Like a rectal exam I avoid doing taxes.
I just sent off the K1 to a business partner.
As usual it’s only a couple of days before the filing deadline.
I hate it’s happening again this way.
Next year I’ll get out ahead of it.
See, here’s the thing, it’s super simple for me to do this.
It takes me little time to organize my stuff and get it to the accountants.
Just I put it off somewhere down the bottom of my list till it needs to be done.
Jams you up
Too many of these letters to you are JIT.
In business just in time manufacturing is extremely valuable, but it also risks jamming the production line.
Over the years I’ve drafted 675 of these letters that were never sent.
That’s all good, it’s part of the creating process; when you’ve gotta flow, you’ve gotta flow.
But I rarely go back to drafts.
I tend to keep it fresh, so I’m constantly creating and sending you new stuff.
The cost of course is time, and more specifically just in time.
Too many of these letters I’ve written you in real time, which I enjoy, but also messes with our process.
It leaves little time to get the team involved, and too often we rush proofing and getting these articles up and out.
To be sure there’s a nice flow from writing to a tight deadline.
But to keep scaling, and to optimize quality, we must be more methodical.
Put it on rails
You might recall that I wrote you about this in July.
Then I didn’t know this would be in my August Man Upgrade, but you see my mind was circling this topic.
Laying it out and playing it out, or putting it on rails, is a cornerstone of my method baked into my system for ultimate days.
See, when I rant about having systems this is really what I mean.
Just getting super clear on your priorities and sequencing your actions.
This concept is captured by the letters I haven’t yet sent you on the simple two-step method I refer to as the Barbell.
On the big side, at the highest level, you only need a vision.
Here I’m talking about a massive vision for your business or life, or even just a vision for your day.
Then, on the other side of the Barbell, you merely need to focus on the one step you’re taking right now.
With just these two steps you can drive anywhere in the same way that you can drive thousands of miles just following the next turn on your GPS.
Putting it on rails is the same metaphor.
Once a train is on its tracks, it’s just passing one station at a time.
This way you’re methodical and systematic like a production line.
You have a method that you can keep continuously improving.
And perhaps most importantly…
In my goals for August and September Man, this topic fits neatly in goal number one, activity is not achievement.
This powerful concept from famed basketball coach John Wooden is central to managing your time because it comes back to what truly matters—
Rather than running around doing all that activity you see in “busyness,” you’re dialing in what most moves the needle on your results.
And then doing it!
Putting these tasks on the rails makes you far more effective because you remove all friction.
You get clear on what you’re doing.
And eliminate any blocks to diving in.
This too fits the notion of eating your frogs first thing in the a.m. as I wrote you here.
When you’re doing your hardest action first you get beyond all the thinking and quickly build momentum in your day.
Remove the stuck
A client had failed to make the progress he wanted.
There were things he was “supposed” to do, but he didn’t get to.
When we talked specifically about where our method had failed him, it came back to the same thing that limits so much human potential.
“I think too much,” he said.
“There is a task that you want to do, and rather than just getting it done, you sit there thinking about it.”
In his case we’re talking about a hard action for many of us, cold emailing, and so it’s easy for his brain to find reasons to avoid it like my taxes.
He’s going back and forth on his “Entrepreneurial Confidence,” meaning his ability to get himself to do what he knows he wants to get done.
Over thinking every damn word in the emails….
Makes him feel stuck…
Reinforcing his feeling of stuck..
When instead, if he can just rapidly bang out a few, he quickly builds momentum and shifts into an “Accomplishment Cycle.”
Meaning, you get something done which feels good, which gives you more of a pop to keep getting more things done.
We solved for it in his process by laying out some frogs, and working on his House of Flow.
There’s lots you can upgrade simply through this method, but also keep in mind why we get stuck.
His emails weren’t the greatest…
He knew it.
His response rate from potential customers was lower than he wanted.
That made him feel his emails weren’t the greatest even more, which got him to think even more about the emails, which made him feel less confident.
Competence builds confidence.
So we got into the minutia and laid out a template for the main types of emails he’s sending.
These emails are very different and much simpler than his old ones.
He feels excellent about what he’s now got, which makes it easier for him to put it on the rails.
See, look, when it comes to processes like the one we’re talking about, what’s far more important than getting stuck overthinking every word is to just get yourself into a method of sending them.
Not only does overthinking stifle your actions, but it also means you get far too little done.
In most things, done fast is the bias, and volume is the game.
You’re far better off moving faster and taking lots more action than you are at perfecting this one tiny thing that you’ll angst over for the next 7 years relative to just getting it done.
In this case, and the metaphor certainly holds in every case, you’re far better off sending even so-so emails than perfectly sending none!
Because this is where all the activity is most geared towards your achievement.
Not only do you increase your odds when you actually take action, you build your “Action Cycles” that pull you into taking more action.
And also, when you keep moving, you come back to our fourth goal in September Man.
Living flow to flow
Some of my blocks of time are on tasks that I perceive are bad uses of time—meaning in reference to our goal of activity is not achievement, I don’t even see how these actions lead to achievement.
Yet I am using these actions purely to pull the flow state.
Said another way, the activity may not lead to achievement, but it certainly leads to quickly achieving the flow state.
Writing is very much this way for me.
Of the 675 articles that were never sent, all of them were helping me learn to write less terribly, and to quickly get absorbed in a task.
To an extreme this is what you get putting your day on rails.
You can wade into the ocean getting a little colder each time, but once you dive in you find yourself just swimming around.
Laying it out and playing it out
Putting it on rails. Building the production line. Engineering, systematizing your day, etc.
Whatever you call it, here we’re talking about setting up your day this way.
This comes back to three things:
- Laying out the rails: Getting clear on what truly matters and laying out your method for doing it
- Diving in: Getting beyond any resistance (e.g. thinking) and gobbling down frogs…
- Staying in the flow: Using your rails to stay absorbed living flow to flow
As you can imagine from years of running my days this way, I’m pretty good at it.
But here in September Man I’m focused on dialing in these two things.
1. Structural integrity
My crappy performance on getting taxes done can be traced back to one simple cause—
Instead of sitting on all that stuff for months, just get it done sooner.
Bang it out.
Get it to my accountants.
Stop thinking about it.
With a client last week we were focused on two tasks that were too hard for him to get done.
One task is right now. It’s a huge opportunity. And he must be all over it.
The next task will take months to play out. The opportunity is less clear. It’s much harder to action.
Yet, this “long tent pole” is massively important to the future of his firm.
“But I just don’t have time to focus on it,” he said.
You and me know it’s never a matter of time, but him prioritizing his time.
And in his case, overwhelmed with the scale of what he needs to do, it was easier to simply keep putting it off.
Here we came back to the Barbell, just biting off a tiny step he could take right away, and put a dint in that long-term process.
For the Geoff Blades Machine this comes back to two things in September Man.
First, I need more structure in my tasks.
It’s very important as a creator that I allow myself to create at will.
Yet it’s also crucial for our business and mission that we have a clear process for production and distribution that keeps me out of the way.
I hate rules, including the rules I make for myself!
Yet just a little more structure has already helped us shave down some of the friction on the rails.
Again, like all the topics we’re hitting in September Man, this is real minutia for me, but I’m hoping that you can see how it works for you.
Perhaps for you it’s real low hanging fruit, or maybe you’re also focused on these small tweaks.
The second structural change I’m making comes back to ultimate days.
I’ve laid it out.
It’s an awesome system, in fact, better than awesome, this system has been core to building Geoff Blades and our business.
But in a handful of ways I’ve been slipping on my “Protocols.”
I’ve been writing you about some of them, such as this night visualization, and I’ve already got most of it back on the rails.
What might this mean for you?
2. Align the mind
And also 80/20 Mind and Actions, meaning, don’t just Pareto your tasks, but also your mind.
Apply this to your thoughts and actions and watch it transform your day.
As I wrote you, this topic is so core to my work that it’s one of the few stickers on my computer screen.
Sure, it’s looks a little wild to have stuff stuck on your computer and desk, but how else do you constantly remind yourself?
And this too is what we’re doing in September Man.
More rigorous process.
Rails, frogs, so on.
Yeah, it’s all hardcore and ultimate and whatnot, but it all begins when you decide to align your mind this way.
Over and over and over again asserting in the mind this is how you want to be.
And then backing up your mind with actions.
You’re seeing it as we keep rolling out these letters on more of a schedule than we’ve used in the past.
This has me much more deliberately diving in, and has also amplified my production in general.
In August and September, I’ve actually removed a number of my daily “Mind Cycles,” and am using more Deep Work Flow Cycles for pulling the mind.
The reason is the mind is vibing higher and higher, and so I’m choosing to keep it absorbed in action for conditioning the mind.
What does this mean for you?
In what ways might you better align your mind with your actions?
How can you remove more of the friction and get your mind and actions more on the rails?
Through the lens of 80/20 Mind and Actions, are there things that you would remove?
What can you identify in your process that hold you back from diving in?
Are there patterns of behavior on JIT that are putting too much pressure on your processes?
Whether it be your taxes or other tasks that you avoid, what might you do right now to keep making these changes for getting things done?