The most successful customers and businesses I’ve worked with always had a system. That’s why I’m on a mission to create my own system that will allow me to work on the extra things in my career and life that I know will help me achieve my vision for success.
I’ve been able to identify some new methods that are helping me accomplish more of these extra tasks—but I’ve also come across some that I know won’t work for me, like habit stacking. If habit stacking would work for me, I’d floss more.
And even though habit stacking doesn’t work for me—habit tracking does.
One morning I was scrolling through my podcasts for a sales topic that spoke to me. I have a few staple sales podcasts where I like the host and their interview style, so I usually skim their topics until something jumps out at me. The air dates don’t really matter because the great sales tactics and sales people are always timeless. If the podcast really resonates with me then I will check out the guest’s website or podcast—they all have them.
While scrolling through the Salesman Podcast with Will Barron, a certain title caught my eye: Why Strategy, Not Working More Makes Millionaires with Brian Margolis (show #615 April 12, 2019).
In the podcast Margolis explains how his Pillars System helps you create a simple weekly strategy that allows sales professionals and entrepreneurs to earn more by focusing on less.
Your tasks in The Pillars System are meant to be kept simple and small enough to fit on an index card. I immediately took interest in Brian’s system because it highlights how improving on a certain skill or executing some tasks more regularly will help your business and career take major leaps over time.
I reached out to Brian via LinkedIn and asked him why people need systems and why the Pillars System works he said,
“You can grind your way to a certain level of success with just your talents/skills alone, but if you want to go to the next level, you need to have an actual strategy. A strategy that tells you ahead of time where to intentionally spend your limited mental energy. If you count on making the right decisions about where to spend your time and energy in the heat of the moment, you will usually do the urgent, not the significant.”
The Pillar System is a proven way to create that strategy.
Here is how The Pillars System is supposed to look on an index card.
|One Blog||Future Blog Idea||Meeting|
|3 Workouts||Networking Group||Weekly To Do List|
|4 Hours STA||Prospecting|
|1 Hour Website||Stain Deck|
The first column is for your Pillars and other two columns on the index card are for your To-Do list and an Ideas section.
The To-Do list has your main tasks for the day, these are the tasks that you already perform on a regular basis for your work or personal life. The ideas column is for the thoughts that pop in your head throughout the week that you may want to work on. You put these new ideas here so you can re-visit them later and so they won’t interfere with your daily routine
Here are some of my Pillars that I identified as things I wanted to work on and accomplish each week:
- One blog
- 3 workouts (20 mins + stretch + 25 pu)
- 4 hours STA
- 1 hour on website
The list of four things you see above are the extra things I want to work on each week in addition to my regular job and family obligations. It contains both professional and personal goals. The tasks are written in shorthand to fit on the index card everyday.
Here’s what each Pillar actually means for me:
- One blog – My goal is to finish one blog draft each week. It doesn’t have to be ready to post but I should be able to send it to my editor for future posting. Now I added in the finalization of a draft I received back from my editor to post. This pillar actually started as just writing for two hours a week in order to make writing become a habit but it evolved over time.
- 3 workouts (20 mins + stretch + 25 push ups) – This actually started off with more days and longer workouts but I soon realized that pillar that wasn’t being reached each week so I changed it to three days a week and only twenty minutes. This made the task more manageable and shortly after that I was checking it off each week.
- 4 hours Sharpening the AX (STA) – This refers to doing outside learning about sales and other subjects that I believe will help my business. It can be reading a book, article or listening to podcasts. Podcasts allowed me to increase this from two hours to four.
- 1 hour website – Everyone said to do a WordPress site and it just takes time to learn. I’m still learning.
The Pillars strategy allowed me to frame each week with my main tasks like meetings, sales calls, family duties and then add in my dream tasks (Pillars): writing, working out, reading/learning, etc.
One of the other things that the Pillars System emphasized was having a Friday Night Feeling: something that left you feeling finished at the end of each week. I took that one step further to make sure each day I had a Five O’Clock Feeling. And before any of you super sales people or wannabe Gary Vees start messaging me on how, “There are no weekends!” “I never stop working!” Or “This is why you’ll never achieve your dreams!” Just Stop.
The Friday Night and Five O’Clock feeling allow me to look back at the end of each day and each week and have a sense of accomplishment knowing I did what I set out to do. This allowed me to then look forward to tomorrow’s tasks and enjoy the time I had with my family.
Remember, the system is all about focus and simplicity and not more work.
Habit tracking through Pillars has allowed me to accomplish things I’ve been talking about doing for too long. One of the other real benefits is that it has allowed me to be present and actually enjoy what I’m working on at that moment.
Before I would get frustrated that I was working on something when I really wanted to be working on what I was dreaming of—knowing deep down that I wouldn’t be working on that either—and that’s where the real frustration lied. But now I am working on those dream projects and seeing rapid growth. I also know that these Pillars will eventually become habits and part of my daily routine which will allow me to create and conquer new Pillars. I may actually learn how to play guitar one day.
If you thought learning new habits was hard, see what happens in my next post where I’m forced to think of myself as a brand, a logo and just a few adjectives.
Here’s a preview — I literally made myself look like a dick.