This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pilot Corporation of America (Pilot Pen). The opinions and text are all mine.
I will be very honest with you. I hated planners. They feel pointless to me, because I use a tool called Trello to manage my business. After I created my Profit Planner, I see that there is a place for a paper planner, if you know how to use it properly. You see, the problem with a planner is that you fill it up with a whole bunch of things that you think you might want to do that day. Let's be real. We have the best intentions, but we don't always execute. We look at our planner as a way and a place to house all of our ideas and all of the things that we want to get done, but we never prioritize them in a way that highlights what needs to get done.
When creating a to-do list for the day, especially for your business, you need to break your day down into three segments. I'm not talking about morning, afternoon, and night. I'm referring to priorities and tasks. Everyday I break down my to-do list into two sections: the things that I absolutely have to get done, the non-negotiables, and the things that I would like to get done, the tasks. I write my tasks in black in and my priorities in colored ink to make sure that there is a visual representation of it's importance.
The pens I use are Pilot Pens. I love them because they are retractable, don't run out of ink in 5 minutes, and it's the same pen Shonda Rhimes uses for her scripts. Can we say bossed up!? (Oh and Auntie Shonda is giving away a $50K grant! Apply here.)
Many times we jumble all of these things into one general to-do list, and then wonder why we feel like we didn't get anything done at the end of the day. Here are the three sections that you should outline every single day.
First you need to have a priority section. This section consists of the action items that will get you to your goal. What is your goal for that specific day? Is it a revenue goal? An action goal? Deadlines? My goal for the day won't be based on a task. Because that's a given. Instead my goal would be on something that I would like to accomplish – that requires me to check off items on my to-do list. For example: My goal would be to make $500 today. My priorities and non-negotiables would include posting on social media 3 times and following up with all the people who emailed me in the last 2 weeks. This way I'm specific about not only what I want to get done, but what getting it done will mean for my business. This took a long time to learn, but by having something to look forward to and building the excitement within myself, it keeps me going and it keeps me focused.
Another example: I'm going to NYC this weekend, so my goal for today is to clear my schedule for the weekend. That means that my priorities are going to be to complete any outstanding projects or anything that has a deadline before Monday. Why? Because by knowing what I want the end goal to be, I can keep myself focused on setting the right priorities so that I can achieve that reward: a work-free, relaxing weekend. When you look at your priorities for the day, they should always be smaller steps that allow you to work towards a bigger goal. If your priority for the day is not part of a bigger picture, you might be wasting your time. Let's be honest we're all busy, we all have a ton to do, and quite frankly we don't have time to just be doing things for the sake of saying it was done. Which brings me to the next section.
After I list all my priorities, I then go back and think about the other things that I would like to accomplish that day after my priorities are completed. From there I separate my to-do list into two sections, the things that are going to help me build influence and the things that are going to help me build income. If an activity is not allowing me to produce or increase these two areas, it becomes a low-priority and goes to the bottom of my list. So in this scenario, if I know that I make more money by promoting on Instagram than writing a blog post, I rather put off writing a blog post, and focus on spending time creating graphics for Instagram.
Often we don't know what's important because we don't know what is helping us move the needle in the first place. This is why your metrics and analytics are so critical in building a business and being productive. Whether it's your personal life or your brand, there are things that are more valuable to do than others. It's important for you to sit down and identify that. So that is how I break down my day and plan my months. And I love that my Profit Planner has sections in each day to make this easy to accomplish and I can decipher what is most important using different color ink.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pilot Pen. The opinions, photos, and text are all mine. I took a bunch of goodies home from the Pilot Pen party I was invited to, so every order of The Profit Planner will include a Pilot Pen in it for you to try! (While supplies last.)