7 Rules For Staying On Track

Distractions are everywhere.  No matter where we turn, it seems like someone (or something) is trying to bump us off our path.

Whether it’s the email we wake up to in our inbox, the ad that we see in our Facebook Newsfeed, or the weird looking, hand-addressed letter that we get in our mailbox.

In our world, as business owners and professionals, it’s absolutely imperative to stay on track regardless of what’s being put in front of us.

You’d be surprised how many emails we get saying, “How is one person supposed to do ALL of the stuff that you talk about?”

Guess what?  You’re not!

What you are supposed to do though, is figure out exactly what will help you move forward in YOUR business, and then move in that direction.

If you want to accomplish your dreams, you HAVE to focus.

Here are 7 rules that’ll help you stay on track.

Rule 1: Batch Tasks

No matter what, I batch tasks.  It might be that I’m a guy or that I’m best when working on one project alone, but nothing beats focusing on one specific task for an extended amount of time.

Typically, I’ll set up blocks of hours where I’ll do stuff, like:

  • 11AM to 12PM and 4PM to 5 PM are for email
  • Afternoons between 12PM and 4PM are typically reserved for phone calls.
  • Mornings between 9AM and 11AM are development and writing
  • Late nights (which seem to be happening more than usual) are also development and writing

That changes from week to week, but I always make sure to have a plan for at least the next few days so that I can stay on task.  Sometimes, that also means scheduling ‘emotional margin‘ in…

Rule 2: Three Lists Max

I maintain 3 ‘business’ lists, and it just so happens that these lists are actually white-boarded walls of my office.

I can get up out of my chair, check things off, take notes while I’m on the phone, and otherwise maintain what I’ve done and what I have left to do.

Those 3 lists are:

  • Internal Development: Revenue-generating projects that I’ve got going on, and action items associated with each.
  • Client Action Steps: Stuff that I’m doing for clients, and what needs to be done before the next call/meeting/deadline
  • On Deck: This is where the ‘great ideas’ go, most of which never make it to development because they’re either not a good fit for my mission, or time hasn’t been freed up to accomplish them.

No matter what your lists are, know that they’re going to be changing and morphing as the weeks turn into months.

Rule 3: Beware The ‘Great Idea’

Steve Jobs said:

To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.

Great ideas are everywhere.  Anyone who considers themselves a business owner or an entrepreneur sees great ideas on a daily basis, in everyday life.

The place for your ‘great idea’ isn’t blindly rushing forward with development.

Write it down.  Put together an ‘On Deck’ list that you refer to often.  Let it sit for a week or a month, and see if it’s still a great idea.  Most likely, it won’t be.

Your involvement in the process will change.  You’ll learn something that’ll make you think differently about the ‘great idea.’  Something about it will prove challenging or puzzling and you won’t quite have the same drive for it.

If it’s a truly ‘great idea,’ it will remain so weeks and months into the future.

Rule 4: Go All In

If something is worth doing, it’s worth putting time and effort into.

Learn what you need to learn.  Do what you need to do.  Get in front of the people you need to get in front of.  Don’t back down just because something doesn’t go your way.

The projects you take on are iterative.  They have stages and cycles that might prove troubling.  The traffic might not convert the way you wanted it to.  Users might not be upgrading the way you hoped.  Your conversion rates might not be where you need them to be.

That’s business though.  See every problem as a chance to innovate.

Make up your mind to keep testing and trying, taking the small wins as they come and improving on them.

Rule 5: What’s Your QPC?

QPC stands for ‘Quickest Path To Cash,’ and is a simple expression that serves to instantly focus you on what you should be doing right now to move your business forward.

Throughout the day, ask yourself, “Of everything that I have to do, Is what I’m doing right now going to generate revenue the fastest?”

If the answer is ‘no,’ figure out what that thing is and do it!  Another way to do this is to ask yourself, “What’s Important Now?

Most likely, you have lots of half done projects that are just sitting there, waiting for you to breathe new life into it…  Sometimes, it’s a simple sales page or a phone call or advertising.

Think critically about how you’re spending your working hours and optimize for the projects that will turn into cash more quickly than the rest.

To learn more about the ‘Quickest Path To Cash’ listen to our podcast here!

Rule 6: Just Do Nothing

It took me a long time to figure this out, but sometimes the best way of progressing forward in business is to just be still!

I used to think that I had to act on every idea, build every site, and attack every keyword phrase on the planet; and that would be a scalable business model for me.

Turns out, nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s perfectly fine to do nothing, especially because you’re focusing on another high value, QPC action item (re: Rule 5).  Take your time in putting the pieces together in your head before you start building.

The execution step will be quite a bit easier if you know exactly what you’re building and it’s as well thought out as possible.

Rule 7: Avoid Distractions

Finally, the last and most important rule – avoid distractions.

The minute I started avoiding the things that didn’t serve me or my business (no matter how they found me) I started being a lot more productive.

Tony Robbins says, “Every day stand guard at the door of your mind.”  Don’t let things in that aren’t positively impacting what you do.

If a video doesn’t seem like it’ll be a fit – don’t watch it.  If you’re not getting valuable intel on Facebook – don’t visit.  If you find that you feel down and depressed watching the news – don’t turn it on.

Now, it’s up to you…

One of the things I do is help my clients ‘take action’ on their business, and not all of it involves doing something.  Sometimes, it’s setting aside a project or a task that doesn’t serve their end goals, and sometimes it’s just taking care of the stuff they’re not good at.

If you’d like, set up an action plan call with me and we can talk about your business.

In the comments below, please share what one of your ‘rules’ is for staying productive and getting more done is?  We’d love to hear!

6 Comments

  • sue

    Reply Reply March 26, 2015

    Great post – have bookmarked it – have just started putting some of these rules into practice – I;ve been chasing two rabbits for quite a while and I can honestly say I;ve wasted a lot of time getting nowhere! Rule no. 6 is a great reminder as I often find myself saying I haven’t got time – but still achieving nothing! Plans are now in place however but I will refer to this post again to stay on track – thank you.

    • Jason Drohn

      Reply Reply March 27, 2015

      Hi Sue! Thanks for commenting!

      Keep working at it :0) It takes occasional mental checks and building systems that work for you, but you’ll get there!

  • Harvey Ramer

    Reply Reply June 17, 2015

    I would add that if you haven’t yet found your “track” you should just start moving. Find something you think you’ll love and start doing it. Once you’re moving, you’ll be much more likely to create a business than if you’re waiting for inspiration to strike.

    Still no clue? Buy the Strengths Finder book. Take a free personality test.

    A rudder can only steer a boat if it’s moving.

    • Jason Drohn

      Reply Reply June 18, 2015

      Great advice Harvey!

  • jumbo

    Reply Reply June 19, 2017

    thank you for the valuable information it is helpful for me.

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