A System for Running Your Life
Most start-up founders say they have too much to do and too little time. I have been there. When running my first company as a 19-year old just finishing college, I was working 120+ hour weeks and extremely stressed. I felt that I had way too much on my plate and couldn’t keep up with all the forces pulling me in so many directions while building my start-up and attempting to still have a life. Here I will share with you the system that I implemented as I built my second company in order to ensure I live a fulfilled life while accomplishing the things that matter most.
This has resulted in dramatic increases in my productivity and happiness and significantly more time to do the things I truly care about.
Over time, I also incorporated significant aspects of the system that our partner Tony Robbins created, called RPM. You can learn more about RPM here and in the audio program Time of Your Life, which we share with all our portfolio CEOs to support their mastery of time. Those links have much more detailed versions of the brief summary below.
Areas of Life
First, I identified the 10–12 areas of life that are most important to me. For my personal life, these are body, emotions, marriage, learning, finances, and friendship. For my professional life, these are investing, inventing, administering, coaching, and marketing.
Next, I created long-term inspiring visions for each of these areas that excite me about why I am pursuing growth in this part of life. For example, for investing, my vision statement is:
Invest in and coach entrepreneurial scientists transforming billions of lives with breakthrough inventions and generating massive return on investment for backers.
Additionally, I decided where I want to be in this area of life in 5 years: invest in and coach 100+ inspirational CEOs to distribute world-changing inventions (and the vision is why). Based on this 5-year outcome, I decided that within 1-year I wanted to invest in and coach 10+ inspirational CEOs. With these visions and outcomes clearly defined for each area, I had what I need to organize my weekly planning process.
To start each week, I celebrate the outcomes I achieved from the prior week. I then identify what outcomes I want to achieve in each area of life mentioned above by looking at the 1-year outcomes (and quarter outcomes which I create quarterly similarly) for each area. I also reread the vision to associate to why I want to achieve those long-term and next week outcomes. This makes them inspiring and passionate commitments rather than to-dos.
This process takes me about one hour and by the end of it, I know exactly what outcomes I am deciding to achieve for the week. Additionally, I schedule time for every single outcome on my calendar. It isn’t real until it is scheduled.
Also, I word every outcome as something specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely and I use language that connects to my vision so I am excited by it. I don’t relate to my list of outcomes as ‘to-dos’ that I have to get through, but rather as the practical means of realizing my life’s purpose.
For all the smaller ‘to-dos’ that come up, I put them as subtasks of the parent outcomes (which are in an Asana project I use to organize myself) so that I can still remember the smaller deliverables but they aren’t my focus. This also keeps my number of priorities to <8 each week (as I usually don’t work on all areas of life every week). It means I can obsess with what matters rather than random interruptions.
Because I am spending my time on what I truly care about, time feels abundant rather than limited. I encourage you to use this system and realize the productivity and happiness benefits that I have experienced.
Prime Movers Lab invests in breakthrough scientific startups founded by Prime Movers, the inventors who transform billions of lives. We invest $1mm-$3mm in seed-stage companies reinventing energy, transportation, infrastructure, manufacturing, human augmentation and computing.