Editor’s Note: John Corcoran was recently in Epic Launch Class and had some great thoughts on how to use the planners, so we invited him to share them with you. Enjoy!
Who I am: I’m John Corcoran, an attorney and business advisor in the San Francisco Bay Area. I also blog about how small business owners can grow their businesses at SmartBusinessRevolution.com.
What I do: I work mostly with entrepreneurs, small business owners and real estate investors, helping them to grow and avoid problems with current or past vendors or partners or past clients. In a previous life, I worked in politics and was fortunate to work in the Clinton White House and as a speechwriter in the California Governor’s office.
Why I plan: As an attorney, I constantly have multiple clients with client-related work in various stages of urgency that needs to be done. My in-box and voicemail box both fill up quickly and it’s very easy to spin through my entire week reactively rather than actively. My challenge is to move through my week with forethought and a deliberate plan.
I have a long term goal of using my blog as a platform to transition my business more towards a product-based model rather than a services-based model and using planners helps me remain focused on that long-term goal.
If I don’t plan, I tend to lurch from urgent task to urgent task without thought as to the long-term goals.
Which planners I use: I mostly use the Daily Action Planner and the Monthly Action Planner, although I also continue to experiment with other planners such as the Freelancer Workweek and Blog Post Planner.
How I use them: I am constantly fiddling around with how I use the planners to see if I can increase their usefulness. I currently take 15 or 20 minutes on Monday morning to write out everything I need to do for the next week or two. I usually do this on the Monthly Action Planner.
After I write out everything that comes to mind on my Monthly Planner, then I move on to the daily action planner and write out my five major projects in focus. Because I’m an attorney, usually 3-4 of these projects are clients who I am working on, and I’ll leave 1-2 of the spaces for larger projects I am working on related to my blog, like an upcoming webinar.
I like how the daily action planner limits how much space you have available, to force you to concentrate on five large projects. I agree with Charlie’s admonition that if you have more than 5 large projects, you are probably juggling too much in any given day.
I find that by focusing on five large projects during any given day, that I end up getting more accomplished by the end of the week.
That doesn’t mean I don’t end up bouncing over to other projects during my day, but hopefully it does help me focus on creating progress on each of the five projects I have on my daily action planner.
That’s how I’m using the planners now, but like I said, it’s constantly changing as I try to iterate and improve their usefulness. One thing I particularly like is I know I’m not taking full advantage of all these planners have to offer – so there is still room for improvement as my business grows and evolves.
John Corcoran is an attorney with the Corcoran Law Firm (www.johncorcoranlaw.com) in the San Francisco Bay Area. He blogs about small business issues at SmartBusinessRevolution.com.