You spend countless hours every day working on your business.
You’re happy when you do so, but at the end of the day, you find that you achieved nearly nothing.
You keep doing this every day, until you reach a point where you hate your business.
The worst thing is that you think you’re working hard, but then you can’t see any results.
You don’t enjoy your life, and at the same time, your business isn’t growing, or it’s growing very slowly.
It’s not the return you expected from the time you’re spending on it, right?
Introducing the entrepreneur, and the… dentist?
If you don’t know, I’m a dentistry student.
It’s hard to build your business while studying dentistry. Let me tell you, it’s extremely hard, especially when you want to have a high GPA.
Imagine attending lectures and labs 5 days a week from 8 am to 3 pm with no break except for two days.
Imagine the shit load of information I get inundated with every day.
Not to mention the hours I have to spend studying to get a high GPA. My cumulative GPA in the first 2 years is 3.9/4, which exceeds my own expectations.
And I’m working to build my business online. I built a freelancing business to support me. And it was doing extremely well.
It seems impossible, right?
And I wrote about it in The Huffington Post 🙂
But things haven’t always been hunky-dory.
Actually, 3 years ago, the situation was just the opposite.
I hated my life 3 years ago
I used the word hated and I mean it.
Imagine how I feel at the beginning of the day when I have all the subjects that I need to study, and then think about my client’s deadline.
This meant having no time to go out. No time for family.
And no time to do anything else except studying, and doing work for my client.
But it all changed when I started implementing this system and improving it over time.
As I said above, I entered dentistry, scored a GPA of 3.93, and I’ve doubled my rates.
And guess what? I now have time to enjoy my life.
In other words, I was able to regain my life.
And this simple system could help you do the same.
Introducing the “Hats System”
This is a system that depends on just 2 hats.
If you don’t have a big team in your business, then you need to wear both hats, one at a time… and you’ll know why in a moment, to achieve success in every aspect of your life.
This is the basis for the essential principles that you need in order to get more done. This is not your usual 80 tips and tricks to get more done thing.
THIS IS A SYSTEM.
It is a workflow that you need to adapt to finally feel that you have accomplished more in your day and your life…
- Stop procrastinating
- Get more done in less time
- Double your business
- And still have free time for your life
Think about it for a second. How would your life change if you achieved all 4 of these benefits?
It seems impossible, right?
Well, I did it, so I’m living proof. You could do it, too, with the help of the “hats system” that I’ll go into in a moment.
Most important, you’ll feel you have achieved something in your day. Your business is moving forward at a faster pace, and you’re still enjoying your life.
But first, there’s one thing you need to know about building a business.
The harsh truth about building a successful business nowadays
Millions of posts are published every day.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people enter the online world to achieve their 4-hour-work-week dream. The opportunity is hot, so a lot of people are trying to benefit from it, but it’s getting overcrowded every day.
And that is why working hard is not enough to succeed. Actually, it’s the bare minimum.
And also if you know how to work smart but don’t take action, your business won’t move forward.
The truth is that you need both.
You need to work hard… AND work smarter.
Actually, this is the norm now. Especially if you don’t have a big team to help you, or you’re on a tight budget.
So how can you be smart about working harder?
That’s where the hats productivity system comes into place.
The 2 hats to mastering your life
There are 2 hats you need to wear when you start working on your business or you want to get more done in your life.
You need to be aware of each one of these and try to leverage the strength of both of them.
Hint: you can’t reap the benefits wearing both hats at the same time
The 2 hats are:
- The planning hat
- The doing hat
Both of these 2 hats are essential to bring an idea to execution.
Let’s go into details about these 2 hats.
With the planning hat, you’re actually strategizing. You think about your business from a 10,000-foot view and find out what needs to be done on this particular day, this week, or even this month to get the business moving forward.
You’re thinking about what needs to be done, and then you think about how you do it.
In the doing mode, you already know what to do, and how to do it. Your job is to focus and get it done. Nothing more.
You don’t think anymore. You don’t have distractions. You have commands that you need to do and not think about it.
And in order for you to take an idea to execution, you need to wear both hats in turns.
And that is what entrepreneurship is all about.
If you want to build a business, grow it, and enjoy your life, then you need to adapt yourself with this workflow, and know when to wear each hat.
You should not say, “I’ve got a lot today to do. I’ve a lot of ideas.”
Instead, you need to say, I’ve got to do this, this and that, and I crossed this from the list because it’s done. I executed on something and achieved what I wanted to do today.
It’s not about the idea. It’s about the execution of the idea. Value the execution part more than the idea itself.
Let’s delve into the details about each hat, when to wear it, and how to reap the maximum benefits.
The planning hat
This is the 10,000-foot view. Looking down, you see everything in motion.
This is where you’re planning, streamlining, or where you take that big idea you’re thinking about and you start to distill it down into how to actually do it.
You need to wear one hat at a time.
The reason is that you don’t want to waste time thinking about something when you do work that you’ve already thought about first when you were planning your stuff. This way, you’re spending double the time on something, which isn’t worth it.
You need to leverage the strength of these 2 hats, and not wear them both; besides, wearing two hats looks ridiculous, right? 😉
Now, how to do the planning part?
Well, there are 3 levels of planning.
- The 100,000-foot plan
- The 10,000-foot plan
- The daily plan
You could add more levels if you want, but I actually don’t suggest it. You don’t need to spend a lot of time planning to plan to do stuff. It’ll be a waste of time.
Also, you don’t want to take away any levels, because then you won’t have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, or you won’t have a clear step by step plan to help you take action when you wear the next hat. Basically, I don’t recommend meddling with the 3 steps I’ve outlined above.
Let’s put each one under the microscope:
This is a bigger view of what you want to accomplish in the near long run.
Here’s what I mean:
Always have in mind your vision, and your goals for the next year, or even five years. The exact timeframe doesn’t matter. The important thing is to just have it in mind.
But when it comes to planning, look for the near long run.
This could be a quarter (three months), which is what I find to be the sweet spot.
Forget about setting year-long goals, and instead focus on quarterly accomplishments.
These can be used to hold you accountable for your long term goals, but in manageable chunks where you can see an end in sight.
Giving yourself a quarter, or 13 weeks, means you can focus on one goal at a time. The next quarter can be used for the next goal you have in mind.
The reason why you go with this system is to motivate you into taking action today and not to procrastinate – because your time is limited, and to give you a clear sense of what you want to accomplish.
That is the first layer of planning.
How to do it
There are many tools you can use. You could use Evernote, which many people recommend as a catch-all for your planning. Another benefit is that you can use audio notes with it.
Or, what I prefer to do, open a new google doc document, and plan in it.
After that, list all the major goals you have in mind that you want to achieve in the next quarter.
Think about the D.O.… your desired outcome. This is something I learned from Chase Reeves.
What are the outcomes you want to achieve by the end of this 90 days/ or whatever period you set?
- Get GPA 3.95-4 in this semester
- Build my email list to 1000 subscribers and plan my blog relaunch
- Increase the fitness of my body
After you have that on the page, you could then put under each one how you plan to achieve it.
Let’s take the “build my email list to 1000 subscribers” goal and break it down:
- Manual outreach to friends to invite them to my new newsletter.
- Write a post every month and promote it.
- Email my list weekly to build relationships.
After you have a vision of the actions you need to take to achieve your goal, break down those actions into smaller actions. This gives you a clear idea of what you want to do.
Let’s take the first step I have above, “manual outreach to friends to invite them to my new newsletter:”
- Email people I emailed in the last year.
- Message my friends on Facebook
- DM my twitter followers who would find this to be interesting
- Message my LinkedIn connections
Keep breaking down your actions till it makes no-sense to break down it further. It would be silly to break down “message my friends on facebook” to:
- Go to my profile
- go to my friends list
- Open the profiles of the people who are interested
- send them a message
This is just a waste of time. Plan enough that you don’t need to rethink it when you take action.
If you just put as your action “outreach to people to invite to my newsletter”, you’ll have to rethink it later, wondering about who to email, where are they, etc., and thus you’ll waste your precious time.
In that time, you could have emailed 10 people already, when you know that your first action is to email people who you emailed in the past year.
And you’ll rethink it the next day, too, and so on.
But as I said, don’t spend a lot of time planning to plan your action. You’ll waste more time. So go deep enough, but don’t go very deep.
After you have that, your 100,000-foot plan, in front of you, you move to the next step of planning.
Finished it? Let’s move on.
After you’ve got your big vision, AKA “100,000-foot plan” ready, it is your time to put timelines into it.
Here’s what you do here:
Every week or every 10 days, or whatever you find works for you, plan the actions you want to take in the next week, 10 days, or whatever you choose.
For me, I do 10-day sprints.
Every 10 days, I plan the actions I need to accomplish to make sure I meet my quarterly “or 100 days goal.”
Why do this when you already have your 100,000 foot plan?
That is a good question. And I actually didn’t have it in the beginning.
But I added it because I needed it.
Let me show you why I added it in my planning process.
When you wake up every day and you look at your deep 100,000-foot plans, here are few things that could happen:
- You may focus on one goal and ignore the others
- You’ll be overwhelmed with all the actions you need to take
- Near the end of the 90 days, you may find you didn’t accomplish a lot and you can’t reach your goal
- Most important, you’ll waste time every morning looking in that big list every morning. You could do something more beneficial in that time.
As I said, I added this layer of planning because I needed it.
The question now is how.
How to have a 10,000-foot plan
First of all, select the duration you’ll do this for, whether it’s 10 days, a week, or whatever you prefer, it doesn’t matter. But keep it under 2 weeks.
Again, you may find yourself overwhelmed.
After you have that clear in mind, think about the actions you need to accomplish, from your 100,000-foot plan, in the next duration you set and add them to a separate sheet.
You may need to take some time doing this at the beginning of every week / 10 days.
Let’s make it clearer with an example from my life.
So I have 3 goals that I want to meet by the end of the quarter, right?
Here is a sample of the 10-day sprint that I’m in:
- Review my lectures regularly
- Prepare for my first oral biology quiz
- Review my first 2 anatomy lectures.
These are related to my first goal, remember?
- Do email outreach
- message my Facebook friends
- DM my twitter followers
- Outline my first post
And for the third goal:
- Start the “insanity 30” program
- Plan my diet according to the nutrition guide
All we do is just pickup from the 100-000-foot plan what you need to achieve in a shorter time period.
In my case, I choose 10 days, but you could do it every week. Whatever works for you.
You could just add these actions on a separate sheet.
Or you could write it in your journal.
I actually do this with The Freedom Journal. That is why I use 10 days BTW 😉
You could purchase it here. It made a huge difference to keep me on track for my goals that I want to achieve.
After you have your 10,000-foot plan, let’s get more specific.
Your 100-foot plan
Let’s get into the specifics.
This is your daily plan (aka your to-do list).
The importance of this plan is that it shows you what you need to accomplish today. After that, when you wear the next hat, you know what to do.
So where do you get these tasks? You guessed it, from the 10,000-foot plan 🙂
Here is a sample of a daily plan:
- Study the first lecture in anatomy
- Study the first lecture in oral bio
- Prepare for tomorrow’s physiology lecture
- Outline my next post
- Do the “insanity” workout
- Follow the nutrition plan
This was my to-do list for yesterday.
I think this gives you a clear plan.
You could simply copy/paste from the 10,000 view plan.
Or again, you could just do the freedom journal.
I also like the timelines in the self journal. It’s another great journal that I used for a while and I really liked it.
Or you could simply have a to-do list.
You could add any of these to the mix with or without using the journal.
But I suggest having a journal.
Now, you’ve a clear plan of what you want to achieve.
All you need to do is take action.
That’s where you put on…
The doing hat
Now, we come to the most important part… taking action.
Let me give it to you straight…
If you don’t take action, your business and life won’t move forward.
As I said in the beginning,
It’s not about the idea. It’s about the execution of the idea. You need to value the execution part way more than you value the idea itself.
So you should wear the doing hat all day long.
That is how you can achieve success in every aspect of your life.
So What Should You Do When You Wear This Hat?
- Be the type of worker who does stuff and doesn’t wonder why. Don’t rethink what you should do. You already did that above.
- Prevent distractions… by all means
- Focus on completing the tasks you’re given, 100% of the time.
So how can you achieve the above criteria when wearing the doing hat to finally grow your business to the level you want to?
There is 1 simple technique that helps in this situation.
The Pomodoro Technique: The Ultimate Time-Saver That Will Change Your Life
When I say the ultimate time-saver, I really mean it.
It’s a simple yet astonishingly powerful technique to get more done in less time.
So why is it that effective?
- Stop procrastination: You have nothing to do but work and take your business to the next level.
- Prevents distraction: When you work on something, you focus on doing it and don’t get distracted.
- Eliminate burnout: When you work in short segments of time, it’ll prevent you from burning out and hating your business.
Chris Winfeild has reported that he was able to reduce his working hours from 40 to 16.7 using this technique.
Glen Allsop was able to make more money in 2015 and he referred to the pomodoro technique as a tool that helped him achieve his goal.
That’s why when I wear the doing hat, I start my timer and apply the pomodoro technique right away.
And you need to do the same.
Here’s A Simple Overview Of This Technique:
- Choose a task from your daily to-do list that you want to accomplish.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes.
- Keep doing that task till the timer ends.
- Take a 5 minute break.
- Redo steps 1 through 4 till you finish the tasks you want to accomplish.
This is a simple description of the pomodoro technique.
The question now is…
How To Apply The Pomodoro Technique?
There are different ways to apply the pomodoro technique.
You could use a real timer and set it for 25 minutes and start working.
Or you could get an app on your mobile device and/or laptop to help you do the pomodoro technique.
There are different apps and it depends on the platform you have. Right now, I use Clear Focus on my android phone.
It’s a great, powerful tool.
Here are several other tools:
- Marinara Timer: This is a web-based tool. You can just keep the tab open and it’ll do the work. Great tool
- Focus Timer: This is one of the highly rated iphone apps.
But really, you could get it done with a real timer, and many are suggesting me to try it.
So make sure to try it.
I want to leave you with a tip that helped me double the benefits of the Pomodoro technique.
Work 50 Minutes And Rest For 10-15 Minutes
Here is a great trick I found one day and then tested.
The results are great. And I continue to use it to this day.
Instead of working for 25 minutes and taking 5 minutes off, it’s better to work 50 minutes and then rest 10-15 minutes.
I tried this tip after seeing the results of a study done by the Draugiem Group. I won’t go into a lot of detail about it, but you can find out more about it in this business insider post.
Here’s the part that made me want to try this idea:
The ideal work-to-break ratio was 52 minutes of work, followed by 17 minutes of rest.
People who maintained this schedule had a unique level of focus in their work. For roughly an hour at a time, they were 100% dedicated to the task they needed to accomplish. They didn’t check Facebook “real quick” or get distracted by emails.
When they felt fatigue (again, after about an hour), they took short breaks, during which they completely separated themselves from their work. This helped them to dive back in refreshed for another productive hour of work.
They also say that this was based on the energy levels in the body. I love this stuff, but it may be annoying for people who don’t study physiology “which is the best subject I’ve studied till now, maybe because of the doctor.”
For simplicity, you could work 2 pomodoros and then increase the break time from 5 minutes to 10-15 minutes.
Here’s exactly what I do.
As I said, I already use the Clear Focus app (for Android). I set the pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes. If I get really deep into focusing on something, I skip the first break and do 2 successive pomodoros.
After that, I take a break for 10-15 minutes.
And then I go back and repeat the steps.
It’s a simple technique to get more done while aligning with the levels of energy in your body.
It’s All About Execution (And Your Bonus)
You now know how to plan the right way…
You also know how to focus on a given task, forget about procrastination, prevent distraction and burnout, and get more done in less time using the pomodoro technique.
All you need to do now is to execute on all the new info you’ve just absorbed.
It may seem overwhelming but I don’t know of any other shortcut to reach your goals.
It’s simply about wearing the right hat at the right time, and getting the maximum benefit from each one.
So what should you do now?
I’m glad you asked. I just created a little bonus for you that goes alongside this article. It’s a simple checklist of all the items you need to implement to get the maximum benefit from wearing each hat.
All you need to do is print it and follow the steps. It’s that simple 🙂
You still have time to make this year your best year ever. You could change the course of your life.
Just start and take action.
Download the checklist and start integrating this system into your life.
You are steps away from reaching your goal. What are you waiting for to finally achieve your goal?