How to be in control of your life and achieve your goals
Google Calendar is the best productivity tool out there. It's the only one you need.
This is my Google Calendar. I have it blocked out by time, with different colors for different types of events. My goals, calls, tasks, and projects are all on there. It's almost like a scorecard for my life.
Since mid 2019, I've been using the "time block" approach in my life. I can't express how helpful it is in keeping me on track towards my goal, removing bluriness, and keeping me productive and focused.
When you use this approach, you accept that there is no urgency in your life and that everything can wait until it is the right time to deal with it. This means no sudden meetings or calls- everything is planned and well executed.
Before you plan your calendar, you must have a purpose for it. Otherwise, it will be just a bunch of events on your calendar that you cannot get yourself to align with.
Therefore, let's begin with your purpose first.
What are your goals for the next three months?
Before getting started, you must ask yourself this question: Where do you see yourself three months later?
- Your personal life... health
- Your family life... wife and kids
- Your education... learning new skills or knowledge
- Your business... new product, new service, customers, existing product or revenue
- Your finance... savings, emergency fund, expenses, income
- Your social life... friends, networking, new circles
- and more...
Take a sheet of paper (or maybe a journal?) and write the current date and each one of these points. Next to them, write where you see yourself three months later.
Here's an example;
- Your personal life: going to gym 4 days a week, eating three healthy meals a day with total 2000 calories
- Your family life: having a distraction-free family time every Friday evening, visiting a foreign country every month
- Your education: studying AI powered copywriting for sales emails
- Your business: release a new side project, sell four new licenses a month, get three new partners to the partner program
- Your finance: sustain 50% savings fund rate, top up the emergency fund, decrease fixed expenses by 20%
- Your social life: call old friends and meet them every three weeks.
Now, we have a purpose to live for the next three months :) The next step is to reverse engineer each one of these purposes and identify what to do:
- Your personal life: Hire a personal trainer, join a gym, schedule 1-hour workout sessions for Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Talk to a chef to help you get 2,000 calories per day from healthy foods.
- Your family life: Schedule Friday evenings as "Distraction Free Family Time" and reserve a table at restaurants for the next three months. Tell everyone in the family about this plan and make sure everyone commits to it.
- Your education: Find AI resources on the internet, buy books to read, and set aside enough time every day to learn about this topic.
- Your business: choose the side project topic, develop the project, identify the scope, decide how and where to sell your new licenses, talk to new solution partner candidates.
- Your finances: Analyze your expenses and cancel unnecessary expenses to increase your savings rate and minimize your expense rate.
- Your social life: Make a list of old friends you would like to meet. Reach out to them and schedule a one-hour lunch with them for the next three months.
Now we know what to do for each of our purposes. The next step is to allocate them on our calendars.
Before you schedule your actionable items on your calendar, you must first make a list of "must have" events such as;
- Breakfast: Every morning at 11am for 30 minutes
- Lunch: Every afternoon at 3pm for 30 minutes
- Dinner: Every evening at 7pm for an hour
- Taking the dog outside: Every morning at 9am and Every evening at 11pm for 30 minutes each
- Kids and school preps: Every morning at 6am for 2 hours
- Meditation: Every morning at 4am
- Having a healthy sleep: Every night at 11pm
- Boring time: Every Saturday morning at 7am for three hours (this is something I will write about soon)
- Kids responsibilities such as taking them to Piano lessons, sports, etc.: Every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm for three hours each
- Payments: Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 9am for an hour to process scheduled payments such as utility bills, etc.
Once you put these "must have" events on your calendar, you will notice how limited your time is every day to work on your purposes. But don't worry, you still have enough time to work on them.
The next step is to schedule time blocks for your purpose tasks. There are two important rules here:
- Each time block should be at least 30 minutes. Don't pretend to be something you're not. You can't focus on something and do it perfectly in 15 minutes. At least 30 minutes please.
- Time blocks cannot overlap unless they are related to each other. You cannot put "Read a book" and "Do workout" time blocks on the same hour slot. Be realistic please.
Once you've placed your purpose tasks on your calendar, you'll feel an amazing sensation inside :) Congratulations! You've identified your purposes in life for the next three months and decided what to do every single day to achieve them :)
If you still have those "empty" blocks on your calendar, you are very lucky. Spend your time as you wish or simply allocate them to your purpose tasks.
When you complete an event on your calendar, change the color of that event from the default color to "GREEN". If you are working on that event, change the color to "YELLOW":
- Default Color: Pending event
- Yellow Color: In Progress
- Green Color: Done
And don't forget, there's a saying:
Life is all about randomness, unpredictable and full of surprises. Things can change suddenly, and you may lose interest in something or have to deal with an unexpected situation.
You are not a robot, and you are not sending a rocket to space. Calm down, take it easy, and adjust your purposes, your tasks, your calendar at anytime in anyway you want. Align with circumstances, but no matter what, always have a purpose. It's like a north star in the dark night.
And please don't confuse having a purpose with goals. Goals can trap you. I always remind myself of this video when I notice that I'm setting goals in my life.