Have a plan and work your plan

“Have a plan and work your plan.” I first heard those words from a manager at Merrill Lynch in 1996. Following that advice, I stayed in the investment services game for three years, beating the statistic that there is an 80% failure rate in the first two years. Continuing to follow that advice, I moved out of the financial services game after three years to pursue my life’s work as an executive coach and kung fu teacher. “My plan” was never to spend my life in the investment services industry, but it was a great place to learn, grow, and develop for a few years.

I’ve learned over time that there are many ways to plan for the use of our time and many ways to go about working the plan. Time blocking has always worked best for me. I block time for a category of activities like handling admin or making sales calls and then, during that time block, I only do those activities. At least that’s the plan.

But, how much time do I put in each block?  The answer: It depends. It depends on the overall needs of my business and, to a certain extent, on what I feel particularly inspired to do. There has to be an element of discipline involved or it’s just impulse power driving the ship. Putting at least a small chunk of time into the activities I’m not inspired to deal with keeps me moving in the right direction and connected to those projects I’d rather avoid completely.

Today’s time blocking model: I have my concept of an ideal day and I’m cycling through those blocks in 20 minute chunks. Here’s the list: Early Training, Writing, Garage/Clutter Clearing, Language (studying Mandarin), Admin, Coaching, Midday Training, Lunch/Nap, Sales Follow Up, Reading, Marketing, Teaching Kung Fu, and Family Time. That’s a lot of activities in the course of the day, but that’s what I need to stay in balance RIGHT NOW. It’s not a perfect 20-minute-per-activity cycle, but most of it can work pretty well on that plan. I could just as easily give an hour to this, 20 minutes to that, and two hours to another thing, but I just didn’t feel like being that crafty with the plan of the day today.

The important thing is to be in motion, knocking down high reward activities throughout the day rather than chasing down barking dogs. Barking dogs are what I call all the time stealers like constant email conversations, excessive video games, and surfing to the end of the internet and back. Have you noticed how many time thieves are disguised as technological advancements today? I’ll admit that I love them all. I just try to manage how much and how often I partake of the bits and bytes of techno-fun on my way to handling substantial activities in the world.

That’s it for this blog entry… My 20 minutes of writing time just expired. Go forth and do great things!

What are you doing to strengthen yourself?

In a world that seems to thrive on instant gratification, looks can be deceiving.

The things that come easily also leave easily and are often not the best for you in the long run.

The competitiveness of today’s school and work environments demand more than ever before.

Train your body. 

Train your mind. 

The investment you make in yourself today will pay dividends over a lifetime.

Always remember – a day of training you miss is a day you never get back.

Give us a call or come to the school to get started!

Tustin Shaolin Martial Arts
104 W First St
Tustin, CA  92780
Phone: 714-508-0488

Practice…

Classes are finished for the day. I am reminded that there are more variations on stretching techniques than there will ever be time to practice consistently. Then again, this is true of technique variations of all kinds. Hand techniques, foot techniques, weapons techniques, chin na, shuai jiao… Even movements within forms can have many correct variations.

Since there will never be enough time to practice everything all the time, it becomes more and more important to practice specific things daily for the cumulative effect of repetition over time. Those things must be chosen wisely to strengthen points of talent, to round out rough edges in the training, and to buff up weak points of technique or poor understanding of difficult concepts.

Choose carefully and train every day.