Do you want to wake up, put on your cape, and conquer the day?
Then you have to live an organized life.
I’ve tried living on-the-go and doing whatever I want, whenever I want. It didn’t turn out too well. I was living like an amateur. Working only when inspiration struck.
No faster way to reach a life of mediocrity.
Greatness, on the other hand, is the sum of your habits.
It is the true measure of the quality of your day.
Create enough great days and you’ll have a great life!
But, how do you create great days?
Well, you can leave it to chance or become super organized.
When you’re organized:
- Stress decreases
- Mental clutter goes away
- You get more done
- You make progress on the SHIT that matters
- You can actually get away and relax (yes… you can schedule and organize proper breaks for once… without feeling guilty)
When you leave life to chance:
- Stress increases
- You get less done
- Make less money
- You’re always in reactive mode
Most of us think we’re organized. We’re not.
Just because you have a calendar filled up, doesn’t mean you’re organized.
My definition of organization: Setting your life up to take the right actions, at the right time, to get the right results.
You may have a different definition (that’s good).
Regardless, here is how I organize my life to get money, have fun, and conquer the world.
1. Get everything out of my brain
I have a confession:
I don’t like to think just to think. I like to keep my mind clear and free.
I only like to use it to solve problems and crack jokes.
All thoughts of worries, stress, fears, and anxieties… the ones regular people carry with them every single day… I like to eliminate and delete.
Here is how I do that:
A. Write morning pages
I hate writing morning pages.
They take too much time. I can never find a working pen. I run out of paper. I can’t read my writing. But that doesn’t matter. Morning pages save me. Every day.
What are morning pages?
Basically, you wake up and write 3 pages long-hand.
What do you write about?
Whatever is on your mind.
The goal isn’t to edit or write beautifully, it’s to dump your thoughts on paper… so you can get them out of your head and get on with your day. You never have to read your entries ever again (I don’t).
So many of us are stressed out, worried, and anxious and we let these dangerous energies poison our days and relationships.
By waking up and spilling your thoughts on paper, you become free and light. Try it.
B. Have a GSD (Get Shit Done) system
Carrying unnecessary thoughts of worries aren’t the only things that will stress you out and burden you with heavy weight.
Another thing that will wear you out is thinking about all the shit you have to do, trying to remember everything you have to get done. This is a huge pain in the ass.
Constantly thinking about what you have to do will ruin your life and suck the joy out of your days.
You can avoid this by getting all your tasks out of your head and onto a system. Now, there are a bunch of apps and software you can use.
But I personally use Trello (I don’t love it, but it gets the job done).
Here is how I have it set up:
Goals / Priorities / Top – To keep track of my monthly goals. I update this tab once a month with 3 monthly goals. This serves as a constant reminder of what I’m working towards. I’ll also jot down other projects and priorities under this tab every now and then.
Inbox – This is the most important tab. I write down EVERY SINGLE TASK I have to do here (no matter how small). This keeps my mental capacity free and light.
Today (MAX 3) – Do you see the dotted line? Above this dotted line I put MY MOST IMPORTANT TASK FOR THE DAY. I determine this task by asking myself: If I could only do 1 thing to push my business and/or life forward today – what would it be? Whatever that task is, I put it above the dotted line. And I’m not allowed to do anything until I get this task done. Under the dotted line, I place 2 additional tasks for the day. At any given time, I only let myself have 3 tasks under the today section. This doesn’t mean I only do 3 things a day. It means I work through a task, finish it, and then move another task from the inbox pile onto my today section. Having too much under your today section will only stress you out – I operate in 3’s. (Admittedly I don’t use this tab very much, I mostly just stick with my legal pads)
Wait / In-Progress – Here is where I place projects/tasks that my employees are working on. This reminds me to follow up and make sure we’re making strong progress.
Closed (Archived) – Every time I move a task to the closed pile, I get a kick of dopamine. It feels great.
Someday / Maybe – How many times have your friends or colleagues recommended you check something out? Maybe it’s a movie. Maybe a book. Doesn’t matter. What matters is you either do it or you forget about it. I tend to forget about it. Now a days I just throw whatever is a ‘someday’ type activity up in this category. If I’m ever bored and searching for something to do, I’ll go through this list. If not, I won’t. No biggie. No stress.
If you analyze my system closely, you’ll also know everything is color coordinated. And I do this because I like to prioritize my inbox on two factors: degree of urgency + impact.
Here’s how I set this up:
Hot/Lukewarm/Cold Tasks – Red = Hot. Orange = Lukewarm. Blue = Cold.
Most people stop here. They only prioritize tasks based on degree of urgency. I think this is a HORRIBLE mistake. Why? Cause you can spend your entire life “getting shit done”, but come to the end of your life and realize… you didn’t get the “right” shit done.
I avoid that by also prioritizing for degree of impact.
$10/$100/$1000/$10,000 – For every task, I ask myself: “Is this a $10 task, $100, $1000, or $10,000?” Of course, subjectivity is required here. And that’s the point (only you know what’s going to PUSH your life forward). But this forces me to get serious about what matters, it allows me to separate the wheat from the chaff.
What usually happens is I realize majority of the HOT tasks that are super urgent are actually only $10-$100 tasks. If all I did was these, I’d be a broke, miserable, mediocre son-of-a-gun. As a result, I have to prioritize and allocate time for at least one $10,000 task each day so I’m making REAL progress.
2. Plan Like A Mad Man
Confession #2: I hate planning. Always will. Always have.
I don’t know.
I’d rather get up and DO and see what happens. Rather than sit on the sidelines and PLAN.
The problem with this?
I wasted a LOT of time DOING things I shouldn’t have been doing.
If only I had PLANNED, I could have avoided this fate.
Now, I realize planning is essential. You can’t dismiss it… even if you dislike it, like I do.
Here’s how I plan:
A. Monthly/Weekly/Daily Outcomes + Feedback Loop
Each month, I write down 3 goals that’ll let me hit my yearly targets (these are the same 3 goals I have up on Trello).
Then I work backwards. And break the big goal into weekly outcomes. On Sunday night, I devise my weekly outcomes based on 3 categories:
Under each, I write down 1-3 MOST IMPORTANT outcomes/results I want to experience (outcomes that’ll get me closer to achieving my monthly goal).
Then I open up Google Calendar and schedule time in the week to create these results.
If I don’t do this, then life will take control of my schedule and will fuck me up, pushing me into reactive mode.
You MUST make time.
In addition, I also break down my weekly outcomes into daily outcomes.
Each morning, I grab my yellow legal pads. And make a HIT LIST (I like to think of myself as an assassin whose job is to KILL. Kill what? Tasks on my to-do list. I gamify life and keep track of my kill streak. Lame? You bet. But who gives a hoot)
On this hit list, I write 6 tasks.
Underneath, I’ll jot down additional tasks if I feel like it. I am by no means obligated to complete these additional tasks. I only care about the main 6 tasks.
These 6 tasks aren’t random. They’re engineered to move me closer to hitting my weekly outcomes, and monthly goals, and ultimately my yearly targets. Everything is in alignment, as it should be.
If I stick to the plan and just achieve a high kill streak, I know I will WIN the month (because everything is synced). No doubt about it.
But just in case I start mucking up, I also schedule a feedback loop.
Every Sunday Morning, I review the week gone by and ask myself:
What 3 things did I do well?
What 3 things can I improve?
Over the years, I’ve come to realize life is just a series of adaptations.
Shit happens, you adapt, and win.
If you don’t adapt (or you adapt too late), you lose.
Majority of us only begin to adapt when the doctor tells us we have cancer or we’re dying, or we’re going broke and can’t pay rent, or we’re miserable and lonely and depressed.
I think it’s too late then.
I like to make adaptations every week, so the next week is better than the last week. If all I’m doing is living the same week on repeat, I ain’t going nowhere in life, but the local bar.
B. Plan Play
I don’t want to be rich and miserable. I want to play myself to the top of the world. To make it you have to work 10, 12, 14, 16 hour days for extended periods of time. It’s just reality.
But I also think all work, and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
So each day I like to give myself 3 hours (I told you… the number 3 is what I use to run my life). These 3 hours, I call “Tej Time” and I can do whatever the hell I please.
I can read. I can work on a side hustle. I can party. I can work out. I can relax. I can learn new things. I can explore. It doesn’t matter. No guilt. No stress. If I want to watch Netflix, so be it.
These 3 hours are either separated throughout the day, or they are pushed to the end of the day.
What I’ve come to realize is the more I play, the better I become.
Again, if you fail to plan and schedule this time into your calendar, you will miss it. So make sure to plan.
I wrote a post about my yellow legal pads before. If you haven’t read it, don’t worry. I’ll quickly sum up how they help me execute the day here:
1. Turn to a new sheet
2. Write the date at the top
3. Write down my 3-6 most important tasks for the day (pulled from Trello)
4. Break the right side into compartments (one compartment = one hour).
5. Keep track of how I’m spending my time.
I compare the time compartments to my Google Calendar (which is the IDEAL version of my day) to see how I stack up. In addition, I also use this to keep track of hours worked.
Now, I don’t think there’s any pride in working long hours for the sake of working long hours. I know people who actually think like this, crazy right?
I only give a hoot about progress and growth.
I only care about efficiency.
So I work fast.
And try to get as much done in a 10-12 hour window, each day.
If I get my day completed in 6 hours, then that’s great.
I reward myself with free time.
And fill this time up with the juices of life…
Juices that let me conquer the world.
And experience everything in it.