The Art of getting S#!T done
Half the year has gone by. What have you achieved ?
Does it feel like the days, weeks, months are flying by but you don’t have anything to show for it ?
Does it feel like you are being left behind ?
You were supposed to have achieved a lot more by now.
I know this feeling well.
Life can be overwhelming.
But if there is one thing eighteen years in banking taught me, its the secrets of relentlessly getting stuff done.
Let me share the road map to success.
Build a Map
Would you start driving without knowing where you were going?
There are a lot of reactive people in finance.
They come in the morning wanting to make a million dollars, but then before they know it, it’s the end of the day, the end of the week. They go home, and promise to do better the next day.
The first part of going far in finance is knowing where you want to go. The more detail the better.
Here’s what I want you to do right now.
Think about your life in five years, pretend its 2022, what needs to have happened for you to feel that you had been successful.
Write it down.
Maybe its getting promoted, maybe it’s getting married, maybe it’s running a marathon. It doesn’t matter.
What ever you need to feel that you have been successful, write it down.
If you don’t want to think in terms of words, you can think in terms of people. Look around for mentors. People whom you want to grow up to be like.
At this point, it’s critical to get your destination clear.
If you don’t know where you are going, you are DEFINITELY NOT going to get there.
While you are writing down those goals, also write down:
- Obstacles in the way
- Strengths to lever
- Opportunities to capture
Figuring out what’s working and what’s not:
Once you know where you want to go, it’s critical to make sure you are taking the shortest way there.
It’s time to fire up the good old Pareto Principle.
Vilfredo Pareto an Italian economist came up with the Pareto Principle.
The basic idea is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people.
Think back to the last three months, what went well?
What actions and activities were responsible for 80% of the outcomes?
What activities are responsible for 20% of the outcomes?
Then think about the mistakes you made. What went badly? What’s scaring you?
It’s critical to do this part, because if you are really going to achieve your potential, you need to lean into that fear.
The last part is to figure out what you’re wiling to give up to achieve your goals. What price are you wiling to pay?
For me, it was removing low energy or negative people from my life and stop reading useless things like newspapers.
What are things that you are using to procrastinate?
By now you know where you want to go, and the most effective way to get there. AWESOME.
Break down the steps
Big goals are SCARY.
I never achieved any of my new year resolutions….EVER.
They were just too big. I think goals by themselves are STUPID.
So the next thing is to break down your goals into smaller steps.
What are first few basic things you can do to move towards the big goal?
A simple question that always leads to great results for me:
What is the one thing I could do that makes everything else easier or unnecessary to progress towards my 5-year goal?
We don’t want big goals.
We want small, little achievable goals.
Say one of the things you want to do in five years time is to make MD. That’s a good goal. Now think over the next three months, what are the small steps you can take in the next three months to move towards your goals.
Small steps are great, because they don’t feel daunting. Think of them as little experiments you are going to try and then check the results.
What small experiments are you willing to do on your way to making MD?
For example, the following make sense:
- Get involved in more high value projects to raise your profile
- Highlight to your boss what you want to achieve
- Get more leverage by getting your associates and analysts to help you
- Build your network across the firm
- Develop deeper relationships with current clients and win some new business
Now that you have those short-term goals, don’t stop there.
Don’t forget Peter Drucker
One of the things he said was:
What gets measured, gets managed.
This means that in organizations people focus on doing things that they are going to be measured on.
For example, if you are going to be measured on the number of deals you do, then you are going to focus on deals. If you are going to be measured on the number of clients you bring in, then you are going to focus on bringing in clients.
Sound simple right?
If you want to focus on achieving something in your life, you have to think upfront about what you are going to measure. Because you are going to be drawn towards things that can be measured.
That’s why goals by themselves aren’t very useful, because they are missing a very important part – which is what are you measuring and watching for on the way to your goal.
You have to break them down into very specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Let’s turn the above goals into KPIs:
- Ask your boss or staffer about projects where you can get involved, if nothing is available, think about ways where you can create value for your team.
- Schedule a time in the next two weeks to deepen relationship with boss and figure out how to systematize updating your boss on a regular basis
- Take analysts and associates out for lunch twice a week and spend two hours daily training them to do your job
- Schedule three lunch or coffee meetings with key people inside the firm that can support you
- Spend two hours every day thinking about current clients and ways to help them
Those are reasonable KPIs. KPI’s are critical, because they are measurable. It’s clear whether you achieved them or not.
Now for the most important part. Scheduling the time. A to do list, a plan, KPIs are useless if they don’t get done.
Most things don’t get done, because we don’t schedule time for them.
Look at your KPIs and schedule time this week on your calendar for when you are going to do them.
If you want to learn more about that, check out this Cal Newport video on Deep Work.
- Build your road map – Where do you want to go
- Take Inventory – Figure out what skills you need, strengths you can leverage, obstacles you need to overcome
- 80 / 20 your life – Focus on the the most effective tasks – the short cuts
- Get specific – Break down the goals into smaller goals – what can you achieve in the next three months
- What are you measuring – Once you have those small goals, figure out your KPIs. How are you going to measure your self
- Schedule time – Schedule time to do the Deep Work to focus on your KPIs
That’s it. I guarantee if you do this, your life is going to start moving a whole lot FASTER.
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