I'm in Quito, Ecuador right now and I shot a video in my room to share my daily planning process. I go into exactly how to plan your day effectively using this 3-step system I learned from Tony Robbins and other time management experts. This is EXACTLY what I do every single morning to plan my day, and it only takes 5 or 10 minutes.
Watch the video below:
As mentioned in the video, there's 3 important steps to effectively planning your day. This is based on Tony Robbins RPM system, or also known as OPA. RPM stands for: Result, Purpose, Massive Action. Whereas OPA stands for: Outcome, Purpose, Action. For the sake of this blog post, I'll use the OPA acronym. I also go deeply into how to use these steps to plan your entire life in the My Life Plan video blog, that's worth checking out.
Know Your Outcome
The first most important step is knowing what your outcome is. I always have a goal or outcome that I'm the pursuit of achieving. As soon as I reach a goal, I immediately set another one. It's extremely important to always have something you're moving towards – a vision of how your life can be greater.
As mentioned in the My Life Plan video blog, I have specific outcomes and goals for each area of my life: health, fitness, emotional, relationships, financial, business, family, friends, and spiritual. While some days I'm focused on certain outcomes more than others, I always make sure that I'm taking action towards every single one weekly to continue making progress and living a balanced life.
Each morning, the first question I ask myself is, “What is my outcome for today?”
Just as an example, let's say that today I'm focused on making progress towards my outcomes in my business, health/fitness and family. I'd take out my notebook and write at the top of the page my first outcome. Using the example from the video, let's say my outcome is to be making $8400/month passive income by December 1st, 2012. I will make sure I language it in a way that is specific and compelling:
“I will easily make $8400 a month passive income and enjoy the process by December 1st, 2012.”
The keywords EASILY and ENJOY THE PROCESS really adds a lot to it I find. My outcome is already very specific, measurable, and has a time line, which is all very important. It's also phrased in saying that “I WILL” achieve it, as if I have no doubt whatsoever that this goal will happen. I add language like that to all of my goals, just to spice it up.
I also find by writing down my goals everyday, it helps me focus more towards what I want and really inspires me. Whatever you focus on, you move towards.
Why Your Purpose
The second most important part of this process is knowing your purpose, or reasons why. Your reasons are the fuel that will get you to take action and find a way to reach your goals. If you don't have any compelling reasons or a strong enough purpose, then you will just sit around and nothing will happen. Reasons come first, answers come second.
If you have a strong enough WHY, the HOW will take care of itself.
I can attest to the power of this, as there's been many things in my life that I didn't know HOW I was going to achieve. I didn't know how I was going to achieve my goal of competing in a fitness competition, or how I was going to travel to South America for 2 months, or how to make passive income online. But I was committed. I had strong enough reasons and it was a MUST for me to achieve – I wanted it bad enough. And as a result, I found a way to reach all of those goals that I've set for myself thus far.
The more reasons you can have, the better. I usually have a long list whenever I set my long-term goals. I share many examples of my reasons for each area of my life in the My Life Plan video, that you should watch to go along with this blog post. But for my daily planning process, I like to come up with and use 3 compelling reasons for each of my outcomes. The reason I just pick 3 is to make sure that it's quick and at the same time to remind myself why it's important for me to achieve this goal.
Some the reasons for achieving this financial goal could be:
- To be financially free.
- To work because I CHOOSE to, not because I HAVE to.
- To be able to travel the world.
- To be able to give and contribute to others.
- To be able to feel more confident and in control of my life.
- To never have to worry about money again.
- To be able to hire a coach or mentor, and invest in myself.
- To have more fun and balance in my life.
- To provide more choices and options for my family.
- To be able to buy nice new clothes.
- To be able to buy my own apartment.
You get the idea. I could go on and on. And there is no “right or wrong” answer here, it's whatever MOTIVATES you. For me years ago, I used to have the reasons to prove people wrong or to make others jealous – while might not be the most positive reasons, they MOTIVATED me and that's what mattered.
Know Your Action Plan
The final step to the OPA method is having your action plan. This is where your “to do list” part comes in. While having a “to do list” is great, it doesn't fulfill you as you just get caught up DOING things without knowing what it's for and what you're moving towards. Many people get caught up being busy, instead of designing their life and going after what they truly want. That's why the first two steps are extremely important.
At this point, I brainstorm and capture all of the actions that I want to do for that day that fit under the category of this financial outcome. So for example, my action list might look like:
- Reply to emails
- Call John
- Work on sales letter
- Record video blog
- Create blog post for video blog
- Talk to virtual assistant about customer support task
- Get virtual assistant to install scripts on website
- Update finances
- Read financial book
You get the idea… my list can be very, very long at times. And there's nothing wrong with that. You essentially want to get out everything from inside your head onto paper. Once you have our list, the next step is to prioritize your list. You need to look at it and ask yourself, “What are the highest leverage actions?” and “Out of this list, which are going to bring me closer towards reaching my goal?”
This is based on the 80/20 principle, which states that 80% of your results will come from only 20% of your actions. So while reading a financial book or replying to emails might be great, they most likely aren't the ones that are going to make your goal a reality. Yes, they're still important, but not as important as the other ones – prioritize. I then put numbers next to each item, in order of priority.
After that, I ask myself, “Which are the absolute MUST tasks to get done today?” I commit to 3 from my list and put a star (*) next to it. After that, I immediately begin taking action towards those actions. I don't check e-mail or do anything else until I've finished those tasks. Once I have, then I'm free to continue on with the other tasks, and now I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that I'm making progress towards my outcome.
Another important piece that I'll mention as well is to schedule your actions or outcomes. For example, if I have outcomes towards my business, fitness, and family – I make sure I block off time for when I can focus towards those outcomes. For example, I might schedule an hour or two at some point in the day to go to the gym and workout. I will schedule my business outcome during the daytime. And then for family, I will schedule time to focus on that in the evening.
Make sense? If you don't schedule it, then life gets busy and your time will be filled up by other tasks. It's important to know exactly when you're going to focus on something and for how long. This way you'll be as efficient as possible, and keep that balance in your life.