Your opportunity is time, allocated wisely.

In meditation this morning, I asked The Universe to show me the opportunities I needed to make our goals a reality. The Universe’s response* was “Your opportunity is time, allocated wisely.”

This reminded me of a meme I saw four or five years ago:

 

That realization was the catalyst that started me on my quest for optimal time management. Because if Beyoncé could figure out how to become Beyoncé with only 24 hours in every day, then I could certainly figure out how to become Danielle.

Since then, people have asked me things like, “Do you ever sleep?” and “I feel like you’re a rush of activity, but you also seem to have so much leisure time. What?”

Friends, I get 8 – 9 hours of restful sleep every night. I meditate almost daily. I dork around on Facebook for 1 or 2 hours every day. Russ and I have dinner together almost every night, and watch between 3 and 4 hours of television every night. And yet I also lead a small company called Outlaw Soaps, have a great contracting job with Mozilla, and wrote a book (and continue to write them). I go to the gym about 3x per week and hang out with people I love, doing exercises I enjoy.

It’s a good life.

There’s no reason you need to be running around harried.

Here are the fundamental driving principles behind my time management strategy:

1. Manage Your Priorities

I have tried many time management techniques, and really, the biggest and most important time management technique I have found is PRIORITY MANAGEMENT. Because you can optimize every one of your actions, work 30 hours every day, and chase your feet to the bone on a treadmill, but if your actions are working toward a goal you don’t care about, then your time is still wasted.

This is why I created the Goal Workshop as one of my very first pieces of content. It’s that important to me.

When you are clear about your priorities and what is important to you:

  1. You can stay motivated even when stuff gets hard – and stuff will get hard
  2. It’s easier to decide what tasks are of no use (see point #2, below)
  3. It’s easier to identify what tasks are valuable, and make time to prioritize those tasks (see point #3, below)
  4. Articulating your priorities to other people is easier, so if you’re working with other people, they can understand the logic behind your priorities and not even bother you with stuff that isn’t in your priorities

2. Reduce Inefficiency

“Do nothing that is of no use.” – saying I heard somewhere

“80% – 90% of stuff we do doesn’t matter.” – Gary Vaynerchuck

Between these two principles is the answer: Don’t do 80% – 90% of the things that you think you “have to” or “should” do. If it aligns with your priorities and is in the 10% of tasks that will create meaningful progress, then it must be done. Otherwise, don’t do it. Delegate it to someone else and let go of the outcome, because it probably isn’t that important.

3. Actually do the things that need to be done

This is actually the hardest part for me, and I have been trying my darndest to figure out a way to be sure to actually do the things that need to be done. From the beginning of my time management journey, I have been trying to craft systems. The Checklist of Doom was one such attempt. I still do believe in that and am going to be incorporating it into my future time management system, but I am shamed to admit that I don’t use it now.

For now, I just have a bunch of pieces of paper with daily lists on them.

I know. It’s not fancy. There are online tools like Asana I have tried to use, but the tasks build up.

Since most of the tasks are timely, if I don’t finish a task list in 24 hours, I decide what to carry over (what still fits in the 10% of things I need to do) and throw out the rest. There’s no point in doing tasks too late (except taxes). Let them go. It has been proven time and time again that letting shit go (and self-compassion is a big part of this, which I’ll discuss later) is the best way to reduce stress and build enjoyment of life.

My most recent attempt is this daily worksheet:

planner sheet

(click to download)

The best explanation I have come up with so far is this: As long as you are only attempting to do the 10% of tasks that create meaningful progress toward your actual goals, even if you don’t do all of them, you’re still making measurable progress.

Perfection is not the goal here, incremental improvement is.

Assorted other rabble

Once those Big Three Principles guide your time management, you’re doing great. Not only will you be living on purpose, you’ll be making progress toward your measurable goals in a stress-free way.

There are a few other things that you can add to the mix like salt:

  • My friend introduced me to the 1 Minute Rule the other day, and I have been dabbling with implementing it.
  • Delegation: I am really blessed to have capable, competent people around me. If I delegate something to Ruth or Russ or Alyssa, I know it’s going to be done right 99% of the time.
  • Ask for help. People really do want to help you. And yeah, in some cases, you have to ask them, and you feel like you shouldn’t have to ask them… but do you want to be offended, or do you want to get the shit done? It is what it is. Get shit done.

Ok, that’s it! Those are my principles! And now I’m off to conquer the day!

* Yes, I do believe that I can get divinely-inspired messages

The Goals Workshop: We’re in this together

I’ve been hearing from people about how much they’re loving the 2017 Goal Workshop. Have you taken a look at it yet? What do you think?

I also heard that a couple people didn’t get the announcement email that the course was even open, so in case you missed it: 2017 Goals Workshop

I’m so excited to hear how the course is working for people! It’s wonderful to see people getting started with some bold choices in their lives. My friend Cindy wrote this in our Facebook group (which you should totally join):

“I’m watching some of the classes and Danielle says this thing – that if you can think of a goal – you can achieve that goal – no matter how out of reach it seems. and my whole self rebels – thinks, ‘No way man, I have all of these goals, and I don’t know they’re so crazy, how could that even be?’ – and so on. Here it is 30 minutes later and I’m still chewing on it. And then – in a moment of serendipity – on my Pandora station comes a [singer name removed] song. Back in 2007, I bought this album from Amoeba. I fell in love with [her] voice, bought all of her records, got my bandmate also obsessed with her music, and basically spent a few years with her being my favorite musician. My dream goal was to play with her just once someday. Well – one night at band practice we’d been drinking – and I decided to send her a myspace message about playing a show in the Bay Area next time she’s on tour down here. Long story short – she’s now one of my best friends, we’ve gone on tour together whoa maybe almost 10 times?, I stay at her house, she stays at mine, and that goal that seemed bonkers insane is now just the commonplace news of the day around here. So I guess it all is possible. Even if the steps / road isn’t clear yet – maybe it really is possible.” (edited lightly, emphasis mine)

And if you’ve watched the first video, you know that I also have a really huge goal of how many people I impact positively in 2017: 152,000 people! So if you feel compelled to share the course with friends, I’d really appreciate it.

Why is my goal to positively impact 152,000 people in 2017? Because times are complicated. It’s a rough time for optimists these days. It’s easy to be optimistic when things are going well, but 2016 has been a pretty rough year for a lot of people. It seems like every day, we hear something new and awful – whether it’s a tweet from the president-elect, or the death of an inspirational icon, it has been a very rough year.

It feels like people are more discouraged than ever about the future of our country and our culture.

And how many of your friends are discouraged, struggling, frustrated, and maybe even hopeless?

But I don’t think it has to be that way. I think we can collect ourselves and be mighty. I think if we become our best possible versions of ourselves, we can make a real difference.

I feel like it’s our responsibility and our duty to stand up and be our best selves right now.

Because the world needs us to be as mighty as we can be.

So that’s why I want you to share the goals workshop. It’s important. It’s helpful. It’s a way you can make a difference in someone’s life.

And I’m always open to hearing suggestions about how to improve and increase my impact, since 152k is a heck of a goal (right?). If you have any ideas on how to spread the message further and create measurable positive impact, please do share them with me. We’re all in this together.

The bizarre and and somewhat sideways launch of the 2017 Goal Workshop – or – the rocky road to goal mountain

It was so simple. It was so simple: I teach a free workshop on a thing I have done twenty some-odd times, just before the new year, when everyone’s ready to set some goals, and people will be able to use this awesome goal-setting technique and HECK YEAH! LET’S ALL BE FRICKEN’ AWESOME!

And I went through this time-honored practice, noting down each step so I could capture my own way of doing it… but then I thought, “You know, I should research what other experts teach about goal-setting…” and “You know, I should also build something that calculates priorities, kind of like my project prioritizer, but for goals…” and then my mom reminded me of this great exercise we used to do to calculate the pros and cons, weighted by values, and I thought “oh my gosh! I should include that!”

My notes grew and grew.

I got more and more worried about the class.

And the timing that seemed so perfect turned into a massive nightmare as our Outlaw Soaps Ships were smashed against holiday atoll after holiday atoll.

Side note: typing “holiday atoll” led me to wonder what a holiday atoll would really look like. And I found these amazing photos. I want to go there.

Holidays at atolls aside, we had a magnificent great Outlaw Soaps holiday season – certainly nothing to complain about at all, except that I had foolishly scheduled this goal workshop, which was turning into something that was more suited to 5 months than 5 days.

Just look at all those individually wrapped items going to Amazon to be fulfilled! Tremendous!!!

And the date of the course kept sneaking closer, and I kept wondering exactly how I was going to pull this off, since now I was venturing into territories where I’d have to study how to make printables, and maybe not everyone would have Excel, and people would complain on Twitter… wait, did I remember to queue my Tweets and Instagram and Facebook posts? Did I literally launch a social media course and get so swamped I couldn’t spend the hour it takes to stack my Tweets? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME, DANIELLE.

It was about that time when I had a come-to-Jesus with my friend and recorded that video about being overwhelmed.

His advice was to regroup and figure out what could be cut, but in my mind, nothing could be cut. Mozilla was important. Outlaw was critical. The courses are already scheduled, and plus, how often do you get to actually fulfill your life purpose? Don’t ever cut those projects. Ever.

I went back to meditating daily, a practice which had fallen off since I got swept up in the season.

And somewhere in there, probably shortly after I realized I couldn’t do anything about Amazon or Christmas orders anymore, I realized people weren’t signed up for the goal course to get some other person’s goal-setting methods, people signed up for my goal class.

MY GOAL CLASS USING MY METHODS

I regrouped. I went back to basics.

It was surprisingly easy, almost like going back to muscle memory.

I started putting together the modules and making the handouts on Friday and recorded all the videos on Saturday.

The course came together, and when I called it a day on Christmas Eve, I felt proud of what I had done: I had created a system for the method that had worked for me for most of my life. I had somehow summarized years of experience into this tiny little goal course.

After I called it a wrap, I kept thinking of things to add. I kept thinking of things that I could have recorded better, or said more clearly, or defined in a different way.

At the end of the day (that day being yesterday, Christmas), I decided to just re-record the intro and affirmation #2, which were giving me the most trouble, and leave the rest.

People have liked it.

There have been some notes, but for the most part, response has been positive.

Most importantly, one of my long distance friends, Belinda HellYeah!, booked a flight to come all the way from Australia to (among other things) meet me in person! And if that’s all that comes out of the whole course, that will have been enough.

I really have no idea what else will come out of the workshop, but my sincere hope is that people are inspired to take steps toward their own goals, to define them, and to put them to use. Even just for a little while, because progress is always progress.

When it comes down to it, I really am just doing this because I believe in people. I believe in my friends. I believe that they — more than most other people in the world — are capable and worthy of MASSIVE GOOD, both for themselves, and for anything or anyone one they touch.

If I can do anything at all to facilitate that, it doesn’t matter how scared I am or how weird I feel, I have to stand up and do it.

So, anyways, that’s the goal course.

If you have signed up for it, I hope you use it to take over the world. If you haven’t, hey, give it a try. It’s free and kind of a big deal to me.

 

Free Worksheet: Time Management Starts With Priorities Management

In this Sunday’s video, I talk about my three foundations for an awesome life:

  1. Excellent time management
  2. Prioritizing your tasks for impact
  3. Building great relationships with amazing people

The first step in managing your time is deciding what projects are most important to you (so you can decide where to spend your time).

I’ve created a handy way of prioritizing your projects so you can see mathematically where your time is best spent. Because numbers don’t lie.

Download the Excel file here

Want to go a little further? Sign up for my (free) Goal Setting Workshop.

If you want more like this, sign up for my newsletter:



What kind of a goal-setter are you?

“Set wildly ambitious goals, and you’ll get results beyond your wildest ambitions!” – lots of self help books

How many times have you heard that? If you’ve ever read a book on achievement or goals or life, you’ve probably heard it tiresome numbers of times.

qtq80-6XwszZSo you went about setting your wildly ambitious goal — make $200,000/year, let’s say — and you read the affirmations — “I make $200,000/year!” — and yet there was a little voice inside your head that said “Wait a minute! No I don’t.” And pretty soon that big crazy goal seemed just plain stupid and maybe a little delusional, and definitely out of reach, and so you quit.

Wrong goal style, wrong results.

There’s nothing wrong with you. This doesn’t mean you’re “not a goal person” or “just not cut out for that kind of thing,” it just means that the person who wrote that inspirational book had different motivational style than you do.

Personally, I love impossible dreams. Impossible dreams motivate me and make me work harder, because I truly in my heart am an optimist and I believe anything is possible.

But if you’re a realist and you need a fairly realistic trajectory, I’m not going to try to convince you that the universe is infinite. You will still benefit from written goals.

Don’t get me wrong, I still do believe that the universe is infinite and we can achieve amazing things if we are sufficiently motivated, but you don’t have to believe that in order for goals to be an important and practical part of your life.

Here’s why: without written goals, life is just a big ol’ pile of to-do lists.

You may shuffle through them, crossing off tasks and getting stuff done, and meanwhile the things that you have in your heart — like riding a horse, or having a weekend with your best friend — don’t get done. It’s important to keep these bookmarked and present in your life.

I’ve been setting goals for years upon years, and I know it’s so important to have a well-rounded life. I think part of us knows that, and that part will sabotage any single-minded focus if we haven’t fully rounded out our goals.

If you’re interested in setting some really amazing goals that are right for your personality, sign up for my totally free goal-setting course.

The Logical and Practical Reason to Write Down Your Goals

I wrote about the Woo Woo Spiritual Reason to Write Down Your Goals a couple days ago. But if you’re not into the woo-woo spirituality thing, you may want to know the Spock-like logical reason to write down your goals.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar

Writing down your goals helps you take a serious look at who you have to become and what connections you must make in order to achieve them. When we write down goals, we start to create a mental list of the skills we need and the attitudes we have to adopt.

For example, one of my chief aims is to get Outlaw Soaps to $1.6M in annual revenue by 2021. When I wrote down that goal, and worked back what I had to do in order to get there, I realized I needed a good advisor or mentor, and maybe an investor… but before I could get an advisor or an investor, I needed a better idea of our current financial situation. So I reached out to an accountant I met at the Quickbooks Connect conference last week.

Why was I at the Quickbooks Connect conference? Because earlier this year, I decided that in order to move our business to the next level, I needed to make some new connections. Shortly after I made that decision, a discount code for the conference showed up in my inbox.

Blah blah blah the Universe blah blah woo woo spiritual stuff aside, it’s likely that dozens of promotional messages for conferences (and probably even for that particular conference) had landed in my inbox before that message, but I hadn’t paid any attention to them because they weren’t relevant to me. But as soon as I realized I needed to make different connections — BAM — here was the Quickbooks Connect conference (with a discount code!).

In addition to meeting a great accountant (happily coincidentally in my local area), I also met one of the authors I most admire, and picked up a lot of knowledge about selling on Amazon. I made some great advances in my quest to be the type of person who is a CEO of a $1.6M company, that’s for sure!

Written goals, revisited regularly, keep you focused on what you want in your life and give you a much better chance of getting them

Hey, nothing is certain, but wouldn’t you rather have the absolute best chance of getting what you want, rather than living your life as a cork on the water?

If you want some videos and worksheets on goal setting, sign up for my goal workshop.

The Woo-Woo Spiritual Reason to Write Down Your Goals

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho

I think there’s a reason I am becoming more woo-woo spiritual as I get older: I have been too many places and seen too many things to deny there’s some weird shit going on here.

I don’t care if you believe in God or the Universe or a flying spaghetti monster or source energy or whatever, I think everyone comes to a point in their lives when they go “Oh holy shit. I get what I ask/act for.

If you’re not there, you’re either too inexperienced in the ways of the Universe, or you’re not asking for big enough stuff.

But if you’re reading this, I’m just gonna assume you’re on board with the whole woo-woo “Universe conspires to help you” stuff.

So, Why are SPECIFIC Goals Important?

It’s easy: when you don’t have clear, specific goals, the Universe keeps throwing stuff at you to try on. Some of it is stuff you like, some of it is stuff you don’t like.

The Universe is handing you all these “opportunities” (sometimes in the form of majorly earthly-shitty things, I’ll grant you that), not knowing which you’ll take and react bonkers awesome to and which you’ll stagger under the weight of their burden. To the Universe, it’s all just doors to other realities that you may or may not want.

You might think “But the Universe has to know I don’t want to get fired, right? I mean, exactly how dumb is this Universe anyways? And what am I going to do without this job?” (or any of the number of other shitty things that might happen) To the Universe, this is an opportunity. Maybe it’s an opportunity to find a different job, or start a business, or realize you’re totally in the wrong career! Mayyyybe it’s not the opportunity you wanted, but this is the Universe’s version of an opportunity.

“Idle hands are the Devil’s playground” on the Universe’s scale is a pretty dang humongous thing.

But the minute you tell The Universe what you want, it gets to work on that immediately. If you keep thinking about it as happening, and getting ready for it, pretty soon the thing you want will come along.

That’s why if you have vague goals, you get vague results — eh, it’s pretty close to what you wanted, but it’s not hitting a home run.

But Why are WRITTEN Goals Important?

Our brains have a funny way of attaching to disbelief.

I don’t know why… maybe we’re all just too smart for our own good, or we’ve been so bombarded with jaded messaging that we’ve become jaded.

But writing down your specific goals is a way of keeping yourself honest about the miracles unfolding in front of you. You need to know when you’ve crossed the finish line.

I have seen some seriously crazy creepy stuff come to pass as a result of written, specific goals. Stuff that I find years later in my journal. A goal list that I tucked in a book and forgot, and I read and realized I’ve checked off most of the things… almost by accident, just because the opportunities were there.

But how?

I’m so glad you asked! I’ve been diligently writing down my goals for years. My dad actually sat my brother and me down and taught us how to do it, starting with 5 years out, and working back to 3 months out.

Over the years, I have modified my methods to include inspiration from Brian Tracy, Napoleon Hill, Jack Canfield, Jen Sincero, and more.

I’m so passionate about writing down goals that I’m offering a workshop at the end of this year (evergreen after that). If you’re interested in seeing how the Universe can conspire for you, enroll (it’s free) and we’ll get to work on December 26!