‘Routine’ Success

What regularly scheduled activities keep you focused and on the path to achieving your goals, both large and small, throughout the year?

darren-nolander-routine-success-featuredWe’re well into the summer months, a time when many people opt for shorter workdays and longer vacations. A recharge every now and then is fine – it’s even encouraged, as we can disconnect, soak up whatever it is that we enjoy and emerge re-energized, re-committed and ready to work! The only downside to this is that our deal flow and prospect pipeline is likely to dry up to a small trickle in our absence.

This is not only due to our own vacation schedules, but the unpredictable schedules of others who may also opt for week-plus-long vacations throughout this three-month summer period. This dip in productivity can compound when you factor in the notorious holiday slump, which occurs each year, just like Christmas, as the final quarter of the year gets underway.


Fear not. This is eye-opener is not an excuse to throw your hands up in defeat, declaring “I’m doomed! I might as well just coast through the rest of 2017 and focus hard when 2018 comes.” Instead, this is the perfect opportunity to establish a few habits that can smooth out the peaks and valleys that occur throughout the year for various reasons.

Think about it. It’s much easier to play offense and map your own way to the hoop than it is to prevent the other person from scoring, all the while trying to steal the ball back and then  having to make your way down court to your own basket. With this in mind, I thought I would share the three things I do everyday to keep me focused and on the path to productivity.


  1. I review my goals each morning to keep myself focused on the most pressing and impactful tasks at hand. This helps combat the inevitable distractions that will pop up throughout the day. You’re a lot less likely to succumb to these tempting Sirens if your goals remain at the forefront of your mind.

This is something one of my mentors, Michael Hyatt, refers to as “shifting the drift.” Being aware of the “drift,” actively changing its current and setting your sails in the direction toward your own success are the keys to staying on point and getting things done, Michael notes.

  1. I try as hard as I can to remain proactive, not reactive, which is essentially the same thing as playing offense, not defense. This starts in the planning stages. Reviewing your goals on a daily basis is great, but those goals are just one blip on a much larger macroscopic radar. Remember, you’re trying to achieve things you set out to tackle on Jan. 1, if not before. Those goals are almost impossible if you don’t break them down into manageable, activity-driven tidbits that can be accomplished at regular intervals.

This starts with planning your calendar on a variety of levels. Break down your umbrella goals for the year and then map out the various steps that need to be taken on a monthly, weekly, daily – heck, even hourly – basis. Sit down with your calendar on the final days of the month or week, and plot you destiny for the next manageable chunk of time. When this is executed properly, daily goal management is much more sustainable.

  1. I bite the bullet and handle tasks that are easy to excuse away in favor of more “pressing” matters (these matters are rarely ever that pressing, but rather serve as excuses valid enough that we don’t feel guilty for procrastinating) in the morning. For me, these are calls directly related to FAM’s successful, long-term growth. I make five recruiting calls, five days a week, with each call pre-scheduled for the following day. All five of these calls are consciously planned before noon to prevent life from getting in the way of successfully completing this task.

Once these calls are done, I take a pen and make a visible strike through that priority on my list. This tangible effort ushers in a feeling of accomplishment and holds me accountable. No five calls? No strike. The task remains on the list, staring at me in all its unfinished glory. It may be just ink on a paper, but I cannot overemphasize the feeling of achievement that comes with knowing a task that can easily be put off – but could also just as easily lead to my larger goal of overseeing FAM’s successful growth – is one step closer to fruition.

What regularly scheduled activities keep you focused and on the path to achieving your goals, both large and small, throughout the year? I’d love to hear them! Drop me a line and let me know at dnolander@financeofamerica.com.


Regional Vice President - Southwest

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