How To Get More Done

When I worked as personal trainer in my early 20s, I noticed something very unusual about my most successful clients.

These clients almost effortlessly achieved their goals and built the bodies that they wanted.

How?

They created a strong personal philosophy that made decision-making easy and stress-free.  They planned their diets and workouts in advance so they didn’t have to think about doing the right thing.  And so I did for my business what they did for their bodies.

My personal philosophy revolves around planning and ruthlessly eliminating all distractions during the day.  I don’t check email before noon.  I refuse to do a phone-call unless it’s scheduled and there is a clear agenda for the time.  I don’t surf the internet and I don’t have a cell-phone at my desk.

But outside of my 50 hour workweeks, I have a lot of fun.

When I’m not working, I travel.  (I’ll be in Lithuania and Croatia in a few weeks).

I exercise daily and maintain a single-digit bodyfat %. I spend time with my family and our dog on the farm we have outside of Toronto.  I read about 50 books a year and I keep up deep relationships with friends around the world.

But during my (short) workday, none of that happens.  There are no distractions and no deviations from my schedule.  I script my day the night before so that when I wake up I can hit the ground running.

Here’s what an average day looks like: I wake up and start writing for a few hours.  After that, I walk my dog and workout.  Then in the afternoon I schedule phone calls, meetings and emails with my remote-working employees in both of my businesses.

Both businesses are profitable with revenues of more than 1 million USD per year.

This strict schedule helps me get a boatload done, and I can talk to you more on the record about it if you’d like.  It’s really the key to all of my success.

My 3 best daily tricks/habits are:

1) At the end of each workday, I script out my next day of work.  In 30 minute increments so I know exactly what I’ll be doing and won’t have to worry about “deciding” to work.

2) At the start of each workday, I attack the most important item on my list.  Once that gets done, I’ve built up a pile of unstoppable momentum that carries me through the less important tasks. I also stay out of my email until I’ve been at work for at least 5 hours.

3) I go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.  I get just under 8 hours of sleep per night and I wake up every morning feeling rested and energized.  (This is an important quick-fix that can help a lot of people get more done quickly)

So each day, I exercise, manage both of my businesses, take the time to read and relax with family.  I can do all that and still get plenty of sleep because I take time each day to plan my work and then I work my plan.

Hope this helps.

Craig Ballantyne

PS – For more specifics on the ultimate time management plan…

…read my:

Politically Incorrect Scheduling Tips at EarlyToRise.com

And get one thing done first thing in the morning!

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  • Hi Craig … I’m going to try out your habit of scripting out the next
    days work as well as being more vigilant about barring the distractions.
    I like the thought of planning out the day rather than letting the
    events of the day plan my work for me. Thanks for the advice.

    I’m
    curious, though, about your comments that you work a 50 hour week and
    also that your workdays are short. Does that mean you work 7 days a
    week? Or am I missing something?

    • Craig Ballantyne

      there’s always a couple of hours of work done every sunday morning…i never miss a writing day. so yes, 7 days a week.

  • A

    Some of your tips are great, but some of them are not applicable to all businesses. For some businesses, it’s how fast you respond that matters. If your client doesn’t get a reply within a short period, he/she will turn to your competitors. So staying out of your email and off your cell phone (unless you’ve got a secretary or associate dealing with it) would be a very stupid thing to do.