What’s the best planning system for entrepreneurs? After speaking with thousands of them, I’ve found that entrepreneurs need a planning system that gives clarity, context and support to drive forward toward their vision. They want it to help them make decisions, and not feel like a burden or another responsibility they have to manage.
Until today, that solution hasn’t existed, because I believe I’ve uncovered a hidden epidemic…
Every entrepreneur I meet is highly future-focused and confident in their vision, but when it comes to making daily progress toward that vision, they struggle. In fact, they have a hard time knowing what to do on a day-to-day basis, or if it’s the best use of their time.
A lot of the time, it’s their planning system that’s failing them. And from what I’ve seen with the clients I work with, most of us don’t enjoy the planning process. This isn’t surprising. Entrepreneurial Personality Types tend to be doers, results-driven, innately motivated to make our greatest contribution. When we get an idea, we’re eager to see it through to the end. We want to run with it and figure out the details later. This can be a highly valuable trait.
The problem is: we tend get sidetracked and distracted when we don’t have a clear plan to execute. Traditional calendars and planning systems like the FranklinCovey Planner and the Day-Timer are great… for most people.
But EPTs aren’t most people. We think differently. This fact set me on a course to make a discovery that will help entrepreneurs succeed, live their lives with intention, achieve their goals and create massive momentum.
The Planning System Made for Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs need a planning system that’s lightweight, simple and effective. Unfortunately, to-do lists and calendars become endless sources of Pressure and Noise for people like us, because we have so many responsibilities, commitments and initiatives that need our focus, energy and time.
Beyond this, most planners and calendaring systems – especially those created for entrepreneurs – were designed to manage time. Working with thousands of entrepreneurs, I’ve found that time cannot be effectively managed, and to try to do so was against our nature as entrepreneurs.
So I was searching for a planning system made for entrepreneurs. But I kept experiencing the same problems throughout my career. After a long time trying to implement a particular system, I’d always end up throwing out my calendar or day planner because I felt like I was wasting time with something that wasn’t moving me forward. It felt like constraint.
I also noticed many of my clients were having the same issue. The traditional calendar just wasn’t cutting it. But when I’d take CEOs and executive teams through the process I used to help their companies select goals and targets, they latched onto it. In fact, I’d come back to visit these companies months later and many of them had turned my system into a company-wide process.
The Structure for Entrepreneurs to Grow Their Businesses
It was a revelation to discover that this planning method didn’t just work for me but for any entrepreneur or entrepreneurial organization. This was the structure my wife Cadey and I used to get out of bankruptcy, and grow an organization to become liquid millionaires within 12 months.
Today I coach my entire team with this system, and the entrepreneurs I’ve taught this to over the years have found incredible momentum with it – often telling me that it’s changed their lives.
Still, even with success that this entrepreneurial planning system has had over the years, it never occurred to me how enormous the need was for something like this in the marketplace. In the past, this training has only been available to those who have come to live events or gone through a few of my online courses.
But last week, on a whim, I posted a Facebook status offering a significantly discounted training on this material and was absolutely blown away by the response. The post quickly went viral as people shared the status and told their friends about the opportunity.
The reaction made it abundantly clear: This was something people needed.
Discovery: Momentum-Based Planning
Let me give you some context as to where this came from…
Growing up, I was a huge Wayne Dyer fan. His books provided some transformative insight into the power of intention. But there was one thing I always struggled with in his writings: there were no tactics. I understood why intention was important and I knew that I needed more of it in my life. But how could I create that intention on a daily basis? Where was the process that would allow me to move toward my vision every minute of every day?
Those questions led me on a long journey to discover Momentum-Based Planning.
I believe that your planner or planning system should provide you with momentum throughout the process … not take it away. So I built the system that both gives you momentum and takes away constraint.
See, the biggest challenge with conventional planners and planning systems is that they’re activity- and calendar-based. By focusing on these, entrepreneurs see their to-do lists grow and grow as they take on more and more responsibility. This is how to-do lists quickly become “to-fail lists,” as day after day we’re never able to accomplish all of the items we put there. Our priorities tend shift day-to-day (and throughout the day), and so we only accomplish 30-50% of what is on our lists, if we’re lucky.
As results-oriented entrepreneurs, it’s easy to feel lost and discouraged by this, day after day. So it dawned on me that we needed to have a fundamental perspective shift when it comes to planning. Here’s my proprietary process for how Momentum-Based Planning works on a daily basis.
Keep in mind this is only one element of Momentum-Based Planning. There’s lots more for me to share with you in our Momentum Planner Training. But even implementing this piece on it’s own can be highly effective in helping you create momentum.
Daily Planning for Entrepreneurs
Following is a progression of steps you’ll go through each morning to help you understand your intention, where you were uncomfortable, what activities you need to undertake and, finally, what you were grateful for in the day. Responses to each step are meant to be handwritten to increase the effectiveness of the system and your focus on intention.
What is my intention for the day?
In this first section of your daily planning, write down what you want to get out of the day. It’s helpful to approach it from this perspective: at the end of the day, what would make you feel like you succeeded? Do you want to feel more aligned with your team? Do you want to have greater clarity into your customer journey? Do you want to make sure each meeting in your day is productive? It’s important to understand that this portion of the planner is not designed to be a to-do list. These are not activities, but the intention you’ll set and achieve for the day.
Where was I uncomfortable yesterday?
This really differentiates the Momentum-Based Planning system from any other system out there. Here, you’ll focus on identifying and offloading the items and areas where you felt uncomfortable the previous day, if at all possible. Ask yourself: where did I feel uncomfortable yesterday? How could yesterday have been better? What situations went poorly and how could they have been improved? Write down anything that comes to you, like a lack of communication with someone, being on too many sales calls or not fully understanding your metrics for success. This allows you to voice your frustrations, reflect on how they could be improved or offloaded today, and prevent these issues from persisting and limiting your ability to create momentum.
In the CHARFEN Momentum Planner, I include a section with a traditional to-do list. However, having gone through the exercise of identifying your intention and where you were uncomfortable, your to-do list becomes both actionable and energizing. The items you list out will now be focused around achieving your intention or eliminating constraint (where you were uncomfortable).
At the end of each day ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?” Sometimes – on particularly tough days – this can be a challenge. I know it was for me when I was going through the bankruptcy process. But this practice is essential for continuing your momentum and closing out each day on a positive note.
If this sounds like the right planning system for you, you’re not alone. Hundreds of EPTs have ditched their day planners for this system and not looked back. I’ve been amazed by the number of people who’ve told me this process has given them major breakthroughs.
One of the craziest things about the CHARFEN Momentum Planner is that once you get in the habit of using it, your mind automatically begins to organize thoughts and tasks into the sections above. This results in a couple of things:
- The process gets quicker and easier. My daily planning process takes me less than 20 minutes, and typically around 15 minutes.
- You will become more productive than you thought possible. I know this seems like a big a promise, but I can’t imagine accomplishing half of what I do without it. I’ve been unable to complete my planning session a handful of times over the past year, and I literally felt like I was in a fog all day. Others have told me the same.
- You’ll feel better about each day. Once you start writing down your intention for the day, you can feel yourself accomplishing goals and gaining momentum. This gives you confidence and inspires you to do even more.
If you’re interested, join me in a full training on the CHARFEN Momentum Planner. Once you’ve experienced Momentum-Based Planning for entrepreneurs, you’ll wonder how you accomplished anything before.
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