves. While you may be able to do the task yourself, you need to ask yourself if it's the right focus of your time and energy. For example, I could write an article on my website myself which might take me an hour to do, or I could hire someone to write an article of near-equal quality for $5-$10. If I could hire someone to do something for $5-$10, then why would I do it myself? In fact, if I do that task myself then I'm basically saying that my time is worth $5-$10/hour!
The reality is that outsourcing is VERY INEXPENSIVE. In fact, you'd be blown away by what you could get done for peanuts. When I learned this, I hired a virtual assistant from the Philippines on Odesk.com that has now worked with me for over 2 years. I pay her $2.47/hour and she handles the customer support for 6 websites that I run on Clickbank. She also does many marketing tasks and research for me whenever I need it. She's easy to communicate with, does a quality job, and is very reliable. She's helped me grow my businesses and earn a lot of money, without me having to do much.
Today, I hire people to run my businesses and do many tasks including:
- Web design
- Graphic work
- Customer support
- Article writing
- E-book writing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Formatting, editing and proofreading
- Video submissions
- Press releases
- Book keeping
- House cleaning
If you want to learn more about outsourcing and automating your life, here's some resources that I recommend:
Fiverr – Get tasks done for only $5.
Odesk – This is where I outsource specific tasks or work for my my blog or websites. You can get almost anything done very inexpensively and hire Virtual Assistants for under $3/hour.
The 4 Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss' book on automation and outsourcing.
I encourage you to take a look at some of these resources and think of ways that you can automate different areas of your own life – it'll make a huge difference in how productive and organized you are.