Rule number 1 for getting things done (ruthless priority industry)

One of the biggest struggles of the millennium is to determine what we should do with our time through data overload.

Can you really blame us?

Every time you look at your phone, dozens of pings, notifications and alerts flood the screen.

They all seem urgent. All of them can be important.

So we spend whole days, weeks, months on these conflicting claims without any specific priorities.

Like a grocery list, we drop items into our baskets, check them out of the list, and hopefully we don’t forget anything.

The goal is to get rid of all the clutter and work only on the basic items that will actually move your life forward.

Decide how you should spend your time

If you don’t take anything else from this article, remember this: your life is not a grocery list. You just have to “check off” and not call it a day.

Your day is not a collection of random work. Not everything on your plate is equally important – and that means a lot of seemingly “urgent” items can fall by the wayside when you work with a small number of purposes that are really important.

Once you understand this concept at a basic level, life becomes much easier.

Not often, start-up entrepreneurs confuse “speed” with progress and work on things that do not move the needle. They make themselves “feel” productive and do something to get it done.

For example:

  • Opening a business checking account in the first week – There’s no money in it … but it’s nice to have that debit card. It sounds official, doesn’t it?
  • Launching Twitter and Facebook accounts – Must have a “presence” on social media. Bonus points if you visit some shady websites and buy 3,000 robot fans from India.
  • Domain names, brand names or logos are painful for weeks / months – Because you read an article Fast company About the importance of branding.
  • 2,000 business cards are being ordered – The logo you got into trouble with… then after you pass 12, you realize that you really hate them. The cards sit on the top shelf of your closet until you move.
  • Creating an LLC, S-Corp, etc. – You know … for tax purposes …

None of this makes the slightest difference in the beginning. And trust me, I smile when I write this because I did them all. It took me many years to realize that I was really doing these things to inflate my own ego and sense of accomplishment, all the time, actually avoiding meaningful work.

So what kind of thing deserves your time and attention?

If you start a business, your main focus should be something that makes money or leads directly to making money.

That’s it.

These may include:

  • Set up meetings with potential customers
  • Calling cold, knocking on doors or sending inquiries via email
  • Working with your friends, family and colleagues on the referral network to find people who need your product / service
  • Create content designed to attract your ideal customers
  • Client work

This is a difficult thing. They are uncomfortable. They are not glamorous.

But they make money. And you don’t have to do them a million times to start seeing results

There will be tons of other things that pop up in your day. Emails will be flooded, confusion will be created and other purposes will be left on your priority list.

That’s right – add those things to the list. But never forget that you have a limited amount of time to do things every day.

Focus on the things that make you pay.

For example, yesterday I dumped a brain into my notebook and these were the objectives I set for the day:

  1. Do 3 hours of uninterrupted book editing
  2. Follow with editors (5 different online publications)
  3. Have lunch with a friend in town
  4. Email back tribal member
  5. Add the widget back to the website
  6. Get Facebook Ad Picks
  7. Rich20 team plans new product shooting schedule

The temptation to write this list and immediately start hacking it like a shopping list.

But this is not the smartest method.

If I look at it, I see that some items are money makers – so they need to come first. Others take more mental energy – they have to happen early in the day, when I’m fresh. There are some things I want to do, but that really won’t get me going.

Let’s just say I’ve revised the list based on what really matters.

The new list will look like this:

  1. Do 3 hours of uninterrupted book editing
  2. Rich20 team plans new product shooting schedule
  3. Get Facebook Ad Picks
  4. Follow with editors
  5. Have lunch with a friend in town
  6. Email back tribal member
  7. Add the widget back to the website

Now notice that three things directly related to earning income are now prioritized, followed by the most intellectually challenging items, then more rot tasks.

Now, this list is set up so that even if I only finish half the items, the most important things are taken care of.

This is the level of priority with which your days should be designed – so that even on an “off” day, you are still making progress.

Once you’ve learned how to think about your day and determine what really matters, it’s time to shorten your priority list.

Shrink your list and be ruthless with your priorities

Remember this: the to-do list is strong. Long to-do list is disabled.

Once you prioritize your list and actually move the sweetie, I want you to halve that list.


The reasons for this are both realistic and psychological.

Using the to-do list above, think about what’s going on in the background.

If I start with this list, and I’m only able to do about half the work (which is pretty common any day) it looks like this (Dark meaning done):

  1. Write my book, 3 hours without interruption
  2. With new product shooting schedule planning Rich 20 team
  3. Get Facebook Ad Picks
  4. Follow with editors (failed)
  5. Have lunch with a friend in town
  6. Tribal Member Email Back (Failed)
  7. Add widget to website (failed)

I’ve done some major things. It’s hard work! But looking at this list in the current situation, I feel bad about my own progress. Because I did less than half of what I wanted to do for the day.

Psychologically, it is defeated.

If I make such a long list day after day and do not finish, I will always feel left behind. I’ll always feel incomplete.

But what if we cut this list in half?

I feel much better about this list, although it’s the same as before:

  • Write my book, 3 hours without interruption
  • With new product shooting schedule planning Rich 20 team
  • Have lunch with a friend in town

(Since I have to see my friend, I have re-prioritized my list for the second time.)

This is a complete to-do list.

This is a successful day.

This is something I can create.

Now I know what’s on the tap for tomorrow.

And if I get 5-7 items today, it actually feels like a bonus,

Think about it this way: whether you completed 3 out of 7 days… or 3 out of 3… you are still completing the same amount of work – but one list leaves you feeling empty and dissatisfied, the other leaves you confident and happy with your daily progress.

You’ve actually done less and done more.


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