Issue No. 67 - $1.91
Saturday, November 6, 2010
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time."
What Did You Accomplish Last Month?
"What did you accomplish last month?"
This is the question I asked 60 publishing executives who work for my biggest client. We had gotten together for our yearly meeting last month at a resort on the Maryland shore. One of my presentations was about personal productivity. I showed them my system (the one that's included in The Pledge, my new book).
Only four out of the 60 asked for a copy of my system after the speech. That bothered me. I was hoping to get them all excited and on board. I know the value of establishing and adhering to priorities. I wanted them to know it too.
I don't know why I didn't get more of a response. Maybe some of them have no interest in being more productive. Maybe they're happy with what they are currently achieving. That undoubtedly feels good. Less anxiety. But that's not what I'm going for in my life. I want to do more than anyone has ever done before.
Most ambitious people set goals and use task lists. I've seen those task lists. They are usually handwritten on lined paper. Pages and pages of "things to do" with no way to sort out what's important.
I used to do that. But I was never, ever able to accomplish my important long-term goals that way. I doubt those people do either.
The system I use now is more detailed. And it requires you to fool with it twice a day. When you see it, you might think it's obsessive-compulsive and nerdy -- definitely not something that truly bright and cool people would do.
But it works.
In fact, I'm amazed by how well it works.
So because I have no shame, I'm going to show you a list of everything I accomplished last month.
Here's what I did:
Not to mention:
Are you impressed? I am.
If I had to report what I had done in a typical month 10 years ago, my list would be a fraction of the size of this one.
More important, many of the tasks on this list are meant to advance my long-term goals. Because tasks like these aren't "urgent," I rarely got any of them done... until I developed this system.
And before I developed this system, I never had time to write poetry or produce movies. I never had time to get involved with charitable endeavors. I was very busy. And I made loads of money. But my life was speeding by without any hope of being able to look back at it and think, "I did what I wanted to do."
Have you done what you wanted to do? Really?
Think back to when you were younger. Did you have aspirations that you eventually closeted away as being unrealistic?
Did you ever want to act in a play? Or write a book? Or learn Italian cooking?
Did you ever want to travel to India or Sri Lanka?
Do you imagine yourself retired on a beachfront property in some exotic island?
There are so many wonderful things to do before you die. But you have to start making those things happen now... or, chances are, you never will.
We live in difficult times. The economy is bad -- much worse than the government and the media owns up to. And you have many pressing responsibilities. You have to earn a living. You have to pay your bills. You have to be a good spouse/parent/child, etc.
But those are not reasons for preventing you from accomplishing your buried dreams.
There is a way. And I have explained that way very clearly in The Pledge, a book that John Wiley (the largest non-fiction book publisher in the world) is putting out in less than two weeks. To get an advance copy, go here.
[Ed. Note: Michael Masterson welcomes your questions and comments. Send him a message at AskMichael@ETRFeedback.com.]
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