Momentum-Based Planning: A System Built for Entrepreneurs

Momentum Based Planning: A System Built for Entrepreneurs
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Momentum Based Planning: A System Built for Entrepreneurs

Walk into any bookstore and you’ll probably find an entire section on the subject “Productivity.” In fact, do a Google search for the term and you’ll find millions of results for books, blogs, trainings, articles, research papers and speeches.

But what does the word “productivity” really mean? I think there’s some confusion…

I hear people say things like, “Wow, I did a lot today. Checked a ton of boxes. I’ve been really productive.” But for me, productivity is about more than just doing a bunch of different tasks.

In its most basic form, productivity is about doing the things that move you toward a desired result. (For more on this topic, I definitely recommend reading “The Goal,” by Eliyahu Goldratt)

In my experience, most people aren’t naturally productive. But it’s definitely a skill that can be developed and improved over time. For entrepreneurs productivity is a necessity because it means you’re taking steps toward the goal of your (and any) company: making money.

In the early days of my career as an entrepreneur, I had this strong feeling that I wasn’t accomplishing as much as I could have been. I would complete a lot of tasks and get things done. But by the end of the day, I’d sit there wondering what I’d really accomplished.

I’d constantly ask myself: “Am I getting any closer to my goals?”

And when I was honest with myself, I could admit that I didn’t feel like I was moving forward.

Enter Momentum-Based Planning for Entrepreneurs

Eventually I realized the main reason I wasn’t feeling productive was because I didn’t have the right system in place to ensure that I was moving toward the right goals. I tried traditional calendars and to-do lists for years but consistently ended up frustrated.

And as a consultant to the Fortune 500 and global 100, I was getting similar feedback from my clients. The constraint of systems like the FranklinCovey Planner and the Day-Timer inevitably became overwhelming. Pretty soon my to-do lists turned into “to-lose” lists because they put an emphasis on the endless daily tasks we entrepreneurs have to do, but fail to provide us with the momentum we need to thrive.

After years of helping my clients – from large companies to small businesses to startups – establish the proper goals and targets for their companies to succeed, I had an epiphany.

What if I took the same system I’d developed to help hundreds of companies successfully grow and scale their businesses, and turned it into a process that could help entrepreneurs improve their lives, increase awareness and intention, and achieve their goals?

By answering this, I had discovered Momentum-Based Planning.

The Momentum Planner and the Power of Intention

Most planners are designed track how many tasks are getting done in a given day. They’re basically a calendar with a to-do list attached.

But entrepreneurs, more than most people, need to know where they’re going, what that greater outcome is that they’re looking to achieve. They need this as a guiding North Star. And they need to know that their daily activities are moving them toward that greater outcome. I understand better than most how easy it is to become discouraged or lost on our journey to making our greatest contribution. But if every task we accomplish would bring us another step closer to our greater outcome, we will stay inspired and in momentum.

To accomplish that, I created the Momentum Planner by shifting the focus away from to-do lists and toward intention as the metric for success.

To-do lists are fine for remembering daily tasks. But to align those tasks with our overall vision, we have to keep intention at the forefront of our minds. Momentum-Based Planning allows entrepreneurs to reiterate that intention every morning, before they start the day.

Here’s how it works: Instead of looking at a calendar and writing out all the tasks that need to happen that day, Momentum-Based Planning asks you to first answer the question, “What is my intention for the day?” This subtle change may seem insignificant at first, but this question provides huge results, because it focuses on how you want to feel at the end of the day.

I’ve found that the things that move us forward most aren’t specific tasks, but bigger, life-changing moments. Sometimes it’s an interaction or conversation that we want to have with someone, or a new concept we want to understand. Maybe we want to eat healthier, eliminate negative thoughts or be more thankful during that day. These are the types of items my clients learn to write down, and once people make this a part of their routine, they begin to see their intention become their reality.

They start finishing days the way they want to. They have a sense of accomplishment. And when they look back at weeks past, they can see a tangible representation of their personal growth in the pages of their planner. This is a powerful feeling. Almost all of my clients tell me they’ve never gotten more done in their lives and can’t imagine how they functioned before learning the system.

But the intention section of the planner is just one piece of the equation (you can see this post on Momentum-Based Planning to learn about each piece). If you don’t have a system for tracking your intention every day, you’re missing out on a huge advantage over your competition (or a huge advantage toward achieving the goals you previously thought were impossible). So ditch your day-planner and start building momentum through intention. You’ll be surprised by how much productivity you discover, each and every day.

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