planning

Weekly Planning That Makes A Difference

One of the most requested topics we hear about from you all is time management. This is something that we almost universally struggle with because our brains are focused on survival (expelling the least amount of energy possible) while our ambition is focused on success. The two competing forces often lead to the frustrating feeling of not enough hours in a day.

When I first began my study of time management, I focused heavily on daily planning. Winning the day by waking up early and making the most of the morning hours and staying efficient through regimented habits. What really made the biggest difference is when I added an element of weekly planning. For me, I tackle weekly planning on Sunday afternoons/evenings. It serves to wind down my weekend and allow me to hit the ground running on Monday morning.

Just imagine how much more productive you could be if you kicked off Monday morning by getting straight to work on tasks you know you needed to accomplish instead of making a list of those tasks! But weekly planning is a bit different than daily planning because it takes the big picture into account.

Step One: Define Your Goals

Proper planning starts by defining what your goals are. Often times, we make ambiguous goals and struggle to make plans to accomplish them because the goals are so loosely defined that a plan is next to impossible. Instead, focus on your top 3 goals. Don’t limit yourself just to business either. What are your goals for your personal life too?

Step Two: What Impacts Your Goals

The next step requires you to complete a sort of objective analysis of what is happening in your life. You need to be really honest with yourself and define - what things have a big impact on these goals? These could be activities, habits, or even plans. Most importantly, they have to have an impact on your level of success. Take care to be honest about both positively and negatively impacting things. Remember, your success is in your hands but we understand that there are always outside influences at play.

Step Three: Time Block For Your Goals

The difference between planning and calendar management is a key distinction to understand. Planning is about strategically reviewing your actions and your schedule to see how you can give yourself the best chances of success. Calendar management is simply a supply/demand exercise. Yet, together - the two are one of the most beneficial ways to develop great habits. During both Step One & Two, you’re able to objectively review the actions you need to take. You have no excuse of time constraints and don’t even need to answer the question “when?” until now. The final piece of the planning puzzle gets you to not only say what you need to commit to do, but when you will commit to do it. It establishes personal accountability, which can be a powerful factor in getting things done.

Whether you’re just getting started with planning or this is a practice you have long held, these tips can help you quickly become a better planner. You’ll begin to see things objectively and really benefit from only a few minutes each week and each day seeing the impact almost immediately.

Happy planning!



Maintaining An Attitude of Gratitude

Picture this: the dogs are barking, kids forgot their homework, you ran out of coffee, your deal is crumbling, and it’s only 7 am. When life gets in the way, it is not only challenging - but some days it is downright hard to maintain an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude has a number of scientifically proven benefits such as higher self-esteem, enhanced empathy, better sleeping habits, and even better social connections. With evidence of the benefits of gratitude, why do we still struggle to maintain that feeling?

Last year, I began a practice of living my attitude of gratitude. Not just acknowledging my feelings, but also making the point of assigning gold stars of sorts to the people in my life who I feel grateful for and the things in my life that I feel most blessed about. As soon as I made gratitude a practice versus an intention - everything shifted. I found myself able to have better interactions with my family after a stressful day; I was able to shrug off the small stuff (admittedly not all of it, but hey, I’m a work in progress); and I even found myself having more energy.

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The practice began with my utilizing the 5 Minute Journal each morning and evening as the journal teaches. Starting my day with gratitude and getting into the mindset that “I’m going to have a great day” begins my day with the positivity that I need to accomplish the big tasks and “swallow the frog”. Then, after the stress of the day happens, I’m forced to pull out the great things that happened - potentially shifting my mindset to a positive place highlighting the great things that happened instead of letting setbacks burn into my mind. The other aspect I love is that it also forces you to end the day in a growth mindset - focusing on how you can improve or do things differently.

The 5 Minute Journal has drastically impacted my attitude of gratitude and I hope it can do the same for you. I get no kickbacks or kudos when you buy it, I simply endorse it as a life-changing practice. If you have a goal to show more gratitude in 2019, I strongly recommend purchasing your copy today.

Top Tips to Crush Your Content in 2019

We are big believers that content marketing is hands-down the best low-cost, high-leverage strategy for providing value to prospects and generating business. Not to mention, it is so versatile - offering a strategy for agents from a variety of scenarios. Still, the key to great content isn’t only the ideas, it is the execution, which must be thoughtful and relevant to your audience.

As with any marketing strategy, the success is in the consistency and our favorite way to stay consistent is to utilize a content calendar to help pre-plan your content while still leaving space for timely content pieces that can supplement your plan.

When the secret is in the consistent daily actions - we want to make it easier for you to implement. So, we’re sharing our content calendar template (the same one we use here), here are a few helpful tips to executing your plan well.

1. Identify the topics your audience cares about

Different audiences want to hear about different topics and in order to execute a content marketing strategy effectively, you have to consider this when crafting your content. Who are you speaking to? What are the things they care about? What mediums do they utilize? Remember, your content can strike out if you’re just posting it blindly.

2. What frequency can you sustain?

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Sure, posting multiple times per day sounds great and yes, the effectiveness is proven. But if you can’t consistently keep to your content calendar, you might as well not take the time to complete one. Instead, focus on what you can sustain (even when you’re busy). What resources and systems can you implement to leverage when your schedule is more packed?

3. Engagement is essential.

Okay, so you have the best topics, you’ve implemented a schedule and system so that you can regularly post - but oh no! You’re not there to engage with your audience when you post! Tisk, tisk! The point of posting is to engage your audience and utilize low-cost marketing tactics to gain a larger reach and more effective conversations. If you are scheduling posts and not able to respond to comments or interact with your audience, you’re missing the point.

4. Be flexible to time-sensitive content.

While we love the convenience and increased opportunity for consistency that prior planning offers, there are also bound to be timely posts that can really generate a lot of traffic and engagement. Don’t miss those opportunities. Consider supplementing your content calendar or even rearranging it to allow for timely content. We believe that sustainable content calendars are split roughly 50/50 or maybe even a 60/40 pre-planned content/timely content ratio.

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5. Research but give credit!

Many people fail with effective content strategies because they think it all has to be their content. That just simply is not the case. There are so many resources in our local communities that it makes perfect sense to cross-post content to your audience. That said, be sure you are crediting your sources. Taking credit for something you didn’t create just plain isn’t cool.

We know that creating content is tough, but an effective content marketing strategy can make a huge difference in your business. Let 2019 be the year that you build your content strategy and become a true community resource.

Our Favorite Planners to Win Your Year

A goal without a plan is just a dream

The new year has kicked off and we’re anxious to hear about how you’re making it your best year ever. As we all know, the secret to real success is in the consistent daily actions we take toward our goals. Below are a few of our favorite planners to help you put your daily actions in plan and move from dreaming to execution making 2019 your best year ever.

The 5 second journal

The 5 Second Journal has been my go-to planner for about a year now. I love the simplicity that it offers during my planning time first thing in the morning. Without overcomplicating the process or asking a million questions, The 5 Second Journal has the ability to give you clarity and perspective all while preparing to tackle the day strategically, accomplishing your most important tasks and putting you in an execution mindset.

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This is the perfect planner for the overthinker, serial analyzer, or perfectionist because it gives you just enough time to prepare before getting you stuck in a state of getting ready to get ready.

The High Performance Planner

New to the market, the High Performance Planner is truly designed for the dedicated individual. Part planner, part journal - this tool helps you strategize your entire life to be more productive in every aspect of your day. Morning mindset journals help you start each day with both gratitude and purpose, while evening journals help you understand where you excelled and where you need to improve throughout the day. But, the magic is in the middle when you combine all the elements to be more focused, productive, and effective all day long.

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Committing To Yourself

Most of us began the new year with a list of resolutions or goals for the upcoming year. We're all going to end 2017 in the best shape of our lives, with limitless income, and parent of the year badges. Or at least, that's how we start the year...

But if you look back to your 2016, many of you will find that you had the same setbacks, challenges, and bad habits that you had in 2015 or even 2014! You are keeping your problems year after year despite setting out with the best of intentions. Herein lies the one of the fundamental problems that we have with achieving our goals. Many of us make goals - even writing them down, but don't make the changes necessary to achieve those goals - so, we end up in the same place we started. We speak powerful words, but we don't commit to powerful action. Why is that? Author Lisa Jacobs puts it very simply, "If you wanted to travel from Pittsburgh to New York, you can't sit down on a park bench in Pittsburgh and wonder why you're not getting to New York." Yes, while many of us laugh at this sentiment and think "of course you can't!" that same group is found wondering why they haven't achieved their goals year after year. Why, you ask? Because you're sitting on the park bench! Because you are being a spectator in your own life instead of getting on the field! 

This weekend, my 5 year old (5 1/2 year old if you were to ask him) went to basketball practice. This is a new activity for him that he has only been doing for about two months. He's still learning, but when his coach told the kids that they should practice making 200 shots per day, this 5 year old didn't take it lightly. After being at practice on Saturday, he couldn't wait to tell me how he was going to make his 200 shots every day because he wants to get "really good." But then something truly wonderful happened. He got off the park bench! Ryland spent nothing short of 3-4 hours outside sinking shots. He missed more than he made at first, but as the time went on, he started sinking more than he made. He was determined to get to his 200. Shortly after 6:00pm. I stood in the darkness shooting with him and he made his 200th shot! I caught the aftermath on video! 

What is remarkable about this wasn't the 200 shots on Saturday afternoon, although that was undeniably remarkable. Already proud of his commitment to his goals, I gushed with pride as he woke up Sunday morning ready to shoot his 200 baskets. Not because I reminded him, but because he made a commitment to himself. This is what active progress toward your goals looks like. This is what commitment is. I don't tell you this story to brag (although, it is certainly a brag worthy step-parenting moment). I tell you this story because this commitment displayed by a 5 year old is more than what many adults commit to. Kids are constantly learning, growing, and most importantly - doing. As adults, we could learn a thing or two from them. I know that I have. 

If you want to break those bad habits - finally lose those 5 lbs, grow your business, be a happier version of yourself, or even become a better basketball player - you have to get off the park bench. You have to commit to your 200 shots with action, not just words. And when you feel like you have an excuse as for why you can't, watch the video of the 5 year old who is making 200 shots every day and tell me why you can't accomplish your goals, too.

So, what's your plan today? 

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