Being Busy Does Not Guarantee Success

Big changes are on the horizon …

My first baby is due to arrive in less than three weeks.

And while I know that change is going to give me a whole new set of responsibilities, I’m quite confident that I’ll be able to maintain the revenue streams I’ve built for myself over the years. Not only that, I’ll be able to continue to build my businesses.


Because I’ve been studying and working for some of the most successful people in the industry ever since I started working for AWAI over seven and a half years ago.

And I’ve learned from them that to be successful without working ridiculous hours, you need to be organized. You need to know the value of your time. And you need to plan how you spend your time.

Yesterday, I showed you how to plan your ongoing education to ensure you’re always learning but not sabotaging your financial success at the same time.

The day before, I showed you how to plan your self-marketing efforts to make certain your business will always continue to thrive.

And today, I’m going to show you how to plan your day to guarantee you’re able to continue learning, market yourself and your services, and still have time to do your clients’ projects – not to mention everything else on your to-do list.

Which, of course, leads me to your final action item for this week …

Your action item for today is to plan how you’ll spend your time on Monday.

One quick caveat before we jump in, though …

EVERYTHING we’ve talked about this week assumes you’ve already set goals and determined what the writer’s life looks like to you. Because if you don’t know where you’re going, it’s impossible to effectively plan your route.

So if you don’t have any goals yet, I’d like you to spend the day and maybe this weekend getting that done first. Then go through this week’s series again to make sure all of your actions are moving you forward in the right direction.

If you need help, I highly recommend checking out Nick Usborne’s Profitable Freelancing. Nick gets right to the point with actionable steps you can use to ensure you set your goals properly and then have an effective plan to get there. We recently went through the program in my mastermind group, and I recommended it to each and every new Circle of Success member I spoke to during my individual meetings.

You can also check out my article How to Obtain Success this Summer by Properly Setting and Achieving Your Goals.

But for today, I’m going to assume you have already planned your goals and have an idea of what needs to be done to achieve them.

Taking into consideration your plans for continuing your education and your plans for doing something every day to market your services, go ahead and take a look at your to-do list …

What can you accomplish on Monday?

Before you answer that question, there are two keys you should consider …

First, be realistic.

Nothing will set you back or throw you off course more than feeling like you’ve failed. Only you know how many hours you can realistically work on Monday. And you should be able to gauge about how long each item on your to-do list will take.

Make sure you’re only scheduling what can realistically be done.

Second, be mindful about what you’re spending your time on.

The point of planning your day in advance is to continue the forward progress we’ve made this week into the coming weeks. But in order to have forward progress, you must spend time on things that are actually benefiting you and moving you forward towards your goals.

For example, it may be “nice” to read the latest bestselling business book that everyone is buzzing about. But is that the best use of your time? Will you glean something from it useful to your own work?

Or maybe you want to set up a Facebook fan page to promote your business. Or start a blog on your website. Again, you need to ask yourself what value those things will provide you, and make sure there’s a big enough benefit to spending time on them …

Time that you could spend doing other more useful things on your to-do list.

Be realistic and mindful when it’s time to plan your day. That way, you can go into the weekend knowing that when you sit down on Monday, you’ll be ready to roll with your plan in front of you. You won’t waste any time “figuring out” what you should start on. And you’ll know it’s the best use of your time.

Having a plan will also ensure your day won’t get derailed by a poor night’s sleep, a foul mood, or a distracted mind. (Hey, it happens sometimes!)

And, of course, before you shut off your computer Monday night, don’t forget to plan Tuesday!

One tiny tip before I leave you …

When it comes to planning my day, I’ve found that writing my day’s to-do list on a post-it note is effective at making sure my plan is realistic. I’ve learned that if the day’s list can’t fit on a post-it note, it’s usually impossible for me to get it all done.

So write it down, stick the note to your computer, and the next morning, you’ve got your plan.

If you finish early and want to tackle something else on your master to-do list, great! Go ahead. And if for some reason you don’t finish the post-it, write anything you didn’t finish on the next day’s post-it, fill it up with a few new items, and start again.

I’ve been using my post-it strategy for almost a year now. And I’ve yet to find a better system for actually getting through my to-do list … and therefore accomplishing my goals.

I hope that you’ve made forward progress this week towards living the writer’s life. If you have any tips you’d like to add about getting organized, I invite you to leave a comment below for me.

And with that, I wish you a wonderful weekend!

Profitable Freelancing

Profitable Freelancing: The Definitive Guide to Earning More Money as a Freelancer

Often freelancers are in constant cycle of feast or famine. But a clever few are growing their income every year without working harder or marketing more. Nick Usborne explains his proven system and how you can use it too. Learn More »

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Published: July 29, 2011

3 Responses to “Being Busy Does Not Guarantee Success”

  1. I've found that making sure you do one thing that is most important to accomplish each day is a good thing to focus on first.

    I usually pick this one thing the day before, and do it before 7am each day (unless it will consume more time, but that is actually rare). The rest of my day is planned the day before, but that part is more flexible.

    Joseph Ratliff

  2. This week has been the best series of articles distributed by AWAI that I have read and I've been an email subscriber for a long time. Clear, concise advice combined with a great "how to" for applying it. I want to thank Rebecca very much for her effort and care for the "newbie."

    Guest (Dusty)

  3. Good luck with the new baby, Rebecca :)

    I like the post-it idea.

    I think another important thing is ensuring that the to-do items on the post-it are truly the things that Need to be done to achieve your goal... it doesn't matter how fast you're traveling to your destination, if you're on the wrong road, you ain't gonna get there...

    Guest (Richard Clunan)

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