Raise your hand if you know who Michael Masterson is.
Okay, for those of you with non-raised arms, Micheal Masterson is founder of health, wealth and success e-newsletter Early to Rise. In less than 7 years, Masterson built a loyal following of over 250,000 people–whom he mentors to help them acheive their financial goals–through his success at productivity, selling and marketing.
Masterson is also the author of several Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Amazon.com best sellers, including Ready, Fire, Aim, and Automatic Wealth: The Six Steps to Financial Independence.
So here’s the deal. In a short book called Personal Productivity Secrets, Masterson shared his personal blueprint for productivity success.
It’s called the Master Plan.
Jack Welch used a Master Plan to turn GE into a lean, market-dominating company. NFL Coach John Fox used a Master Plan to go from a 2-14 season to a run at the Super Bowl the following.
The same process can help you achieve your goals. Here’s how it works.
Simplify Your Goals
A master plan works by simplifying your interests and acting upon them in a simple way. Start by figuring out your life goals.
1. List all the things you want to accomplish on a sheet of paper.
2. Choose the top interest.
3. Decide if that is what you want to spend your life doing.
4. Create a five year plan to reach your number one goal.
5. Create a one year plan to reach your number one goal.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for every major goal you want to accomplish.
How Does Rising Early Make You Rich?
The morning time is the best time to collect your thoughts. Better yet, if you get up at 4:30 A. M., and work 2 hours, you’re that much ahead of your competition.
During these hours of solitude, make your to do list, then prioritize it and finally start on one of the most important tasks immediately.
This Little Tool Will Be Enormously Valuable to You
Masterson carries 3-by-5 index cards everywhere he goes and writes down every idea that comes to him. This way, nothing escapes him.
Each morning, he reviews his cards and consults them whenever you have a spare moment. I sometimes use the voice memo feature on my phone. This is especially helpful when you are driving.
Whether electronic or paper, once you start doing this, you’ll be surprised at how much more “on top of things” you’ll be in a few days.
Don’t Let Your Email Ruin Your Schedule
If you are on email more than twice a day–stop it. Checking email is not the most important thing you should be doing.
Also, Masterson recommends you train people who email you to keep it short. And when they pose a problem, teach them to map out multiple choices.
Group Like Tasks Together
Tackle similar tasks at the same time: That means, create time blocks when you check voice mail, send emails and write memos.
Or, group similar tasks by time duration. Lump all tasks under fifteen minutes for the end of the day. And group your more time intensive tasks in the morning when you are fresh.
Choose a Daily Planner That Works for You
Electronic planners tend to be the least effective. Daily paper planners the most. I use a makeshift notebook. Whatever you choose, stick with it.
Pencil in Appointments First–Ink Later
When you make an appointment, pencil it in first. When it is confirmed, then ink it in. This lets you know at a glance appointments that are concrete and those that are not.
Measure and Improve Your Personal Productivity
It’s always a good idea to review every two weeks your planner to see how many tasks you aren’t getting done. If you find yourself with more incomplete tasks than you like, do one of three things:
1. Work more hours and be happy with it.
2. Learn how to be more efficient.
3. Schedule fewer tasks.
Two is probably your best option. But, highly-motivated people often try to bite off more than they can choose, so the third option might work for you instead. You decide.
In How to Become CEO, Jeffrey J. Fox recommends spending an hour a day “planning, dreaming, scheming, thinking, calculating. Review your goals. Consider options. Ponder problems. Write down ideas.
Mentally practice your sales call or big presentation. Figure out how to get things done.”
Follow Masterson’s simple steps to get a jumpstart on your day, your career and your income. And to change your life you’ve got to stick to this basic program.
The bottom line is: stop focusing on anything that is keeping you from your most important goals.
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