The definitive guide for planning your day to maximize your potential and meet cute people

Day Planner for maximum potential

Ok, so the title was a bit misleading but if Google and I are still buds, I’m guessing you are here to meet cute people. It could happen by reading this post, but not likely. Pull up a chair anyway.

It has become fashionable among all the A-list blogger folk this time of year to tell you how to plan your day, focus this much time on that task, focus on that, blah, blah, blah. Take this from an old dog — they are all wrong.

The chart above is how I plan my day. Everything gets planned Before Walk (BW) or After Walk (AW) but the walk never, ever gets skipped. We are never too busy for the walk. The smaller bubbles attached to the walk bubble are really important too and will always get done when the opportunity presents itself. The smaller bubbles on the outside are things life makes us do.

A few years ago, the walk bubble was really small and all the other bubbles were larger. As time went by, many things that I thought were important just turned out not to be and became small bubbles. The walk bubble got larger. I also focused on making the walk bubble larger and hope one day to make my entire day the walk bubble.

Get it? Now since we’re dogs here, the walk bubble is a literal walk bubble. But in your life, it might just be a metaphor for what you want to do. If you are a potter, maybe you want to throw clay all day. If you are a writer, you may want to sling words. If you are a photographer, your walk bubble may be taking photos.

Define your central bubble and figure out how to make that the central part of your day. Then figure out how to expand it out until nothing else is more important than the central bubble. Minimize all the smaller bubbles and keep what makes the central bubble more intense and worth doing.

Pretty simple, eh? No charts, no keeping track of how much time you spend doing stuff. Just a laser-like focus on increasing the amount of time you spend doing what makes life worth living.

And you people who came in looking for cute people; if that is your central bubble, at least you are ahead of most people. You know what you want to do. We hope we expanded your bubble just a little bit more.

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The ROI of “social networking”

Soccer photo from the Mead Cup Soccer Tournament in Dayton, Ohio
Soccer photo from the Mead Cup Soccer Tournament in Dayton, Ohio
I received a panic email from a graphic designer at a local city magazine yesterday who desperately needed some photos of a soccer tournament. “Anything you have showing local kids playing soccer!” she said. Since she was referred by someone who had faith that I would come through for her, it was hard to say no, even though I really didn’t have the extra time.

Fortunately, we had commissioned a photo shoot for TourneyCentral a few months back and the photos were still on my MacBook Pro. So, I opened the folder, pulled out a few dozen photos, threw them in a gallery using Photoshop, put them up on some Web space and sent her the link.

“Email me the file names of the ones you want, give the photographer credit,” I wrote back.

Within an hour, she had her local photos, I made another contact in the local publishing community who sent me back a huge “sigh of relief and gratitude” email (on a holiday week), reaffirmed my value with the local chamber contact who referred me, gave some more exposure to a local photographer, subtly plugged the Mead CUSA Cup Soccer Tournament and maybe created some business opportunity for myself later on down the line.

What I did not do was calculate an ROI for this act of networking.

Why didn’t I? I’m in business and the responsible thing to do — I’ve been told — is to have an ROI for everything I do. What was the return on my spending an hour of time and effort I did not really have to spare? How did your actions affect the bottom line of your business? You paid to have those photos taken; why did you just give them away to a publication? What is the ROI on spending another hour writing the blog post you are reading now? All of these things I heard in the back of my head as I was doing this act of kindness for this very desperate graphic designer who probably was behind schedule through no fault of her own.

Again, knowing all this, I did not calculate an ROI.

Is what I did considered social networking? Yeah, I think it is. It is no different than sending folks tweets on Twitter and helping out with requests for code or software recommendations or sharing a MacBook Pro power adapter when someone sends out a “help me” tweet. Nor is it any different than spending time commenting on a blog post that may not have examined all the facts entirely.

I propose a new standard for ROI on social networking: If you ask what the ROI is for social networking, you are already convinced emotionally that you need to do it. Go with that, jump in and tweet, blog and link in and the “financial ROI” will fall into place.