“You can build a dream in just 15 minutes.” – Craig Ballantyne
Remember when you were a kid and an hour seemed like an eternity?
I remember sitting staring at the clock in school feeling like the big hand never moved and the seconds were days.
That could have led to my years of being in detention because I would act out in my boredom.
Flash forward decades and here we are in a never ending busy world, where the number of distractions and ways to “pass the time” are endless, and time seems to slip away where hours feel like seconds.
No wonder we are always wishing for more time.
Imagine owning your day.
Imagine your dream life.
Imagine always hitting your goals.
Imagine never getting sucked into the vortex of excuses.
Imagine no complaints.
Imagine no drama ruining your productivity.
Imagine banishing all the avoidable reasons for why you are not living their dreams.
What would it feel like?
Well, you don’t need to just imagine, you can actually craft your Perfect Day Formula and learn how to be more productive everyday to build your dream life.
I got 6 ways you can do it right now.
Roll up your sleeves, sharpen your pencil and put these strategies into play because you can “build your dreams with 15 minutes a day.”
That quote is just one of the many nuggets that I took away from an interview I had with Craig Ballantyne, productivity guru, editor of Early to Rise and author of, The Perfect Day Formula. If you want some deep takeaways, jump onto the Productivity Podcast right here.
As people with a passion to change the world, you and I have to share a passion for getting stuff done, it’s why a top skill I teach my students on Day 1 of my Clear Vision Planner is all about productivity.
When you got big dreams, they can only get done when you know how to get the most out of your time.
That’s why step 1 of knowing how to get more productive is to audit your time.
1. Audit Your Time.
One of the most eye opening things for my students is to actually see where their time is being spent. Why?
Because when you see how you’re spending your hours and minutes you can with just a few small tweaks create a lot more time. And that means you can achieve your big projects they have been stalling on.
One of my students in the Clear Vision Planner, Ebony Gordon, realized that in less than a day and turned her overwhelm to focus.
2. Get Your “Commandments.”
Most people let life happen randomly, or by happenstance, wishing and hoping to hit their dreams. It’s no wonder that most people feel that they are not progressing and that life can feel unfair.
There’s nothing unfair about it.
I know I wasn’t born with some magic ability to figure out how to be productive, I had to learn how to do it. The secret ingredient was something you might not know.
It wasn’t any productivity sheets, planners, or app that turned things around for me. I would also say that this is true for anyone who’s figured out the productivity puzzle.
That secret ingredient is – find something that matters.
Find something worth fighting for.
Or what I like to call, “get your commandments.”
I chose to get serious about my productivity when I got clarity of my 3 commandments:
- I will help reverse the trend of obesity so that I can help change health care, turn our communities around, and improve our economy because people are living with energy, passion and vitality to go kick some ass!
- I will help reverse the trend of people living broke. It sucks. Life is way more fun when you’re not broke. I lived that way for too long and once I figured out how to not do that, I got a fire in my belly to teach others how to make money, and live their dreams.
- I will help reverse the trend of people not being able to create their visions. I believe when you have a vision to change the world, you can build a brand around it. As a visionary you can have a life on your terms versus working for someone else, and you can possess the skills to launch any brand of your dreams and share your message with the world.
Those 3 aims give me purpose that go far beyond goals, far beyond to do lists, and far beyond my own interests.
Having “commandments” compels us to get our asses in gear so that we can contribute to this world before our time is said and done.
That’s how I fire up my productivity.
I suggest finding your commandments that compel you to get up, get stuff done and leave the world better than when you came in it.
3. Get Intentional.
One of the biggest misconceptions about planning to be more productive is that it can cost you spontaneity, it can be rigid and too inflexible.
The truth is, it’s the opposite.
You actually create more freedom and more time for the things that matter because productivity practices have a basis in being intentional.
Intentionality is the bullseye of productivity.
The clearer you are on the intentions of what you want, why you want, when you want it and how you want it…
…the more you get done with less time, more focus, and then you don’t need as much time as you would otherwise.
And that leaves a lot more time for every aspect of your life, including fitness, family, adventure and fun.
4. Create Scale.
The ceiling to every man, woman or child’s productivity is the number of hours in a day.
That’s why, creating scale is the only way to break out of the shackles of time.
When I was a trainer and studio owner the biggest thing that held me back was the number of sessions I could work, or the margins I had at my studio.
But, then I discovered the promised land of scale.
Scale is where you can automate your processes, create systems that work while you are not, and use leverage to.
That’s where the online world comes in handy because it allows you to scale the unscalable.
I may sound like a broken record, but digitizing your media, marketing, content, stories and offers is where I believe (I know) the market is going.
2010, when I created the Group Training Money Machine system, is when I really got the power of scale.
That one system, where all I did was take all my systems for creating group training in my studio and start selling it to others in the industry is how I broke out of my money troubles and started scaling my impact.
With that info-product, I was able to reach people no where near me. I was able to teach people online while I slept, or did anything other than stand there. And it ended up becoming a 6-figure product that also helped launch my Beachbody business.
Think of scale as the multiplier effect to all the work you do once and repurpose over and over again.
Right now you can get some aspect of your business and marketing online and start planning to build your services so that you can get paid more for what you did once, and move on to other projects.
Without that it’s going to get fricking ugly for you in the next few years.
5. Create Rules for Your Day.
When I interviewed Craig during my podcast, he told me an interesting story about himself. Craig suffered from a debilitating bouts of anxiety that made interactions unpleasant for him.
In a lesser mind, that would’ve meant, I use “anxiety” as an excuse.
But, Craig believes in controlling your mind through daily sharpening of the saw so he studied some of the greatest minds, in particular Epictetus, the scholar who taught some of the greatest Roman minds.
From years of study, work ethic, and trial and error, he turned his anxiety excuse (or any for that matter) down and his success philosophy up.
By creating rules for his life.
Creating rules for your life is when you decide to intentionally set parameters that affect your mind, routine, and daily practices.
Let’s break this thing down because in plain sight, he’s got some golden rules of life and success that can guarantee your dreams become real.
First up, take the ‘excuse’ and get clarity on it. Example…
“My day ends before it even begins.”
“I don’t have the time.”
“My day just got away from me.”
“I don’t feel like I got anything productive done today.”
Why are these excuses so prevalent in today’s society?
The #1 reason is people don’t script their days.
Most people live chasing tail. Most people are diffused. Living in a world of random acts.
You can minimize random acts and instead turn things into focus.
Focus and productivity all start the night before.
Here’s a framework from Craig that can get anyone to work on their top priority project so that they’re chopping away at it.
Here’s the cliff note version:
Start the Night Before… and then Keep Going
This isn’t one that we hear often, but after getting Craig’s Perfect Day Formula Kit (which I highly recommend over just the book), I can honestly say that this one was a game changer for me.
I used to take the first few minutes of the day and plan my script for the day.
Then I flipped to taking 15-20 minutes the night before to script the next morning, versus waiting to do it in the AM and that increased my productivity 2x.
Here’s what you do.
At the end of every workday, do a brain dump.
Write down everything that you need to do the next day.
Then, prioritize your list so that you don’t spend the precious moments of the next day wasting time.
Then, spend the first fifteen minutes of every day focused on your top priority- nothing else.
For example: If you want to write a book spend the first fifteen minutes writing that book. That’s how a bucket list project can get done in just fifteen minutes a day.
Think about how productive you could be if you stopped wasting just that first fifteen minutes of your day- you could build your dream!
Then, stop thinking, and start doing!
Control your Life. Set up Rules.
The very idea that the son of Italian immigrants who opened up a restaurant can sit down and talk about life strategies with the son of Canadian farmers is a testament to controlling your life.
Think about it. Every detail of your life is pretty much a choice.
From the time you wake up, to what you do with your mornings, even your daily habits are all things that you dictate.
Every day, you have choices! Are you in control of them?
The people you interact with, the actions you take in your business, and ultimately the impact you make on the world are all things you can control.
Unfortunately, most people don’t believe this.
They have goals and the dreams, but they don’t want to put in the hard work to create their rules of life, or their habits of success.
When we take the time to create our own Rules of Life, we gain control of our days and life.
Here’s an easy example and how I recently put ‘“creating rules of life” into action.
Last year, I was in Italy, Slovenia and Croatia for a two-and-half week vacation.
This is the 3rd year in a row that my wife and I have done this and it’s the perfect way we reward ourselves for the year of consistent, relentless action we take all year.
This year, we met up with my best-friend, Amir and his wife, Zahra.
We had so much fun with them, seeing new parts of the world, so we simply said:
“Every year from now on in August, we will meet for a European vacation together to enjoy the moments in a short life and celebrate busting ass all year.”
That’s our new Rule of Life.
Rule #1: “Every year from now on in the summer, we meet for a European vacation together to enjoy the moments in a short life and celebrate busting ass all year.”
And we are in control of it.
We can do the work to make that happen and to live it.
By focusing on what you want your life to be like, you can control the outcomes.
Little by little, you can set Rules of Life that encompass all the things you value.
You want more health?
Create rules of life that control your health like, “I won’t eat 3 hours before bed.”
You want more wealth?
Create a rule of life that says, “I will spend 15 minutes every morning working my top priority.”
Just taking the time to think about what you value most, and creating rules of life and you will find yourself gaining control of your choices.
You can dictate the life you want, not by luck, but by choice.
Believe that you can control your life and then take action.
Push Past Your Comfort Zone
As an avid football fan, this next lesson is key: “You can’t just stop at the 1-yard line.”
If you follow football, you know that when you’re down on the 1-yard line, so close to the goal, where you imagine things are easier… is actually when the defense gets tougher.
The field is shorter, you have less options, the bodies are all tightly packed together, condensing the field down, making every play critical, and you have to push outside your comfort zone to punch the ball in the end zone.
It’s the perfect metaphor as you enter the red zone of your success and business.
If you’re okay with where you are, then stay in that comfort zone, but wouldn’t you prefer to consistently run the ball into the end zone rather than stay at the 1-yard line of life?
Whether it’s physical work, like losing weight, or creating your brand, success all happens all in the mind.
It’s going to require you to move beyond your normal routine and find out what you’re made of.
The best speakers, the greatest athletes, the most intense actors, they all worked by moving beyond the safe space of their own comfort, and here’s the beautiful thing- your comfort zone moves with you.
What may seem like a big stretch today will soon be your comfort zone tomorrow.
It’s all a matter of practice and it’s all a matter of getting accustomed to the new you.
You become more comfortable with being uncomfortable by developing your skills, getting a coach, and putting yourself in the environment of winners and a team that is looking to win championships.
Are you on that team?
Are you working your skills?
Getting a coach?
If I could impart only one piece of wisdom on my deathbed, it could very well be to, “get a coach faster.”
I waited far too long in my business career to get a coach. I recently worked with a client of mine Tanner Chidester, who’s 25! If I had gotten a coach at 25 I would’ve been 5x more successful in my life.
If you are ready for that coach and mentor, the perfect quick start is to head into my Clear Vision Planner.
Put Your Ego Aside
Pushing that comfort zone means you need to be able to take criticism.
In fact, you should search for it.
I have gotten negative reviews (we all do). I shared some of mine and how I dealt with them in my article, How Do You Process Negative Reviews.
If you’re looking for non-stop praise and people to blow sunshine up your you-know-what, then you’re not looking to make a change.
Instead, you gotta understand not everyone will be right for you. So, you gotta learn how to analyze what you’re doing, and be honest with yourself. It may not feel good, but it’s truly necessary.
Don’t surround yourself with people who want to make you feel good. Instead, ask them to challenge you.
Tell your closest friends and family that constructive criticism about you, your work, and your performance is always welcome. No, correction- it’s needed.
If you’re really brave, go beyond that. Ask everyone you encounter how you can be better, do better, and serve better.
These are things that your mind and ego need to accept if you want to provide the top products and services to your clients.
Heck, if you want to be a better person, always listen to what others think of you and how you’re coming across, then make changes.
Be Descriptive in Your Life Plan
Ambiguous goals get ambiguous results.
If you ask people what they want out of life, you’ll start to hear the same things over and over again… a big house, a nice car, a trip around the world, the list could go on.
When we make our dreams abstract like that, it gives us an excuse to not really go for it.
The people who turn their dreams into a reality make their goals as specific as possible.
They know what their house looks like and where it’s located. They know what kind of car they want, right down to the motor and rims.
Whatever the goal is, be specific and clear.
Make sure you can smell it, feel it, and breathe it. Then you are on the right path to making it a reality.
This way you know when you’ve actually attained that goal!!
You wouldn’t show up at Disneyland with your family and just wing it. No, you’d have a map and a plan (you’re crazy if you don’t have a plan, my friend. HA!). Your kids would know what they’d want to see and you and your spouse would know the things you have to see.
Why would life be any different? Don’t be the crazy person that shows up to Disneyland without a plan. Start showing up for your life with a plan!
The thing is that there is so much of life that you can’t control. Life will throw so many curveballs at you that just staying on your feet will be hard.
What you can control is your destination and the rewards that await you. Make those rewards as detailed as possible in order to keep you on the exact path that leads directly to them.
6.Live a Life by Design, Structure Creates Freedom.
We need more structure to have more freedom, like I stated in the beginning of this article.
Some would think it’s the other way around.
But, it’s not.
It’s why as a society we have rules, laws and agreements we make with each other to give us all the opportunity for a safe, happy life.
It’s the lack of structure with our days and our plans for success that have led us to missing the mark in our lives.
Let’s look at this with a practical example from Dan Kennedy.
Dan Kennedy for many years of his life struggled with unhealthy eating.
One of his weaknesses was donuts.
So, what does Dan do now to put more structure in, so he can design more health into his life?
He drives out of his way to NOT pass a donut store because he knows that if the temptation is there, he can’t resist, so instead he finds himself taking the long way.
And the long way proves to be more successful.
It takes a strong mind to believe that. Do you?
The same concept applies to many people’s lack of design when it comes to their goals, wants, ambition, and aspirations.
Less structure makes productivity less likely.
Instead, if we are able to proactively design our days, we can structure them more, then we have more of a chance of being productive and successful!
Sets boundaries for yourself that you knows you need to follow.
Limit the time you spend on social media.
Limit the time looking at Facebook to twice a day
Yes, listen productive folks are not on FB socializing, scrolling through the feed, and looking for posts to hit “like” on, or to tell people about everything they do throughout the day.
Productive people are on social media for three purposes and that is to add value, build their tribe and deliver content.
Productive people use a team, much like I do, to help manage the load, stay focused on what they do best, write and create content, and delegate out the rest.
Why does this work?
It’s pretty simple.
You set boundaries.
You create structure.
Structure creates more freedom,not less.
Alright, I get it. You are freaking out. You are on social media at least two times in 30 minutes. So let’s break it down for you if you run a lot of your business on social media.
Set time limits for how long you are on Facebook (or other social media forums).
Give yourself a start and end time. If you are not out by the end time, you are now wasting precious moments that should be spent on other parts of your business.
Also, if you are just scrolling the feed mindlessly in that time frame you really have no interest in making your days productive.
I would limit yourself to social media 2-3 times a day and those times are spent wisely. Deal?
Okay, let’s move on to your day being killer productive.
If you know that the afternoon is where you fall off the schedule, plan it down to the exact minute and don’t go astray.
Avoid the temptations of social media, text messages, or anything else that might get in the way.
Nail this down and you got a straight shot aiming at your repeatable success.
Then you can stop living life by default and start designing your day!
You got the tools.
You have to think about the things in your life that are hindering your progress.
Analyze what distractions are zapping your focus and set boundaries so that the distractions are minimized.
Get proactive and have the structure in place as part of a system.
When you bring this Perfect Day Formula system into play you’re giving yourself the chance to work at high performance, not just occasionally, but consistently, and to make every day, Your Perfect Day!
Get after it FPL nation!