On October 11, many people posted to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter a Fast Company article called "5 Things To Do Every Day For Success." I immediately decided to try it for a month (it wasn't until I set out to write this blog post that I realized the article first appeared 03/01/11 - yikes!). I set up 5 separate tasks in Outlook, set them as high priority and set them to reoccur each work day (I gave myself the weekend off). Finally, I kept notes each day on all but #2.
Here is how it went:
- Wake up early - The idea here is the early bird gets the worm; more like the early bird gets more things done. I did pretty good at this, failing only twice. Most mornings I was up at 5:45 and went to the gym for a spin class or to ride the exercise bike for an hour. Other mornings I'd get my email clear, check correspondence and set priorities for the day.
- Read the headlines and watch the news - I did half of this. I made a conscious effort to read more local, national, tech (because I love it) and accounting news. I didn't watch the news because that just doesn't fit in my schedule.
- Send something to one person who can hire you or buy your product - I did this every day and I admit I interpreted it kind of broadly. Sometimes I contacted current clients, sometimes referral sources, sometimes prospects, sometimes someone who popped up in my LinkedIn news feed. I'd love to tell you that I heard back from everybody, but I didn't. Some of these contacts though led to some nice conversations and some face to face meetings.
- Touch base with an old friend or associate you haven't talked to in ages - I did this every day, with similar results. Some I heard from, some I didn't. I did reconnect with someone I grew up with and hadn't talked to in 20 years.
- Write a handwritten note to someone - I did this every day. Generally speaking, this was an easy one for me. I'm a big fan of Bob Burg and from him relearned the art of sending handwritten notes to people.
The challenge: you essentially have to find 3 different people each day to communicate with - one for #3, one for #4 and one for #5. Some days it was easy but many days I found it a challenge. I think I took the easy way out - #3 and #4 was usually accomplished through email and LinkedIn messages; probably would have been better to pick up the phone. Handwritten notes are always well received.
One thing that bothered me was that in the article it said for #5 "There is always someone you can send a thank you note to--or you aren't doing things correctly." I'm inclined to agree with the author. I'm not doing things correctly, at least all the time, because I couldn't always think of someone to say thank you to. I'm reconnecting with some of Bob Burg's materials to help me refocus.
After one month, I can't say that doing these 5 things led to the success I expected, or hoped for. But it did help me realize where I need to refine things. I'm hoping a month from now to say the second month of doing this was easier.
1. Wake up early.