A detailed, 7-day plan to implement this yourself
Back in May, I was running seven projects and managing four teams, leading me to work 14 hours a day, at least six days per week. Obviously, that’s not sustainable. We all agree on that, yet I know so many others who do like I did.
Are you a workaholic like I was?
On May 5th, while switching to my Windows partition on my Mac, Windows decided to run updates. I was pressed for time. I waited five minutes — 10 minutes — 20 minutes… I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was mad, and; I never get mad! I stormed out of the coworking space, grabbed a notebook and a pen, and sat down in a quiet space.
I started jotting down things that bothered me. In the thick of the action, you think everything is going fine when in reality, things are going south. Way south. That’s what I realized after writing a full two pages of things I was not happy about.
I was shocked.
For the past 5 months, I was hacking away at my different projects, thinking everything was fine. I was losing money, making bad decisions, saying “yes” to too many things, I was surrounding myself with the wrong people, and was losing the respect of my collaborators.
Are you in a similar situation? Would you even know?
Needless to say, I felt down for a bit. But I couldn’t let it that way. I decided I needed a break to get some clarity around me. I decided to take a week-long break for two days from that time. Could I really leave everything hanging and not work? Not really at first glance, but there’s always a way when you think outside the box.
The inspiration for the self-improvement week came from Bill Gates who, every year, famously takes two-week-long vacations to read.
The results were even better than expected. In less than 90 days, I got increased clarity and focus, and more than tripled my revenues.
Here’s exactly how I did it and how you can do it too:
Day 1: Journal about yourself or your company
* In the following section, “you” refers to either yourself or your company, depending on what you need clarity on. I’d argue you need both.
Journaling is a powerful tool I dismissed for the longest time. I thought it would be meaningless when I started 7 months ago. I could not have been more wrong. Take the full first day doing a “brain dump” on paper.
Brainstorm about your burning desires, what your goals are for this week, what books you’d like to read in the next few months, what bothers you, who are the five people you spend the most time with and what you get from them, what’s your current chief aim, your 10-year chief aim and you life-long chief aim, your action plan to reaching your burning desires, what makes you great, who do you intend to become, what would you do if you had the money you need, why do you do each of the projects you’re working on currently, things you’ve learned by doing each project in the past few months, who you’d like to connect with, what are your biggest weaknesses, etc.
These are just ideas. The sky’s the limit!
Day 2: Find your chief aim
In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill asks: “What is your CHIEF AIM?”. Here it is, rephrased in a simple question: “Why do you do what you do?”.
Truly figuring this out is the first step to improving.
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” — Peter Drucker
That’s what this is about.
In my case, I split it into three different moments of my life: now, ten years from now, and lifetime. I kept it short for each. Here’s my lifetime chief aim: “Help people to thrive in the 21st century”.
Keep it short, using simple words. Remind yourself of it every day.
Day 3: Get clarity on your current situation vs your chief aim
This one can hurt depending on how far you are from your chief aim. Be precise about your current situation. Define what works and what doesn’t. List everything you’re currently doing and not currently doing towards your chief aim.
For today, focus on the “what” and the “why”, not the “how”. It’s impossible to come up with solutions before you have the full picture. This is where a lot of people go wrong. The best solutions are very rarely obvious, otherwise, you would have found them earlier.
Ask friends or employees you trust on their own personal views. Ask for the truth. The brutal honesty. “Fake truth” is not helping anyone.
Day 4: Plan how to get to your chief aim
With all the clarity you got from the previous day, and a good night’s sleep where your subconscious worked for you overnight, you’re ready to define the “how”.
List all the actions you need to take to get to your chief aim. Be as precise as you possibly can. Make sure you can quantify or qualify each action’s result.
Don’t worry about timeline and feasibility yet. Pretend you have all the resources in the world to make it happen. If you limit yourself to resources you think you have, these are the resources you’ll have.
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford
That’s the same principle here.
I personally create a list of goals and break them down into actionable items, which I then break down into 5–20-minute tasks.
Day 5: Put your plan into a calendar
Now that you know what you need to do, it’s time to figure out where to allocate your human and financial resources. This exercise is harder than it seems at first. I’d argue that the first step would be to define the resources you have available. If a resource is not immediately available, how can you get it, and is it worth the effort?
Once you’ve done that, open up a calendar and put the action tasks exactly when they need to be done. If you can specify a time, even better. My tool of choice is TeamWeek, but a regular calendar can work too.
It will seem overwhelming, but remember these two things:
“It is better to aim high and miss than aim low and hit.” — Les Brown
“To do anything to a high level, it has to be total obsession.” — Conor McGregor
Day 6 & 7: Read, do some physical activities, relax, and let your subconscious do the work
You’ve done all the hard work, now’s the time to take it slow and let your subconscious do the work.
During these two days, stimulate your brain by reading a good book, do some walking, jogging, hiking or biking, and relax in nature, not thinking about anything in particular. Try meditation or yoga to help with that.
In truth, you should do all of the above activities every day during your self-improvement week, but just at a lower intensity.
The self-improvement week dramatically improved my life and my business situation. I’m more successful and happier for it. In the end, it’s all about getting clarity and focusing on what really matters. What may seem like an unproductive week, in reality, turns into the most productive week you’ll have all year until you repeat it again the next year.
So try it out and see how it affects every aspect of your life.
You can do this!
Thanks for reading, sharing, and following! :)
- Have you done something similar?
- Do you want to try it? Why? Why not?
First published here: https://theascent.pub/how-a-self-improvement-week-can-more-than-3x-your-revenues-in-less-than-90-days-a202d03e6a7e