Well, I made it. Thanks to the help of you reading my daily posts and providing feedback and compliments via the blog, Twitter, and email, today I completed my 25th task as I flip the ole age from 25 to 26.
As my mom likes to remind me, I was born at 10:40 pm during the Johnny Carson show, right after the host proclaimed, “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” Because my birthday was so late in the day I felt like it was appropriate to have August 21 as my final task of 25, but also the start of 26.
One of the reasons I did this experiment was to challenge myself to not only write every day but follow up on the tasks that I said I would do. For some reason, I’m one of those people that is easily motivated by challenges and milestone-friendly dates. Why else does everyone wait until New Year’s Day to start their diets, 1/1 just seems like the right time. In this case, I was going to become super productive in my final 25 days of 25 before I start my 26th year.
However, the real point of this experiment is that you can start whatever it is you want to achieve on any day. Monday or Thursday, 25 years old or 77 years old, online or offline, if you have a goal to accomplish there is never a better day to start then today.
I hope the past 25 days have provided you with a few tasks and strategies for accomplishing your goals. Now all you have to do is start.
24/25: Get Feedback
One of the hardest things to do when you work in a creative/idea based profession: get and utilize feedback.
Your project becomes your baby and you look at it so much that anyone else’s opinion is moot. However, by ignoring this other opinions we eliminate one of the most crucial steps of the creative process: feedback and iteration.
The key here is don’t just accept feedback when it comes to you, but go and seek it out. Ask the people close to you that you trust, but also ask anyone who is willing to give an opinion. Sure, they may or may not be qualified, but they also are a new set of eyes with a new set of opinions and feedback to provide.
To practice what I preach, I’d love to have spend two minutes and provide me with feedback on this 25 tasks series here on john labs. Thanks so much!
23/25: Who’s Buying Lunch?
Throughout this series of 25 tasks I’ve talked about The Handshake, The Ask, Thank You Notes, and The Art of the Follow Up. All of these task are people-related and involve interpersonal communication. For some people this can be difficult, but as I’ve examined hands down the most important thing in business. So how can me make this easier?
Just ask yourself who’s buying lunch?
The way I see it, you need to eat lunch anyway so why don’t you use this 45-75 minutes to get one-on-one time with someone you need to talk to. You can make a nice gesture and buy them lunch. Perhaps, they want to meet with you and you’ll get a free lunch (although an old mentor said there is no free lunch in life).
In the least, you should take advantage of this time to build relationships, gain trust, and slowly and strategically make the ask you need to make. Just don’t forget the handshake, thank you note, and follow up.
It’s 11:21 here, I should tweet/text someone and ask who’s buying lunch?
22/25: Start Batching
Dictionary.com defines batching as - a quantity or number coming at one time or taken together.
Today it is not uncommon to attempt to be working on three projects at once and being constantly interrupted by the notifications from our email inbox, Twitter, Facebook, and phone. This likely scenario in your life does not sound like a productive one.
The idea of batching is to simply discipline yourself to do specific tasks in set amount of grouped time. Basicallly, I’m going to work on Project A from 9 - 11 am. I will check and respond to email from 11 - noon. After lunch I will be working on Project B from 1 - 4 pm. Simple right?
I’ve been trying to implement batching as described above in my life. But there are pros that take batching to an entire new level. You’ve probably heard of Tim Ferris and his 4-Hour Workweek? A product of batching. My buddy, Derek Johnson, CEO of a startup batches to a point where he only checks email once a week in the morning. Insane right? How does he handle all the requests? He simply doesn’t. He does what is important to him, is extremely productive, and is in control of his time.
Will you consider batching in your everyday life? Try to start and batch the way that makes sense for you. Start with one day out of the week and begin to work your way up.
21/25: Art of the Follow Up
I recently read a story about a guy who has worked his way to the top of a giant corporation, started his own non-profit, and also is an angel investor on the side. When asked what the secret to his success was he replied, “It wasn’t intelligence or a genius skill, but I followed up.”
The point of this guy’s story was that by relentlessly and passionately following up with clients, vendors, customers, etc. he was able to get more done than anyone around him. It made so much sense to me. Think about how often you give up after three emails? Or even one? Ever just try a phone call?
Obviously, the internal fear is that you’re annoying people. But think about how busy we all are. Everyday we’re managing messages and notifications from a least a dozen different platforms. It is easy to forget about someone or forget about a project.
Learn how to follow up sincerely and regularly and you will go far. In the end, whoever hustles the most will win. Don’t be out-hustled by someone else.
Tonight about 18 extended family members of cousins, aunts, uncles, second-cousins, and a few boyfriends and girlfriends of the Johnson Family converged at the Turner County Fair. This is an annual tradition that consists of chislic, homemade ice cream, fair carnies, tractor pull, and bingo. It is pretty awesome.
Now why is one of my 25 finals tasks of my 25th year tradition, well, I think we all can do a better job of respecting tradition.
Whether your tradition is a Friday lunch with your team members, a Monday morning call with your remote co-founder, a date night with your spouse each week, or an annual vacation to the lake. Whatever it may be, respecting tradition is worth noting.
I always preach the message of not doing things just to do them. Why do so many companies have an hour meeting every morning just to have one? Why does it have to be an hour too? But I do believe if you have productive/thoughtful traditions that make you happy you should stick to those traditions.
What type of traditions work or play do you have in your life?