Do Less

You don’t have to take action on every idea. You can make a decision without knowing every last detail and option. It’s okay if you don’t finish every book you start. You don’t have to respond to every email you receive. There’s no need to push every project to the max. Having breathing room — a little bit left over — is perfectly acceptable. In fact… I would argue that it’s preferred.

Do Less

How to align your tasks with your goals (or: How to create an action plan)

Many people struggle to make regular progress toward their goals. This is often because the things they are doing are not actually related to accomplishing their goals.

To create an action plan, I like to start with the end in mind, and then work backward.

Once you have a desired outcome, all you need to do is list the steps necessary to accomplish it.

Break things down into small action items. Schedule time for yourself for when you’ll do the next action item for that goal. As you begin to move forward, you’ll discover that Action Brings Clarity.

PS – What is a goal you have in mind right now that you’re struggling to make progress toward? Hit reply and let me know, or send me a DM on Instagram.

How to align your tasks with your goals (or: How to create an action plan)

Private interview with Josh Kaufman (Personal MBA)

Tomorrow — Tuesday, July 26 — I am hosting a private, live interview with bestselling author Josh Kaufman.

Josh is also the author of one of my all-time most-gifted books: The Personal MBA.

Over the years Josh has become a dear friend, and I have gotten so much brilliant advice from him. I cannot wait to bring him into the community to share with you as well.

If you care about business, growth, and productivity, then this will be a conversation you definitely want to be part of. Here are the main things we’ll cover during the live interview:

⚡️ Decision Making: How to get better and faster at making decisions without overthinking things or doing it wrong.

⚡️ Time blocking for creative work: Tips and ideas for building a better schedule.

⚡️ Common business advice: What are some of the biggest pitfalls Josh has seen inside businesses and their owners / leaders — and what are his suggestions to avoid or fix them?

⚡️ Plus Live Q&A: Your chance to ask any questions live (or submit them ahead of time and catch the answers during the replay).

This is an exclusive interview that I’m hosting just for the brand-new Accelerator membership. And I would LOVE to have you join us.

Here’s how to join:

  1. Sign up for the new Focus Accelerator
  2. We’ll send you a link and details to join the live Zoom room for Josh’s interview
  3. We’ll also connect with you directly to help you get settled in with all the material and training that is inside the new Accelerator.
Private interview with Josh Kaufman (Personal MBA)

Don’t start with habits. Start with why.

The 5 components of a focused life are this: Vision → Goals → Strategy → Schedule → Habits

That above framework will help you identify where the REAL issues are with your focused life and exactly what to do about fixing them. In short, your habits should support your goals. When they do, it is liberating.

If you want a deeper dive, join me for the free, 1-hour class I’m teaching on Wednesday July 20.

Don’t start with habits. Start with why.

Good Enough or Truly Great?

There are many areas of our life where being good enough is good enough. But for some special areas, why not strive for greatness?

It takes significant effort to move something from good to great. But, for those important few things in life, that effort is worth it.

  • Do you want a “good” marriage or a “great” one?
  • Do you want to be in “good” shape or “great” shape?
  • Do you want a good body of work from your career or a great one?
  • Do you want to be mentally and emotionally fine, or do you want to be at your best?

What areas of your life do you want to be truly great?

Focus on those, and happily allow the other areas to be good enough.

Good Enough or Truly Great?

Do you need a Stop Doing List?

If you’re feeling like you’re not making meaningful progress toward a goal, or if your day is just filled with more distractions that it should be, then perhaps you need a “Stop Doing” list.

What is getting in your way from the results you want?

If it’s things within your control, can you stop doing them?

Some examples:

  • Stop unlocking my iPhone before 8:30 am.
  • Stop bringing my iPhone into the office.
  • Stop checking my email when I’m bored.
  • Stop eating snacks after 7:30 pm.
  • Stop checking social media before lunchtime.
  • Stop spending money on such-and-such category.
  • Stop … ?

What would you put onto your stop doing list? Message me on Twitter at @shawnblanc

Do you need a Stop Doing List?

If you’re working toward a desired outcome, but aren’t seeing any progress or results yet, here’s why:

  1. It’s too early
  2. You’re doing the wrong action
  3. You’re not actually doing what you say or think you are

If 1: then it’s a matter of patience. Don’t quit.

If 2: then it’s a matter of strategy. Try something new and measure your results.

If 3: then it’s a matter of focus. Track your actions and don’t give in to distractions.

Three reasons you’re not seeing results (yet)

When it comes to reading a book and taking notes, my favorite method for taking notes is the alternate index. I’ve been doing this in my non-fiction books for 5 or 6 years now. Though, after years of doing this, I could definitely be more disciplined at turning the Index and takeaways into digitized notes inside Ulysses or Notion, but nobody’s workflow is perfect now is it?

The Alternate Index is one of 3 rules about book buying and reading. I made some short videos about each rule here if you want to watch on Instagram: Rule 1, Rule 2, and Rule 3.

How to Build Your Own Alternate Index of Ideas

Tomorrow I am hosting a live interview with Ugmonk’s, Jeff Sheldon to talk about running a small business + doing creative work.

Here are a rundown of what we’ll cover:

⚡️ Creating new products: How to stay inspired & relevant while also leading a team. (The challenges of RUNNING a small business.)

⚡️ Content strategy: doing email newsletters & social media (the challenges of GROWING a small-business and an audience).

⚡️ Analog Productivity: The why and how behind Analog and Jeff’s personal approach to productivity and systems.

⚡️ Live Q&A: Your chance to ask any questions live (or submit them ahead of time and catch the answers during the replay).

More details, and how to join us, all here.

Live with Ugmonk: Creativity and Business with Jeff Sheldon

One weird trick to overcome procrastination

Try this: tonight, before you go to bet, set out your clothes for tomorrow.

Why, Shawn!?

One reason we procrastinate is because we lack a system of execution.

If you make the first step of a task or project easier on yourself, then you have one step one already decided. It will make it simpler to continue following through.

(Pro tip: you can apply the night-time-outfit-trick to any other project or area of your life.)

One weird trick to overcome procrastination

I recently revisited this article about ideas, and a few things about it stuck out fresh to me:

  1. Your team and your system of execution is far more valuable than your idea.
  2. Done and shipped is vastly more important than almost done.

And, in fact, these two go together. You need to consistently finishing what you start… If you’re a slave to every new idea then you’ll never have the focus to finish a single thing.

Done and Shipped