I was sitting at my desk like many of you thinking about all the things I wanted to accomplish. And like many of you I found contentment in the idea that I was going to work on it someday so I was in a good place. The last time I checked someday was still not a day of the week. And like all great procrastinators I took comfort in the fact that I was smart, a big dreamer, and better off than most so I was in a good place. Then it struck me. I was tired of being just good enough.
Unfortunately years of dreaming left me with a mile long bucket list and no plan of how to start checking stuff off of it. Then in my daily ritual of 2 hours of work 6 hours of play at my job, I ran across this blog http://www.liveyourlegend.net. Scott Dinsmore wrote an excellent blog on how to do work you love, finding your purpose, being more productive. Basically all the crap motivational articles that procrastinating millennials turn to during the day to reassure them they are being productive and they will one day make it. Unfortunately, Scott passed away in September 2015, but he died doing what he loved instead of just planning life and left a great legacy to follow.
Anyway one of the resources that Scott provided was this story that a friend of pilot of Warren Buffett told him about advice he got from Warren Buffett. We all know how true this story might be, but no matter how true the story is the ideology was sound. Go to his site to get the full details. But the story starts like this. Warren Buffett is talking to his pilot and basically inquires why is he still working for Warren, the pilot must have not reached his goals. This turns into a quick life coaching session where Warren Buffett tells him to write down 25 things he wants to accomplish. The pilot writes down the 25 things. Mr. Buffett then tells him to circle the top 5 things he wants to work on. The pilot circles the 5. Then, Mr. Buffett ask him what about the other 20 things on the list. The pilot representing many of us says oh that’s the stuff I’ll work on when I have time. Then Mr. Buffett throws the gut punch. He says, “No. That’s your avoid at all cost list”.
It’s so simple but I finally realized why many of us sit in a cubicle doing work we don’t love. We think about all these wonderful things we want to do. And then we get overwhelmed and eventually all they become is things we think about doing. I’ll give you an example of some of my dreams. I wanted to learn 5 languages, travel the world, be a full time real estate developer, train for the crossfit games, and a myriad of many things. Now they all great things and can all be done, but if I tried to do all the stuff on my list at one time nothing is going to get done. I only get 24 hours a day and I need to be sleep 8 of them. And I also realized I can get all 25 things done on my list but they may be at different stages in my life and I may change my mind and never want to do them. Some of the things on my list were superficial things I wanted to do to impress other people or because I have seen other people do them. When it’s all said and done I think this exercise really helps in two ways. It realigns your focus and makes you aware of what really matters to you and gets you out of the trap of trying to live another person’s dream.
So I will say this to everyone I know. Use Evernote. I can’t praise it enough. And honestly I was big skeptic of Evernote when I first heard about it years ago. I was like what’s the point. Then I started using it and it is the
Best. Thing. Ever.
It’s like bacon. You can’t explain bacon. You have to experience bacon. Same with Evernote. You can’t really explain Evernote properly. You just have to experience Evernote.
Eventually I started using Evernote and I loved it but it really wasn’t giving me all I needed. That’s when I stumbled upon www.thesecretweapon.org/.
It’s basically a combination of David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) and Evernote in one.
Thereis no reason for me to go through everything here. Besides I would never do it justice.
But the gist is you set up the Notebooks and Tags in Evernote to mimic how you would set up your physical workspace for GTD.
So now you have figured out your top 5 priorities from the Warren Buffet worksheet and you have Evernote all set up. If you haven’t, stop procrastinating and go back and do that. Besides you won’t understand the next step unless you do.
Now this is real simple. Under my .Active Projects tag I created 5 projects that are my top 5 priorities. And under my .Inactive Projects I put everything else. This is why. I don’t want to forget about those dreams and I may come across an article from time to time that may be something interesting to add to that project for reference on day.
For now we are only doing .Active Projects. We are concentrating on out top 5.
I will not put another project under there or work on anything else until 1 of those 5 are done. This is doesn’t mean you don’t have other task that you put on there. Like if you need to put on your to do list something that has to be done you should do that. For example if you need to go to the store put it on you to do list. But that’s for everyday task or stuff you have to do. But if learning a new language didn’t make your top 5, there shouldn’t be anything in your to do list that have anything to do with learning a new language. Got it?
So your Evernote may look something like this.
.Take over the world
. Take over Mars
. Take over Jupiter
. Take over the Galactic Empire
. Discover the meaning of life
. Inactive Projects
. Other Stuff
. Paint the house
. Wash the car
. Join AA
. Read 100 books
. Be a competitive freestyle ice skater
. So on so forth
Now once you have your top 5 and your Evernote set-up to do task you may see your advancement accelerate.
I have to put in my disclaimer here. This is not a cure all. I have set this up before and still didn’t do anything on my list after I created my system. This is just a method I used to get the clutter out my brain and create a real action plan to live my dreams. But all the planning in the world means nothing if you don’t do the actual work.
ENJOY THE JOURNEY…