When I first started my business I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to do each day. I had 1,000,001 ideas, plans, needs, meditations, activities, and thoughts every second, but I didn’t know how to organize them in a productive way.
Should I post on social media? Should I create a client services package? Should I hire an accountant or a VA? What about my website and branding? When there are thousands of things you can do for yourself and your business each day, how do you make it all work?
Enter the 5×5 plan. I discovered this plan from She Takes On The World, and it transformed the way I prioritize my daily activities. (Side Note: You can also read about the entire process in The Conquer Kit: A Creative Business Planner for Women Entrepreneurs. It’s amazing.) The 5×5 plan helps me to decide what to do each day by reverse engineering my goals into manageable daily tasks. So here’s how I decide what to do and get it done.
Set 3-5 Major Goals For The Year. Think about what you want to accomplish and whittle down your list to 3-5 major goals for the year. This may seem like a small number, but trying to launch your website, serve 20,000 clients, write a daily blog post, and plan your wedding in one year is the ultimate set up for failure. When you set unrealistic expectations and don’t achieve what you set out to do, it can lead to all sorts of unnecessary negative self-talk and halt progress. By limiting yourself to the top 3 to 5 realistic goals, you focus yourself and manage expectations. Trust me, you’ll have more than enough to do to achieve those goals.
Set 5 Milestones For Each Goal With Deadlines. Want to know if you are heading in the right direction toward achieving your goals? Set milestones along your path to keep you focused. As an example, moving to a new place is one of my major goals this year. So in terms of milestones, I need to:
1) Pick a city and neighborhood
2) Budget and save for moving expenses
3) Organize, purge and pack my belongings.
4) Hire a realtor to assist in the search, etc.
For each of your 5 goals, you’ll want to set 5 milestones with deadlines for completion.
Once you have determined your 5 goals and 5 milestones, you have your 5×5 plan. It’s essentially a list of 25 mini goals and deadlines for your year.
Create an LATL
To translate your 25 mini goals into daily activities, I create an LATL – Long Ass To-do List. My LATL is a master list of everything I need to get done. It includes the tasks I need to achieve my mini goals and all of those day-to-day activities that come up like buy toothpaste, call my sister, buy a birthday gift, etc., It’s called a Long Ass To-Do List because it’s long. I mean really long, but I make it manageable by creating subheadings. The everyday to-do’s go under one heading and then the to-dos for my milestones go under separate subheadings. The list is handwritten, and I keep it in a planner that goes with me everywhere so when a new task comes up, I add it to the list.
Schedule and Prioritize
From my LATL, I schedule my monthly, weekly and daily goals. Using my 5×5 I can see what needs to be done by a certain date so I know what I need to schedule to make it happen. Once again, I limit those to 3-5. 3 to 5 goals for the month, 3-5 goals for the week, and 3-5 goals for the day. If I get more done great, If not, that’s okay too. I know I’ve made progress if I have accomplished my 3 to 5 things and limiting my to-do’s in that way leaves room for the rest of life to unfold.
How do you get sh*t done? Have a system that works for you or want feedback on what you already do? Let me know in the comments.