One Month of Doing Fast Company's "5 Things To Do Every Day For Success"

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 

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