Recently I was asked how I manage so many projects (started two successful companies, graduated college full-time with a 3.49 GPA, and still have a girlfriend). What I’ve designed is taken from a few different people and put together. I’ll link to each resource that I used while piecing this wonderful system together.
A high-level overview of my system is that I reverse-engineer what I want to accomplish each year into daily tasks that are easy to execute.
Let’s Dive Into the Details
The below structure was adopted (read: totally stolen) from the incredible Nat Eliason’s blog post on setting goals using Airtable.
Like I mentioned above, I like to reverse-engineer what I want to accomplish for every aspect of my life that I personally find important. By doing so, I’m able to easily see my life as one large picture and how one thing may relate to another.
First, I start with my Annual Goals, broken down by category (Business, Personal, Health, Class, etc). For each category, I like to have 2-3 massive outcomes planned. Keep in mind that these are not tasks but massive goals that I’ll need to turn into projects or tasks throughout the year.
To make this concrete, let’s use an annual goal of Aura (my SaaS company) hitting $1.5m in ARR.
Second, I sit down each quarter and review my Annual goals to determine what would need to be accomplished to achieve them. These new ideas become my Quarterly Goals.
What should I accomplish this quarter to be on track to hit my annual goal of doing $1.5m in ARR? Based on current bottlenecks I would say hiring a second full-time engineer would have the highest positive impact.
Third, I’ll sit down each month and do the same for my Monthly Goals as I did with my Quarterly Goals above.
Now that I have a good idea of what I need to accomplish for the quarter, I can break that down into just what I can do this month; conduct 20+ cultural interviews and at least 10 technical interviews.
Lastly, I set down each Sunday afternoon to break down my Monthly Goals into Daily Tasks that can be accomplished this week. I try to have 2-3 critical tasks for each day across all of my goals.
To easily hit my monthly goal, I’ll most likely need to do the following:
Monday – Create job requirements
Tuesday – Post job listing on 5 remote working job boards
Thursday – Filter through initial candidates and schedule 30-minute cultural interviews for the following week
Friday – Ask my network for any potential candidates that would be a great fit and looking for a new role.
What we’ve essentially done is take a very large goal of doing $1.5m in annual revenue and broken it down into actionable tasks that can be done starting Monday.
In other words: Annual Goals -> Quarterly Goals -> Monthly Goals -> Daily Tasks to complete.
The point here is that each of the tasks assigned to this week relates to my Monthly Goals and so on.
It may seem like a lot at once but I’m only looking at my Weekly breakdown throughout each week. When put into practice It’s oddly calming to know that if you just accomplish this week’s tasks everything else will settle into place with ease.
Creating a Routine
It’s essential to create a routine of reverse-engineering your goals. Otherwise, how do you know that you’re on track? Just as important, basing your weekly tasks off your Monthly/Quarterly/Annual goals keeps you on track. It’s easy to get “shiny object syndrome” being an entrepreneur. We all know how important focus is in the long-term. Why not make that easier on ourselves?
For my routine, I’ve developed what I call Maintenance Day, which is a set group of tasks that when completed each Sunday ensure the following week is a massive success. Essentially, I’m “maintaining” my life to stay on track.
Finding the Nerdy Glue
Let’s get this out of the way… It’s actually super hard for me to not automate something these days. Being very busy means that I never want to waste a second of my time if I don’t have to.
Part of my nerdy obsession is connecting my Airtable base with Todoist. Why? Because I work from Todoist in my day-to-day life. That’s right, even the Daily tasks in my Airtable are pushed over to Todoist. The reason for this is that I obviously have more tasks than just the 2-3 critical few that need to be accomplished. Why jump between tools when I’m getting deep work accomplished?
To streamline my daily execution, I have a Zapier “Zap” created that triggers every time I “complete’ a task in Todoist. It then searches my Airtable and checks off any found tasks. In doing so, the Airtable becomes “self-updating/correcting”.
You can copy my Zapier Zap here.
To clarify, I use Airtable mainly for planning and Todoist for the actual execution of things. Because Todoist is incredibly fast at adding new tasks throughout the day, I work from there 90% of the time.
A final change I could make is to have Zapier create new Todoist tasks when a new Weekly Task is added to the Airtable to further streamline my process. Either way, What Nat has put together is fantastic alone. This is simply my nerdy adjustment and how I take such a framework and execute on it daily using Todoist.