This Sounds Nuts! But I Think You’ll Like It

Date February 29, 2008

Elephant Burgers

For me, scheduling my time is like budgeting my money. If I make a plan for it, I direct it and stay in charge. If I don’t have a plan, I spend some here and spend some there and turn around at the end of the day and wonder where it all went.

When you budget your money, you tell your money what you want it to do. When you budget your time, you tell your time… Wait! Not really. You don’t tell your time what you want it to do. You tell yourself what you want you to do with the time you have.

It’s as if you are your own most reliable project manager. In the creative and challenging business that is your life, you are your own best “go to” expert for getting things done.

Here’s the “nuts” part. I came up with this idea for a daily project meeting—with yourself. This is a creative way to use imagery to bring alive a mundane task like scheduling (budgeting your effort).

My idea was pretty basic at first. At the beginning of each day, meet with yourself to look at your goals and the individual steps needed to accomplish them and decide which ones you will do that day. At the end of the day, meet with yourself and review your progress, see if you have to carry some goals over to the next day, and leave yourself notes for the next morning’s meeting.

Take charge of the quality of your meetings. If you can visualize your creative thinking self as the CEO (Chief Everything Officer) in one chair and your organized and task-oriented self as Project Manager in another chair, you might really enjoy this. As CEO, give your Project-Manager-self kudos for the accomplishments, offer ideas for overcoming obstacles that got in the way, and provide encouragement to take on bigger challenges. As Project Manager give your CEO-self feedback on what things in the schedule are distracting and disruptive and suggest removing or limiting them.

Then the idea started growing. I read Michael Masterson’s Early To Rise newsletter from February 25. He wrote an article about scheduling daily tasks that has some powerful ideas. You can read the article here. The link takes you to the newsletter archives. Scroll down to find “Using Daily Task Lists To Accomplish Your Goals.”

I expanded my model to include weekly and monthly meetings to review progress on goals, and an annual meeting to review the goals, adjust them, and set new ones. Following the model looks something like this.

Each year have an annual meeting where you review the past year’s goals and set new goals for the coming year. Break the year’s goals into monthly goals. Review your long-tem plan, too, maybe including three-year, five-year, and ten-year goals, plus ideas that don’t have a time frame yet.

If you really want to give this meeting emphasis and make it special, have a retreat. If you can only afford an overnight stay at a local inn or luxury hotel, do it there. If you can afford a little more travel and a little more time, make it happen. It’s not too late to have an annual review. Pick a night or weekend when you can free up your time, go some place special if you can swing it, or plan a peaceful, uninterrupted time at home. Treat yourself well (nice food, favorite music, a massage beforehand) so you can relax and focus on the meeting. Remember—you are your business’ most valuable employee

At the end of each month, have an end-of-day meeting to review the past month’s goals and the goals you have set for the coming month. Make adjustments where you need to. Break the next month’s goals into weekly goals.

At the end of each week, have an end-of-day meeting to review the week’s goals and break the coming week’s goals into daily goals.

At the beginning of each day, meet with yourself to look at the weekly goals and see which ones you intend to accomplish that day. At the end of the day, meet with yourself again and review your progress. See if you have to carry some goals over to the next day, and leave yourself notes for the next morning’s meeting. Congratulate yourself and set targets for more accomplishment.

I’m just beginning to employ this idea, but I see enormous potential. One of the biggest challenges we self-bossers face is staying motivated to work on things that don’t immediately provide an income. Those who master the challenge have learned to treat themselves the way they would treat valued team members they rely on. This model will help us all do that.

2 Responses to “This Sounds Nuts! But I Think You’ll Like It”

  1. Why Don’t I Do Things On My To-Do List? | Chasing Wisdom said:

    […] in February I posted an Elephant Burgers article titled This Sounds Nuts! But I Think You’ll Like It. I gave a brief overview of a system for defining a long-term vision, setting annual goals, then […]

  2. Mid-Year Review For The Daily Meeting System : Twisting Road Travel Log said:

    […] introduced the idea of the Daily Meeting System in an article called “This Sounds Nuts! But I Think You’ll Like It” in the Chasing Wisdom Blog-Zine. I’ve been using the system since then to move towards my goals. […]