Daily Planning For Less Frustration, Increased Productivity And Better Sleep!

Do you ever feel overwhelmed about your workday? Maybe don’t feel like you’re getting enough done? Like there is just too much to do. You start every day with the intention of getting a lot done but next thing you know its dinner time and all you’ve done is deal with bullshit.

I used to be the same way.

I would come into work, think about everything that I had to do, and then it wouldn’t get done. The work day would be finished, and I would find that much of what I wanted to get done for the day didn’t get done because I didn’t know how to start.

One day, I decided that I was going to take control and stop letting the day kick my ass.

What I found works best for me, and what may help you overcome the paralyzing effect of too much work, is having a solid plan for each day that I can execute.

Today I’m sharing how I plan my schedule each day to maximize productivity.

Start the Night Before

What works best for me is planning the workday either the night before or at the end of the previous workday.

I like this time of the day because customers aren’t calling me, employees and colleagues aren’t around, and I can sit back with a little bit of peace and clarity to think about what needs to get done the following day.

Forget about doing it in the morning. You’ll have too much on your plate and an avalanche piling up if you don’t have your day planned out before. You know what I’m talking about. You plan to make your plan on the drive into work only to be greeted by too much traffic. You delay it until you get to the office, but as soon as you walk through the door the ‘hey boss’s start flying and you go into firefighting mode before you can even get that plan kicking.

To get an accurate picture of what’s going to happen the following day, you need to put it in black and white. Taking a mental note doesn’t work. No matter how great your memory is, a hectic first hour of the morning will leave your head frazzled. For me, a simple notepad file on my IPhone does the trick. It helps me organize my thoughts, and having list the following day helps me stay on task even when those little things start going wrong.

It’ll even help you sleep better. Ever lay there in bed with thoughts running rampart about those emails you need to send first thing, and jobs you need to check on before your crews rollout? I’ve been there. All those neurons firing in your head isn’t good for your sleep or psyche. Taking those thoughts, and putting them onto the to do list is a relieving feeling. Once you note it all out, you’ll feel the pressure float away and rest well. You’ll also likely be surprised at how short the list is compared to how much it ‘felt’ like you had to often. Just a few tasks can keep your brain pre-occupied beyond belief.

Now, let’s take a look at how I break down my day.

1st Hour

I usually use the first hour or so of the day for general housekeeping tasks. When I come into work, it’s mostly management tasks that need to get done.

Sorting out what crews are going where after a customer unexpectedly cancels.. Making sure the crews know what is expected of them by the end of the day. Issuing a backup gas card because one of the trucks is on E and the gas card is missing. Updating the sales team with what priorities need to be tended to right off the get go and making sure all the tech is working.

If I come in without any guidance, things do slow to a grinding halt and productivity flops.

My Peak Time

When I talk about ‘peak time,’ what I mean is the time of the day in which I accomplish the most work. For me, I’ve found that I’m most productive between 10am-12pm.

For you, it might be different.

It’s important to figure out what your peak work time is because it’s the time in which you should schedule your most important, challenging tasks for the day.

For me, that means big picture type stuff.

I usually spend my peak work time thinking about strategy for sales, marketing, leads, leadership, operational schedule, and how to keep everyone in the building on the same page.

During this time, people should know not to bother you. Although not always possible, I try to avoid the distractions of emails, phone calls, and conversations with employees. To be as productive as possible, I need to be on my own focusing on the task at hand.

Midday

After my peak time, I go back to being available for everyone. While I’m working on the big picture type stuff on my own, it’s inevitable that a few issues arise.

I spend the middle of my day troubleshooting problems, helping out my staff, and figuring out what’s going to need my attention for the next couple of hours.

During this time, my employees know that they can approach me with whatever problems that they’re running into that day, and I do my best to keep the ship running smoothly.

Rest of the Day

The rest of my day is kind of when things start winding down a little bit. I’ve set up my employees for the day, worked on some of the bigger picture ideas for the company, solved any problems that arose, and put employees on new tasks if they already finished their previous jobs.

After all that, I go back to my task list from the day before. Maybe there’s a phone call that I have to make about a payroll issue, an appointment to set with a client, or any other range of smaller tasks that kind of get pushed to the backburner.

Once I’ve sorted through all of that, I think about what went well for the day and what could’ve gone a little bit better. If I’m in the mood at the office, I start putting together my following day.

If I need a little bit of a break, I’ll keep everything that happened in mind, go home, have some food, and then put together my plan for the next day.

Find What Works for You

Putting together a system of what works for me didn’t happen overnight. When I was younger and starting out my career, there were a lot of days where I showed up to work anxious and overwhelmed about everything that I needed to get done.

Without a plan, that anxiety led to me putting off tasks, working on other things, and ending the day feeling like I got nothing done. After a while, I’d had enough.

Even today, I’m still fine-tuning my schedule and figuring out what works best for me, my employees, and my clients.

For you, your plan isn’t going to look exactly like mine. Maybe your most productive hour is at 7:00 am, or you like to get your entire team together during your most productive hour so that you can feed that energy to your team.

Whatever it is, figure out a system and stick to it.

Let me know what you think in the comments section below!

What If Mark Cuban Wasn’t a Venture Capitalist-3.psd

What If Mark Cuban Wasn’t a Venture Capitalist?

We all know who Mark Cuban is, the billionaire investor from Shark Tank known for aggressive deal making.  He’s arguably the most popular venture capitalist on earth.

In a recent post, i discussed why venture capital works for Cuban and the other sharks, and the ability they have to shape an investment that we (little investors) do not.  That got me thinking, what if…. Mark Cuban was never a venture capitalist.  What if, after he cashed out from his dot com windfall of Broadcast.com he just invested into a passive boring portfolio, shut his mouth (something that we know is hard for him to do) and rode his wave into the sunset?  How much would he be worth today?

Lets Take A Look At It

Forbes had his net worth in 2002 at 1,300,000,000. That’s a starting point.

Today (10/21/2017) Forbes has his net worth at 3,300,000,000.  That’s a notable gain, all attributable to venture capital.

Now let’s look for a passive option.  Venture capital is essentially equity in very tiny companies; although not publicly traded they’re the equivalent of micro-cap stocks.  A micro-cap index, would be the best comparison, however it isn’t practically possible as the index doesn’t have the capacity to handle his billions of inflow.  The next best comparison would be a small cap index, which has actually underperformed the micro-cap index.  So we’ll see how Cuban would’ve performed had he just invested in Vanguard’s Small Cap Index fund (Mutual fund symbol: NAESX) way back in 2002.

Of course, a billionaire isn’t going to just stick their money in the bank and go get a job.  They need money to live on…. In other words, they need to spend a part of their portfolio.  Typical financial advice would guide them to spend spend 2-4% of their portfolio annually.  This would let them outpace inflation, maintain or increase their standard of living, and let their kids and grandkids live among the 1%.  For this lets just roll down the middle, and assume an annual spending of 3%.  Spending 3% of his worth in 2002 would’ve been $39 million, today it would be $99,000,000.  Personally, I believe he lives on less money than this (which actually doesn’t help his case as you’ll see here) — maybe he’ll chime in personally and let us know.

The Analysis

Plugging in all the numbers; an initial investment of $1,300,000,000 in a Small Cap Index in 2002, withdrawing 3% annually, would leave him with a current net worth of….

$3,418,293,022

That’s right, slightly higher than his current net worth estimate by Forbes at $3,300,000,000.  At that, all he had to was absolutely nothing.  Just sit back and coast.  He didn’t have to take the reigns of fledgling companies from disappointed founders.  Didn’t have work around the clock to keep the company’s growing, or seek out new deals.  Didn’t have to rely on his connections to make things thrive.

Let that sink in before you invest in these attractive, crowdfunded venture capital deals.  Cuban himself, with his deal making prowess, privliged knowledge, resources, and access to the best deals in Silicon Valley hasn’t even ‘beat the index’.

kathleen eisenhardt rules for better results

Kathleen Eisenhardt: Replacing Structure And Complexity With Simple Rules For Better Results

Kathleen is currently the Co direct of Stanford technology Ventures Program, and wrote a book titled: Simple Rules For How To Survive In A complex World.  Her book focuses on the argument that too much structure and too many rules just don’t get things done efficiently or produce winning solutions.

I was instantly intrigued, as soon as I realized I wasn’t alone in realizing Read more

living by simple rules in a complex world

Living By Simple Rules In A Complex World.

The world we interact with, the one in which we live, is complex beyond our comprehension. To solve the complexity, we rely on complex solutions; things developed by people much smarter than us, or at least more knowledgeable in a certain subject area. Just look at the fed. They’ve got the brightest PHDs on the planet churning out algorithms we can’t fathom, to solve shit we don’t know exists. Have a complex business deal? You bet some lawyer is going to come up with a complex contract to make sure everyone is protected. Beating the market, or managing its volatility; that too needs a complex solution.

Read more

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Recipe For Boosting Sales In 2017

Since starting my company in October 2012 it was full speed ahead.  Growth was explosive and sales came easy.  The tough part was finding, keeping and managing my little enterprise.  With enough perseverance and many nights of pulling my hair out that came under control.  By October 2016 the tides had shifted.  We had a great team in place and were ready for scalability.  Ready to scale up, and take it to the next level knowing confidently our team could complete it all with excellence.   At this point it was time to re-focus on sales and marketing.  Here’s what we did. Read more

app for contractors

3 Apps Every Contractor Would Find Useful (I Can’t Live Without Them)

Deep inside my arsenal of tech I use to keep my day, and my business running smooth and efficient are 3 Apps.  3 Apps I can’t live without.

An awesome To Do List App. After checking my email, this is the first thing I go to.

Todoist

My day starts with the Todoist app.  It’s a do list app…. A very good one.  It lets you add tasks, set dates and times of when the task is due, and group the tasks by project/category.  Making use of it helps you get more done efficiently.

Practical Use: Every business owner gets hit with 10,000 things at once.  All of which you can’t do at once, nor will you probably remember to do later.  When things come up that need to get done, schedule them into this app and get reminders of wat you need to get done.  On the otherhand you’ll have moments of silence; moments where you forget everything, look at wall and wonder “what should I be doing?”  Todoist has the answer, right in the palm of your had.

Boomerang: 

Follow up with important emails, and optimize emails delivery time with boomerang.

Boomerang lets you schedule Emails and brings emails back up to your attention.  Want to send someone an email
Monday morning, or have an email come back up to your attention in the tomorrow?  Boomerang is the app.  It can also send emails or reminders based on whether the recipient had read or replied to the email.

How I use It? 

Follow Ups & Keeping Conversations Alive:  At my company we handle lots of leads by email.  Sometimes a lead will faaaade out and not respond to an email or simply miss it.  For these leads when can set a Boomerang, so the email thread shows up as ‘unread’ and comes back (pun?) to our attention in a few days, IF no one responds.  We can then make another effort to re-establish the communication channel.

This can also be used when you are pursuing others who frequently don’t respond.  In the construction business, this is frequently the fine folks at the building department.

Optimizing Delivery Times:  Think about this, when you open your email to a overwhelming, full inbox in the morning, who do you respond to first?  Personally, I get the most recent emails out of the way first.   Then I go back to the oldest ones that have been waiting the longest.  Then everything else I deal with… as I feel like.  Its been my experience that others do the same thing.  Boomerang lets you schedule emails to be delivered right at prime time in the morning, so you are front and center on someones priority list.

I’ll also schedule some new customer emails for the evening around 7pm.  Right at this time, Mr. and Ms. Doe are sitting around their living room, getting ready for bed, with not much on their mind.  I find this presents a perfect opportunity for them to reflect on, and discuss whatever I have sent.

So far I’ve talked about using it to get a response, sometimes I’ll use to avoid a response, until a better time.  Ever get those situations where someone responds quickly, to an email about a topic you’d rather deal with during business hours?  And then that topic is back on your mind while you’d rather be enjoying yourself without elephants on the brain.   It used to happen to me all the time.     I’d be having a great weekend and get an email about some topic I’d rather leave until business hours for my sanity.  There it was though, fresh on my mind, eating away at my soul, so I would respond to get it over with and move on.  Then BAM, 5 minutes later another response and its back on my brain.  Now with Boomerang I will go ahead and type up my reply, get it out of my head and schedule it to send Monday morning when my head is in a better place.

Ring Central:

The Ringcentral App works just list a regular phone.

Ringcentral is a Voice Over Internet Protocol Phone (voip) – It makes and receives calls, just like a regular phone, over data, and has the scalability to run a whole call center.

How I Use: On an individual level I use the app as ‘my business cell phone’.  I’ve got my own phone number which can be used through the mobile app just like my cell phone.  This is handy for keeping business and personal life separate.  When I make a call out, the recipient see’s my RingCentral Number, not my personal cell phone.  Afterhours, a flip of the button turns it off until I’m ready to do business again.  I can also easily transfer, and initiate conference calls with others within my company (we run the whole company phone system from the app).  Here’s the cool thing, you can make and receive calls through your PC.  You can also make and receive local calls no matter where you are in the world, assuming you are connected to the internet.  When I was in Costa Rica a couple weeks ago, I spent some time taking company calls through the app and no one had the slightest clue I was in the mountain jungles above Jaco.

On a company wide, level the RingCentral system lets you add phone lines, and users for a small cost.  We run a small center off the program.  All of our associates login through a PC.  We can handle call routing between associates, track phone calls by marketing source, and all whole host of other things.  Relative to the amount we spend on RingCentral, I feel like we get a great value

For smaller operations, or solo-preneur businesses, I’ve heard that Grasshopper is a more economical option.

[BY THE WAY]  This might be a good time to check your current voicemail recording.  Is it scaring away your customers?

What apps are you using?  What should I add to my app arsenal?

 

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