How to ace the world’s toughest interviews

January 10th, 2011 - 349 Comments

It seems we’ve given up on being ambitious these days. How often do you hear the press saying, “Young people would be lucky to get a job in this economy”?

In fact, it’s almost un-cool to be ambitious: If you say “Yeah, I really want to work at [Top-ranked company] or get into [Elite college] or [Ridiculous goal like travel around the world for 2 years], lots of us would get weird looks, since we’re just supposed to be happy to have a job. Any job.

This invisible anchor of low expectations makes us give up on ambitious dreams because it would be “weird” and uncomfortable to talk about the bigger goals we have.

Compare this low-performing mentality to top performers, who are still getting more job offers than they can handle, making more money than they’ve ever made before, and living a lifestyle that would be envious to most people. But they don’t get press very often.

I think it’s cool to be ambitious. It’s great to dream bigger than your friends and parents. And if you take action to hit your goals, the critics will fade away.

For example, I had friends that used to say things like “So when are you going to get a real job?” A couple years ago, that changed to, “Man, I wish I had your schedule.”

And much of this low-expectation mentality is due to our invisible scripts.

Here’s an example from uber-entrepreneur Steve Blank, who writes about a fascinating story: Some of his former students had started a company, and while it had been successful for a few years, they were now selling merger deals and found themselves mysteriously losing deals to bigger competitors.

After Steve listened to their challenges, he said this:

“My first observation is that you guys don’t even know what you don’t know,” I suggested. “Large procurements for government agencies are being played out on level you aren’t participating in. There’s a game going on around you that you don’t even know about.

That last line — “There’s a game going on around you that you don’t even know about” — is a profound truth that most people never realize. They truly believe that if they simply try harder, they’ll get a promotion and make more money.

They truly believe that if they go to grad school, it will be the single-best thing to improve their job prospects.

They truly believe that buying a house will give them financial security, and that listening to their financial advisor will give them “trusted” information, and that choosing a marketable major in college will get them a good job.

Sometimes these assumptions work, but often not. Is it any surprise that many people are frustrated that they’ve been sold a bill of goods? That the American dream doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to?

For many of us, there’s a game going on around us that we don’t even realize. Today, I’ll share some of those games with you.

In fact, this week I’ll be covering more on “invisible scripts” in my 30-day free course on hustling your way to success.

  • Monday: Automating your invisible scripts
  • Tuesday: Examples of successfully automating scripts (bonus email if you’re on my free pre-launch list)
  • Wednesday: Expert case study on hustling
  • Thursday: LIVE webcast where I’ll do live teardowns of your invisible scripts and show you how to take action with them (keep your evening free)
  • Friday: Winner of “Take Action” award for this week, plus preview of next week’s content

At the end of this month, I’ll be launching Earn1k 2.0, a new version of my comprehensive program on hustling and earning money on the side.

Now, check out the invisible games that go on around us…without us even knowing about them.

Behind the scenes: How to ace the world’s toughest interviews

A few months ago, I met a college student at a conference. He was telling me about his job search. “I have a few companies I want to go after,” he said excitedly. “I’m pretty sure I can get a job offer from all of them. Then I ‘ll have to pick! I just have to start working on my interviews. What do you suggest?”

I asked him if he’d researched the interview process. Had he done any practice interviews with friends? What about reaching out to older friends who worked there? He shook his head no impatiently. Then he told me he’d get to all that, but did I have any “tips” to share with him?

I didn’t know what to tell him. He had no idea what he was getting into.

The companies he named were some of the most competitive in the Bay Area. He had little experience (which is fine for college students) and a competitive GPA. But his communication skills were terrible. As we talked — with him talking at me instead of with me — I compared him to a group of friends I had in college.

During interview season, this group of friends and I sat around the dining halls and shared our best interview techniques on a regular basis. We shared the craziest questions we got, the best answers we’d given, and the strategies that alumni — the hiring managers — had let us in on. My friends from this group went on to get jobs at McKinsey, BCG, Google, Goldman, and other extraordinary companies.

This isn’t meant to brag. But let me share what was happening in these dining-hall meetings. Each of us was relentlessly focused on becoming the world’s best interviewees. We studied interview techniques — for hours every week. We tested our best material with interviewers. (Many students would schedule interviews with companies they have no interest in to use as “practice interviews.” Like it or not, it works.) Then we brought it back to the group, compared notes, practiced our cadence, rhythm, and tone, tore each other’s answers apart, and systematically improved our interview skills. Over and over.

So when this random guy at a conference was telling me his interview strategy, there was a game going on around him that he didn’t even realize. Serious applicants to companies like McKinsey were practicing their case-interview techniques for MONTHS before they ever stepped foot in the interview room. These same applicants that had talked to alumni/friends currently at their target companies to get the inside scoop on what really mattered in the interviews. They’d read books and Vault Guides and had attended info sessions. By the time they got to the interview, they were absolutely ready.

And, as with virtually any other complex transaction, 85% of the work was done before these serious candidates ever stepped foot into the interview room.

And the scary thing is, this is what most top performers do.

What does this mean for you?

Am I saying that you need connections and dozens of hours of interview prep to get a job with these companies?

Of course not.

But it sure stacks the odds in your favor.

Ambition + preparation

There’s a difference between being ambitious and realistically ambitious. Anyone can say they want to be President, or work on Wall Street, or travel around the world on passive income.

But realistically ambitious people articulate their goals, then describe the action they’ve taken to achieve them.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to claim you want something…without working for it.

  • “I want to have 6-pack abs!” (But I haven’t scheduled in 3x/week to go to the gym.)
  • I want to be rich!” (But I haven’t even read one good personal finance book)
  • “I want to work at [TOP COMPANY]!” (But I haven’t done any serious research, including informational interviews, mock interviews, and investigations into how people get jobs there and what they do afterwards.)

The key difference is bringing ambition to reality through testing.

When I met with my college friends every few days during interview season, we were systematically testing our interview theories and skills. When we started, we knew we weren’t the best. But by the end, we could walk into an interview and close it like nobody’s business.

Over the next 4 weeks, I’m going to be pulling back the curtain on a different topic each week to show you what’s really going on behind the scenes. Today, we covered interviews for top companies.

  • CURRENT invisible script for job interviews: “If I do a little research and show up, I should probably be able to turn this interview into a job.”
  • REALISTIC invisible script: “I’m competing against people who are 3x as qualified as I am. The actual script

And there are more invisible scripts for jobs, relationships, earning money, big projects like writing books, and virtually every other area of life.

 

*     *     *

Results from last week’s test: TAKING ACTION

Last week, I asked people to list 3 assumptions and test them. Of course, once you ask people to take action, a small fraction actually do. So today, here are some actual results that people got in 48 hours’ of testing their theories.

Actual results from 48 hours’ of testing:

- “I talked to two potential customers. 1 called me back the next day to hire my service.”

- “I actually got a $1,000 raise. They completely agreed with all of my points!”

- “Biggest result so far? I GOT OFF MY BUTT AND DID SOMETHING. I’ve *finally* launched an ad campaign of some kind. Now that I’ve done it, all I have to do is tweak it. I haven’t sold one yet, but over 100,000 people will see my ad. If even *one* actually buys the eBook, I’ve done more than I have in the last nine months.”

- “I launched a web site with a few hours of work.”

- “I wrote a 23 page eBook, sent out to 15 people to test it, and got 3 response, and two pending.”

- “I wrote one paid article and applied for two job offers on a job board and it didn’t even feel like working, because I was so “in the zone” and happy about doing what I had been putting off for weeks.”

- “I was checking for vegetables when I saw this cute girl. She was obviously looking for something specific. I knew I had to make a move. I wasn’t able to do nothing. Just like that I hear your voice Ramit. You told me go for it.  I said to her are you looking for something. She said yeah I’m looking for ground corn. I could say yeah it’s over there but instead I ask for her recipe with ground corn.  A nice conversation begins. My next move was to ask her number. I was ready for a big no. Guess what? She gave it to me. I was surprised. I’m not sure I can duplicate this success but I will try it again another day.”

-  “I only ever hit on girls that I hadn’t met before, so this was an AMAZING experience for me. I started out by just approaching two girls I already knew, out of which one I had a crush on for SEVEN years! The idea that they were impassable when compared with girls I didn’t know was completely dispelled and my confidence increased TEN-FOLD. I flirted with them as I would normally do, and I expect to take them on an AWESOME date next week. You just helped me break a pattern of ignorance that lasted SEVEN years!! Thank you!”

- “I talked to the president (of the company), spent some time understanding his specific problem, and offered him a solution. I made sure to quote him a rate that I’ll be happy charging him for all of 2011, and he agreed.”

- “ALL THREE BIDS, for the three projects, at the higher price, were accepted! The customers didn’t even bat an eye! I am quick, detail oriented and efficient and I now realize that people are happy to pay a higher price when you give them results they didn’t even know they could get!!”

Not everyone had such success:

- “I also noted 3 other organizations I would like to practice my speaking skills with and sent them an email as well. Results: nothing yet.”

- “None, I was told the only fees the bank would refund are ones that are of bank errors. Since this was due to an error on my side, they have to adhere to the Terms and Conditions.”

- “I heard back from 2 companies about working with them, I failed miserably and made gross pancake type things, I was told there was no way I would qualify for the University of California San Diego and should attend another college.”

Do you see what’s going on here?

Many of these people got more done in 48 hours towards their goals than they had in years. Notice what I wrote: “towards their goals.” We can spend every day doing meaningless tasks, but if you take an honest look at what you accomplished last year, did it take you closer to your biggest goals?

Even the failures are a positive trend. While they may have tactically failed on this small task, they made an important change: taking action, instead of waiting for something to happen to them.

Negative invisible scripts

There’s a game going on around you that you don’t even know about.

How many of us go through life without testing our theories? Here are a few of the most insidious:

SCRIPT: “I could make $160,000/year if I just had a law degree.”
REALITY: Going to law school is likely to leave the average student in crushing debt — and law schools are systematically deceiving students. This is why top performers know to only go to top 10 law schools, or they don’t go at all.  (The same is true of business school.)

SCRIPT: “Why would anybody want to help me? What would they get out of it?”
REALITY: People LOVE to help people who take action. If some random emails me and tells me his delusional dreams, I’ll probably ignore him. But if he says, “Here’s my plan…I’ll email you back in 2 weeks with results. Then I’m hoping to get some advice after I’ve showed you that I can take action.” I’ll always respond. Who would be willing to help you?

SCRIPT: “I need to read more and more about investing before getting started.”
REALITY: You could set up your investment accounts by the end of the week and contribute $50/month to it — and be better off than someone who spent the next year “researching” their investments. (Note that I’m not saying you should just open up an account and dump your money anywhere. You need to do your research. But you can find out a basic place to invest, and “tune” your contribution amounts and asset allocation over time. I cover this in detail in chapters 3 and 7 of my book.)

Of COURSE there are exceptions to every one of these trends. There are huge successes that go to non-top-10 law schools and end up wildly successful, just as there are entrepreneurs who have hit it big without ever opening an investment account. But if you talk to most top performers, you’ll notice these trends time after time.

Do you have any these negative scripts do you have in your life?

Positive invisible scripts

Here are a few key positive scripts that top performers hold:

- “People want to help me, so it’s OK to ask them for advice”
- “I have a larger network than I realize..including my friends, friends’ friends, alumni, parents’ friends, and even people on LinkedIn and people whose blogs I read”
- “It’s GOOD to be ambitious”
- “I want to out-prepare the SHIT out of this interview/application”

See the difference?

Negative scripts are about holding you back. Often, they’re so deep you don’t even realize how they’re constraining you.

Positive scripts dispense with the “Should I?” and get right to the “How can I…” part.

It’s not “Should I apply to XYZ…?” it’s “How can I get INTO XYZ? What would make me irresistible to them?”

Advanced step: Automating positive scripts

Last week, we focused on identifying and testing our assumptions, which are invisible scripts that prevent us from getting what we want.

There’s one more step: automating the solutions into your life so you’re not dependent on willpower.

SCRIPT EXAMPLE: “I want to contact 5 people per week to offer my freelance services to”
- BAD implementation: “I should definitely do that. I’ll get started some time next week. Yeah, 5 people/week would be good.” (Notice loser language, including “should” and “would.”)
- GOOD implementation: “On Mondays, I do research on whom I should contact for the rest of the week. I write down the names and email addresses. Tues-Fri has 15 minutes blocked out each day on my calendar to contact and respond to my prospects.”

SCRIPT EXAMPLE: “I want to find a better job”
- BAD implementation: “I hate my job…I need to get something better…I should read some books on finding a job, and see what else is out there. I need to update my resume, too, and probably log into LinkedIn.”
- GOOD implentation: “I want to find a better job — which means it pays $5,000 more and lets me focus on XYZ area that I love — within 60 days. This week, I’m going to make a 7-week plan for finding a new job. I’m guessing I need to research my field, figure out which industries I should be looking at, narrow down the target companies to 4-5, then figure out who I know at each company. I could probably do each of these things in 1 week, but I’m going to give myself a little more time in case I have to wait on other people. By Friday, I’ll add a list of to-dos to my calendar for the next 7 weeks.”

See the difference?

Positive scripts are specific, measurable, and focused on HOW to do something…not if you SHOULD do something.

They don’t depend on your willpower: As long as you honor your self-set calendar reminders, you will know precisely when to do something.

Now I want you to focus on turning your invisible scripts into constructive successes.

THIS WEEK: What to do

I told you that each week this month I’m going to give you one specific action item to hustle your way toward your goals.

If you accomplish JUST these simple steps, you will get more done this week than you’ve done in the last 3 months.

Here’s the action item for week 1:

1. Identify ONE new invisible script of success and find a way to AUTOMATE IT into your life.
2. Leave your implementation results in the comments section of THIS post with the heading “WEEK 1 RESULTS” by WED at Midnight PST.

This isn’t just a random action item. Remember, each step in this 30-day course on hustling is designed to get you to achieve a BIG WIN. For those of you who take it seriously and take action, you will see incredible results. (Just see above for people’s results within 48 hours.)

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349 Comments

 

Comments

  1. Ramit, this article proves yet again that it’s not just about technical skills when it comes to interviewing. You really need confidence, persistence, luck, and passion. If there are one hundred people interviewing for the same position, with the same set of programming skills, the one’s that actually want the job are going to get it. Hiring managers aren’t dumb and can see through people who just want a paycheck!

    • I believe the combination you need is confidence and technical skills. Those 2 are worth more than 100 degrees and every other paper you may bring with you.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by pas, Austin Evarts. Austin Evarts said: How to ace the world’s toughest interviews: It seems we’ve given up on being ambitious these days. How often do… http://bit.ly/hG3tYl [...]

  3. Ahhhhhhh…. damnit, why didn’t someone TELL ME that being ambitious was uncool. This explains it all. Thanks :)

  4. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    Script: I want to sell 81 books by Jan 31, 2011
    Implementation:
    - Tuesday I will study good/successful email campaigns and send mine out Wednesday to my email list. Friday I will send out the same email to everyone who didn’t open my first one.
    - Mon-Sun I will write a daily blog post with an offer to buy my book at the bottom of each one. Statistically the more views my sales page gets the more books I sell that day. My goal in putting the link at the bottom of each post is to double my sales page views this week.

    • @Blake Erickson
      Instead of “send out the same email to everyone who didn’t open my first one”, e.g. instead of bugging people twice, why not ask those who did open your email and pitch them further until they take action you need?

    • @Sam @Blake

      You could do both, really, Blake. I work in the retail industry and re-sending an email is called a “re-blast” and can be quite successful. I would definitely agree with Sam’s idea to court the people who did open your email. Good luck!

  5. If you’re going to dream big, you have to be able to tune out counterproductive feedback. You’re going to get a lot of fear-based reactions and a lot of people projecting their own low-expectations onto you. Constructive feedback is great, but you have to be able to discern the different between constructive and destructive.

    I started taking action to achieve my “big dream”, and now I feel like the ball is really rolling, things are falling into place, and I’m moving full-speed toward the end result. The first few steps were small, very small even. It’s exhilarating to take on a “dream”. I feel like I can do anything.

  6. Ok then. This week’s tasks:

    1. Reach out to 3 acquaintances and set up a time to catch up with them. I think I should be doing this every week so I’m going to put a weekly reminder for myself.
    2. Devote 1 hour a day to my blogs. Will put this on the schedule so I can’t put it off. Maybe I’ll finally get to writing that guest post for you. :)

    By the way, I got into one of the top 10 business schools out there (Haas) by doing exactly what you said. I got my boss to put me in touch with a friend of his who was part of the admissions committee. She chatted, told me what was important and helped me through the process. Results: I knew I was accepted before the official letters even went out. People need to understand there’s a whole other game being played to get into these schools which most of them aren’t aware of.

    • I did a similar strategy when I wanted to get into Grad school. I went and did an informational interview and spoke with the decision maker. Even though she essentially told me at first that I probably wouldnt get in (potentially crushing) we continued talking about what my goals were with grad school, and the program of study I wanted to follow. After the interview I followed up, thanking for the time she took. Results – I got into the grad program and even had the DM as my advisor.

    • My nephew got into a top tier internship (RIM) inspire of attending a second tier school (Conestoga College vs UofW) by doing the same thing friend of a friend put him in contact with the person who ran the program to find out how they sorted through all the applications. Later he sought advice from my Wife on how to interview and what job to apply.

      As an aside he didn’t get the job he wanted (messed up the interview) but it turned out very well as he got a job he liked much better. Currently he’s in Israel for a year.

      BTW the reason he didn’t go to UofW is that he has a reading disability and can hardly read.

  7. Like Erin, I too have dealt with naysayers and destructive people that were needlessly holding me back from where I wanted to be in life. Now I make sure to surround myself with those who are positive and supportive, but at the same time they don’t blow smoke up my ass and will point out potential roadblocks to me.

    It only takes a spark to get a fire blazing. :)

  8. Excellent post. I often hear people saying they wish they could travel more. I’m proof that you can have a day job and STILL travel. I ask my boss for vacation all the time. You know what the answer ALWAYS is? Yes. He always says yes.

    I took my fiancée to London for a weekend, to ABQ for a week, I went to Tampa for a long weekend, and I’ve taken numerous other days off just in 2010 for vacation purposes. It all really amounts to action. Thinking you can never get what you want is MUCH different than knowing. All it takes is a simple action.

    Thanks again, for the post.

    • Casey, does your boss give you paid leave whenever you ask for it, or are you taking unpaid leave but the point is that you’re willing to ask for more time off than you get in PTO?

      I totally agree with your approach, I’m just curious to clarify what you’re asking for.

    • Hi Rebecca! Yes, the leave I’m talking about is paid. I do have the PTO to use, but I hear a lot of people afraid to ask to even use that. Another bit of the point I’m making is that I ask for vacation so often. I try to take a nice vacation every quarter. A lot of people (in my office, at least) seem to think that you’ll get in trouble if you take more vacation. I just make sure my work speaks for my capability and hop on the plane!

      Thanks for asking :)

  9. These are things that I think I’ve reasoned out for myself quite a few times, but it never hit me with the same force as you’ve so clearly put it here. It’s true, being smart and having skills isn’t enough if I don’t have a reasonable attack plan for achieving my goals.

    Thank you for the reminder!

  10. I didn’t respond to the 48 hour hustling post, but I did take action. My script: I want to find work this year as a second shooter for weddings – with someone awesome.

    On Mondays and Fridays, I will research and write to five local wedding photographers who do great work and ask them to take me on. I will do this until someone hires me long-term, even if I have good prospects from previous contacts. Last year I put all my eggs in one basket and that person fell through, leaving me with no second shooting gig.

  11. I got voluntold to organize a repeating event at my work that involves inviting a different local speaker to give a talk each week for all of 2011, but I originally didn’t feel like I knew enough people because I am fairly new in my field and not very influential yet. With a few google searches for possible relevant presenters and my LinkedIn network, I now have speakers through the end of February! How I will keep going: I will spend an hour every Sunday evening emailing prospectives and POLITELY following up with people who aren’t able to say yes. The invisible script I am beginning to internalize: No, really! People are actually very helpful and nice! I am shocked every time when I get a friendly, constructive response from a distinguished person in my field.

  12. hey Remit, really enjoying this new material and getting great results from week one, spent yesterday reading about the fundamental attribution error after your email outlining what you’d be covering each week. Fascinating insight I never even realized how my own perpsective and others shift around this, blew my mind when just after that I was at party and two people I know had a fight which was a textbook example and I’ve been seeing it everywhere and made me think a lot about my own view. Looking forward to working on my own scripts this week!

  13. random debugging thing. If you try to tab through the fields on your email subscribe form it takes you to the form in the upper right column. in FF

  14. Script: I want to become an import model — In 2011, I want to be a model at one car show.

    Implementation: By Tuesday night, I will send out FOUR emails. These will be to a local club about a dancing gig, two models for advice (models I would have previously been afraid to contact) and one to an organization I’m interested in working with on what they would like in their models.

    This is so that I have a better, CONCRETE idea of what I need to do to get a few steps closer to my dream, not just guessing at what they are looking for.

    Hopefully by Wednesday I’ll have something to report! :) I want to spend today figuring out who I will contact and work on drafting exactly what I want to say. I’ll also be working on some other modeling related things, but this is the easiest for me to quantify for this assignment!

  15. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    Script: I want to get my web app to beta to be able to test it by 28th February.
    Implementation:
    - By Tuesday 11th, 6pm GMT+1 I will have set up parental controls to only allow me to reference sites (jquery, wordpress, css, thesis, etc). I will also have established what the bare minimum is for beta testing. Each day I will contribute 2 hours towards getting the app into beta according to these rules (added to google calendar):
    – If I’m off for the day, or on holiday, between 14-16pm.
    – If I’m on late shift (17-closing), between 10am-12pm.
    – If I’m on early shift (6:30 – 16:00), between 18-20pm.
    – If I’m on split shift (6:30-12 and 17-closing), between 13-15pm.
    Every Monday I will take 30 minutes extra before the 2 hr time slots to take a step back, look at the bigger picture, evaluate, modify the plan and get back to work.

    My goal is to actually pour my idea into code, that has been with me for the past 3 years (!!!).

  16. The way you redefine scripts is to make things concrete, attainable, measurable, and with a given timeline. This sure has been true for me with weight loss. I’ve failed without a timeline, but succeed easily when I had external motivation of a hard deadline.

    Also, thanks for the regular emails. I don’t know when the course will be right for me (sorry the 50+ weeks at work right now are killing my free time). And totally not trying to make excuses. :) I will say though, your emails keep me motivated and optimistic, and provide a reminder of what I should be doing. If nothing else in the past week, I finally revived my blog and have started posting again. Thanks.

  17. I need to follow the script: Work in a field/area that I enjoy. I’ve been working for almost 3 years in a field that I don’t love, and for a company I actively want to leave. I found that in job interviews I feel like I am having trouble communicating to interviewers why I enjoy working in my field, but it is because I am having trouble justifying to myself why I work in this field. If I cannot convince myself I love it, how could I convince someone else? And more importantly why then am I actively seeking a new job in that same dreaded field?

    I know, and it is very much thanks to this site, that I need to take a big leap. I just need to move past those fears and the scripts from my elders that I’m out of my mind for taking a risk, “especially in this economy.”

    My first step is to make sure my idea for a new career (opening a spice/tea/coffee retail business) is “the one” and researching what it would take to open my business. So far I have spent over 4 hours researching with the Small Business Association and my local government’s resources what it would take. My next goal is to speak to mentors and others in the industry, and begin drafting a business plan. Simultaneously I am taking steps to reasonably raise my credit score to improve my chances at getting the loans.

    • Why not just ask a few people if they’d be interested. Get the first 3 customers and go from there. You’re already setting up barriers by using never-ending tasks as concrete milestones (eg. researching). Ramit is a much better motivator than I am, but just start asking. Research is like laundry: it never ends, and you’ll eventually need to buy new close anyway.

      I’d be supremely interested in a spice depot of sorts where I live. Getting my spices from Wal-Mart is very disappointing.

      You’ll need fewer loans with fewer customers, and you can grow organically (without loans, from word of mouth and reinvestment).

      Buy the best {single spice} and sell it, expand your inventory, continue… etc. For advertising, you could produce baked goods that contain your spices, advertise how you use the best ingredients and how they produce the best baked goodies… food stuff can be very inexpensive to get started.

    • Rachel,
      See if you can find some way into your new field even before you have a business. I’ll give you a recent example:

      I saw videos on YouTube of people roasting coffee in electric popcorn poppers just like I’ve seen at thrift stores for a couple of bucks. I love good coffee, and I’m always up for trying something new, especially if it saves me a couple of bucks.

      I ordered an assortment of green coffees from one of the big online sources (just Google “green coffee beans”…you’ll find them), and bought three second-hand Poppery popcorn poppers at two different thrift stores.

      Having little time to roast at home, I needed a way to do it at work. I wrote up a lesson plan for the senior English high school class that I teach, emphasizing before/after conditions, steps in a process, and on a more philosophical note, how things that look very similar can respond so differently when the “heat is on”. We had a great time roasting coffee one day and grinding and drinking it later in the week while we wrote essays and process papers to justify our caffeine-driven quest.

      Within a week, two different organizations asked me if I would do a coffee roasting demonstration for their members. Within the month, I had become “The Coffee Guy” to several hundred people. With a little planning, I could have easily sold a self-produced book or some other coffee related accessories if I had chosen to. Instead, I just made up a little hand-out for each demonstration directing the attendees to the websites for other businesses, BUT…knowing that I might want to contact them for some purpose in the future, I did offer up a door-prize of three pounds of green coffee beans for anyone who wanted to register with their name and email address. Now, I have a starting point and a good reputation if I decide to do something along these lines later.

      I’ve stumbled into several small business ventures this way; one that I actually sold to a major restaurant chain several years ago. It had nothing to do with food, but rather bringing a sense of adventure into their training programs for managers and employees.

      Don’t get bogged down in creating the perfect business. Give your expertise away and earn good will until your audience helps you decide exactly what your business should look like. They’ll tell you, with far more accuracy than you’ll ever guess, what they want and what they’re willing to pay to get it. Good luck!

    • Rachel you could also start this right away! I dont know what kind of scale you are thinking of, but there are people who sell crafted tea blends and such on sites such as etsy.com and foodzie.com You can always grow as you get more momentum and learn :) Plus these communities are full of people who are willing to help you get started, I know etsy has crafter communities – people who are from the same locality or have similar niches. See if there is anyone local or online that you can reach out to and find out how they got started

  18. Automatic Scripts

    Script: I want to finish my dissertation proposal

    Mondays: figure out my reading/writing schedule for the rest of the week, be specific, which articles, which books, which sections will be completed. This is also the time to follow up on meetings with advisers and faculty contacts.
    Tuesday-Saturday: Spend 3hrs every morning completing the reading/writing plan

    Script: I want to raise $3500 for yoga teacher training

    Sundays & Wednesdays; post blogs about how yoga has impacted my life and ask for donations
    Mondays: send out emails to potential donors
    Tuesdays: work on social networking outreach
    Thursdays: plan fundraising party

  19. High standards are always in style. I think ambition is still cool … maybe not as prevalent, but still cool. :)

  20. What I want: To be a master of communication. I want to be the kind of public speaker that can give you chills, the guy at the cocktail party that everyone remembers.

    Where I’m at: I’m pretty interesting, can talk about most subjects that interest me passionately. Generally have good interactions with people.

    My script: Communication is a skill that I must practice in order to master. I am setting up calendar reminders for myself in my phone to do the following things at 6pm every day: Monday) Watch one TED talk or other great speech and take note of 3 things the speaker does. Tuesday) Rehearse the 3 things I recorded on Monday. Wednesday) Practice an upcoming speech with my wife as the judge, incorporating those 3 things (I have a lot of pitches/presentations to give in the next 3 months). Thursday) Rehearse aspects of my speech that didn’t go perfectly on Wednesday. Friday) Deliver the speech to my wife again, get more feedback. Saturday) Have lunch with my (non-top-10) business school classmates and practice conversational skills. Explicitly ask for feedback about how I come off to people.

    Whew! That sounds like a lot. Setting up my calendar reminders right now. Off we go!

  21. great post- one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received was from a coach that told me every single goal I ever set for myself needs to be quantifiable in some concrete way – whether an athletic, academic or personal goal, there always needs to be some way to measure your progress!

  22. When I was in college I knew I wanted to pursue a career in marketing. So starting sophomore year I decided not take unrelated jobs and focused instead and doing anything related to marketing (in the midst of the 2008-2009 recession where finding internships or jobs was extremely difficult). Upon graduation I was working part time in marketing and just a few months after that, I have a job at a marketing agency, full time. While most people I knew went to plan B jobs or grad schools, I had a career underway (even while jobless rates and poor post grad employment numbers are the norm). Just like you advise here, I did this by being persistent and sticking to my well thought-out plan.

  23. I have been working on my interview skills; having friends and professionals critique my answers, posturing and tone. I’m also in the process of making a better resume. I’ll be graduating in May and want to obtain a budget analyst position (preferably with the DoD). Your advice reiterates that I’m on the right track for putting my best foot forward (and crushing my competition).

  24. I am enjoying the new material – thanks for the email!

  25. The great thing about taking action is that it has a domino effect. I got email and phone happy this weekend. I kept asking myself “Ok, who else would want what I have? What else can I do? How did so and so do that? Maybe I can follow her/his steps.”

    Week 1 Results
    Script#1: I can’t be a public speaker because I don’t have a book to “back me up”.

    Script #2: I can’t write for nationally recognized websites because I don’t have the credentials.”

    Results:
    I sent 5 emails to websites like WebMD to see about contributing an article. I had the title and the my main bullet points ready to go. It didn’t stop there, I asked more organizations about speaking at their next event. One person responded saying she didn’t have anything now, but she directed me to another organization that she believed would love to hear me speak.

    To take it a step further, I practiced a presentation that I would like to give, just in case I was called in at the last minute (I can dream, right?).

    Taking action has been a domino effect like no other. And not only that…it’s kinda addicting….now that I’ve started, I don’t want to stop.

  26. Script: I will to be efficient with my time and get more done.
    I will divide my day into two halves to fit my working pattern better. In the mornings, I tend to be on the go and task oriented. I am not easily distracted. After lunch I tend to get distracted UNLESS it’s something I am interested in. So the afternoon will be more project oriented and I’ll will pick items by importance or desire. I know it will work because I noticed my own pattern on why some days are better than others. Of course I can be flexible, but the bulk of my todo being in the right half will make a difference. Tasks I dislike, I handle much better in the morning. :)

  27. To increase my income, aside from running my own side-venture, I’m studying computer programming to work for programmer-friends of mine that are in desperate need of help. The problem? I’ve never programmed in my life. My head just never worked that way. Well, after living with one of my friends for a month to study over-his-shoulder and build small/sample applications, and contribute some to their project, I’m now on my own and need to progress my skills independently before I can work for my friends on their larger, more complicated projects.

    My negative script seems to be: “Programming just doesn’t work for me, and learning it is mentally painful.”

    My solution: “Learning to program is possible, it will just take more time than anticipated, and my studies should be focused on specific subjects within programming, so as to not become overwhelmed by the whole of the big-picture.”

    So my goal this week is to commit a minimum of 2 hours a day to learning how to program (some days I plan on shooting for 4, this is not unrealistic given my present work situation), but my studies this week will focus specifically on program testing.

    If anyone can recommend resources for mastering Ruby on Rails tests and rspec, I would sure appreciate it!

    I’ll let ya know how it goes in a week…

    • Justin, check out http://rubykoans.com/
      I’m also learning RoR but I do have a development background.

      Script: Launch a new web app for beta testing by Feb. 1.

      My weekly goals are to have a weekly phone conference with my partner to go over features and update the current status of the project. In two weeks I plan to line up at least 20 beta testers. My daily goal is to do 2 hours of development work (at least 10 per week)

  28. Thanks for the extra bit of emotional support I receive from your emails. Keep ‘em coming, I read every one.

  29. Here’s a terrible Invisible script I work with all the time: It has to be exceptionally high-quality or perfect before I can do it (therefore there’s no point in finishing something if it’s not high-quality).

    The result is that NOTHING happens instead of something. And more often than not, doing something is better than nothing – get a draft of a book out; put it in front of reviewers, and get feedback. Don’t sit on it for years trying to make it perfect.

    • I can definitely relate to this one!
      It took me a LONG time to get that invisible script out of my head. One way I did it is that when I assessed an item to be around 75-80% finished (as I would never reach 100%=perfection). I would stop, take a deep breathe, and release/submit it. It’s not easy if you’re a long time perfectionist but it worked for me after a few (sometimes painful) tries.

    • After releasing it you then adjust/tweak it of course, based on feedback. Which can be COMPLETELY different from what your original idea of the perfect status – ss the concept of the “perfect” product is never attained until you put it on the field and get feedback from the interested parties.

    • omg, do I hear you! I’m trying to find the “good enough” point and get it out there as you say!

  30. Ramit, I’m really enjoying your emails and blog posts this year. Thanks for all of your help and keep up the good work!

  31. I like this. Right in time for my interview Next Monday (1/17)!

    Positive Script: I want to CRUSH my interview and put myself in an awesome position to negotiate my offer. All I need to do is prepare like a maniac.

    Monday 7-9 PM: Research: Look at current company news, current financials, Wikipedia, Glassdoor, and other resources. Collect information in Evernote presentation. Distill 5 thoughtful questions based on a thorough understanding of underlying issues relating to the company. Use these in the interview.

    Tuesday 7-9 PM: Research the specific team I will be interviewing with. Check their LinkedIn profiles. Note any interests, common ground, or division of the company they work in that may be relevant in the interview.

    Wednesday 7-9 PM: Review position description and other information from the recruiter about the job. Identify the top 8 qualifications the company is looking for. Outline 8 “stories” that best show talents, ambitions, and strengths that will cover any of the most common qualifications / questions relating to the position.

    Thursday 8-10 PM: Do mock interview with 2 close friends, one family friend. Self identify weaknesses as well as solicit feedback from the interviewers.

    Friday (Rest Day): Destress, exercise, drink wine

    Saturday: 9 AM – 1 PM Go through all questions again. Identify weak points. Record self with webcam delivering responses. Note imperfections, then perfect them.

    Sunday: 4-7 PM: The finer points: Read the newspaper, know the sports section, have 3 funny stories, double check Jacket, Pants, Shirt, Tie, Belt, Socks, and Shoes. Verbally rehearse all answers. Create contingencies for difficult questions / scenarios / screwups. Focus, think positive, relax.

    Monday 10 AM: Crush

  32. That statement “There’s a game going on around you that you don’t even know about” was a smack in my face. The words seemed to resonate with me, as I’ve always wanted to step up my game.

    Often, I find myself saying “good enough,” and “nobody else is doing this.” Unfortunately, the level of “good enough” is usually the same as everyone else’s, and I find myself in the sea of mediocrity.

    “Try harder” isn’t the proper response to failure. Rather, it should be “think bigger.”

  33. Goal: write a novel
    the invisible script I’m fighting is that I need to have the entire thing outlined, with good character notes.
    New script: let’s see what happens.
    Action: Write 25-50 words daily before I get out of bed.

    • Dawn,

      I’ve found the site 750words.com to be a fantastic motivator for me. As much as I may revile the thought of writing for the day, I just can’t go to bed unless I’ve got the little X checked off for today’s date on the site. At about two pages per day, I make some decent progress on my writing work. I highly suggest giving it a shot.

    • Dawn
      What a great idea/goal. I always think I dont have time to start a novel, reading or writing! But even baby steps add up.

  34. @Kate – I love love LOVE “voluntold”. Good on you for getting such excellent results.

    @Gabor – am so impressed that you are locking yourself out of non-productive websites while you are coding. Break a leg! (or whatever the coding equivalent is)

  35. Ramit, you can please record the live webcast? I work Thursday night and I’m really disappointed I’m going to miss it. I really love all this new content you’re giving! It’s really inspiring to me and I’ll post my results as soon as I can. Thank you so much for all your hard work

    P.S. There’s a game going around you that you don’t even know it sums up so much of The Wire, the best TV show ever made that I think you’d really like especially if you like Friday Night Lights.

  36. Ramit,

    Great post. I’m going to write and automate a positive script right now.

  37. “Going to law school is likely to leave the average student in crushing debt — and law schools are systematically deceiving students. This is why top performers know to only go to top 10 law schools, or they don’t go at all. (The same is true of business school.)”

    Can you share more about this? I am planning on going to Law School soon and don’t want to be decieved…

    • Hi, the advice Ramit provided regarding Law Schools is generally correct for most people. There are differences among applicants, but generally you have to be a really good applicant with great LSAT scores and GPA from undergrad, plus great extracurriculars, in order to get into the T10. If you don’t get into the T10, it depends on the ranking and the financial package that they give you, whether you really love the field of the law and other concerns… I decided not to go, after going through the whole process and even getting into a T12 University… I researched how many applicants got jobs from the T12 and about 50% got jobs, and the price tag of the school was about $ 130,000 for the whole program, without factoring in loss of income for not being employed… In a few words, it depends on your applicant profile, but Ramit’s advice is sound for most people… hope you have savings or wealthy relatives if you are not unbelievably smart to beat the other law students at the time of interviews… just the way it is…

    • If you do go to a non-top ten your best bet is to go with an action plan. KNOW what you want your field to be in and dominate that. Join the organizations that your school offers and be active/a majority member in them. Before you go to law school think about what it is you REALLY want to do. Do you really have to go to law school to accomplish it? I would say that law school is really only necessary for those that want to practice or teach law. If you want to work in the field of international law (for example, and just cause thats the field I know) you do not have to go to law school for it and would do much better going to grad school or even the Peace Corps and working for organizations that focus in it.

      Im not saying dont go to law school – but research all your options before you do. Law school is disproportionately expensive for the results in my opinion UNLESS you do go to a top ten tier school (or kick ass in a non top ten)

  38. Script: My next career opportunity doesn’t exist at my current organization. So if I want the next challenge, I have to leave the company.

    Crushing the script: Justify the need and added value for your next career opportunity. Propose creating the position within.

    Tuesday: Research/Brainstorm. What are some weaknesses in the company operations? What are my strengths/expertise and how could they be useful? What are the various roles and responsibilties for this job?
    Wednesday: Draft a proposal. Identify current weaknesses/inefficiencies. Offer strategic insight. Outline the roles/responsibilties of proposed position. Justify value to the company in creating.
    Thursday: Sell the proposal to the CFO (who I have direct access to).

    Ramit – love the year of The Hustle.

  39. Hey, I didn’t read the post yet, I Just sew the email. You asked to live a comment if we like it so far, so, FYI (if you will ever read this) NOT only that I enjoy it, I LOVE IT!! I was checking my email every 30 min today as I’m pumped and ready to roll up my sleeves. So let the “riot” begin…this will be the toughest thing I ever did, and the most rewording thing I will ever do !!! SO LETS DANCE!
    Thank you for giving us this gift.

  40. script:
    Finish my first 2 sprint and 1 olympic triathlon in march, june and august respectively. Something that I have delayed since last year. The best way that I have automate this system was to obtain a 16 week schedule from a reputable triathlon website and follow it strictly. No more no less.
    I also have signed up for the above competitions and a gym membership with a pool. The best way to fight against willpower is to find small packets of motivations just like what you said. For eg., I have asked my girlfriend to cook me a nice meal each week I complete it. Win-win situation.
    And of course, for the games that is going about that I don’t even know about, many triathletes do strength training instead of functional strength training. The latter is a better way to build core muscles that you need to use for the events . It is not just to make you look sexy….

  41. I have been working on naturally improving my eyesight for a while. While I had great success in the beginning my attention has not been on it for a while and I keep putting it off. So I have been stagnating. Time to get back into a habit of focusing on correct vision habits!

    Tomorrow, I will make a table where I will have to check off ten minutes of practice every morning and also enter my Snellen reading for the day. I will also include a chart where I can draw the progression. From then on, every morning I will do my practice for ten minutes and enter the reading!

  42. Aloha Ramit,

    Friday I shared with a talented group of singers a theater piece I’ve had in the works (shelved) for four years. I realized I’d made it “too precious” and as such it would never do anyone any good. Today, 14 years after dopping out I’ve returned to college as a freshman. I realized, that although I am talented in many areas, I have a few gaps in my skill set that I need support in developing. It took hitting rock bottom and admitting I know less than I think. Today, I am seeking guidance and taking action. I feel like I’m finally back on track. Thanks to you and a whole group of people like you who have “made it” and are willing to share your insights & inspiration, I know I’ll be back in the game and this time armed with the skills and confidence to win!

  43. SCRIPT: I need to increase my $/hour contracting rate for 2011 in relation to my increased experience and market value. Would like this to be automated with minimal conversation time.

    Method of Automation:
    1) Wrote an short, concise email script that can then be emailed out to the 8 contracts I currently have. E-mail specifies the reasons for the price increase. E-mail script took 15 minutes to write.
    2) Set up a separate g-mail label with filters identifying the 8 contracts. Upon receiving e-mails from the separate contracts, they are automatically filtered into the new “2011 locum” filter.
    3) Outsource bookkeeping for minimal price per month starting January 2011
    4) Filter set for bookkeeper to send invoices to my e-mail for review on the 25th of each month.
    5) PDF invoices automatically sent through bookkeeper upon review at the end of each month at new rate.
    = happy business!

  44. “There’s a game going on” is a great way to frame it – I didn’t realise this at university until I had nearly fInished. Now that I am approaching 40, I am getting better at recognising the Games. It’s great to bring this to our attention! Thanks.

  45. My family is the worst with tearing me down any time I show even a little bit of ambition. “Who do you think you are?” is their basic mentality, since they were stuck in crap factory jobs all their lives. I always fought them on it, but I know that I internalized a lot of it unconciously. I’m proud to say, though, that 2010 was the year of death and destruction for those stupid negative voices in my head. I’ve done a total 180* in the direction of my life. I just started back in college last week to get my bachelors in Economics which I NEVER would have thought I could do before. I actually decided, packed up and moved literally across the world (from China back to America) within a week of deciding that that is what would make me happy.

    Anyway, it’s a new year/new life, so I am up for your challenge. My focus right now is on school (just a year of it to go) and my own well being instead of financial concerns, so here is my current course of action, which I started today!

    WEEK 1 RESULTS.
    1. invisible script of success- Every workday I have specific, scheduled times dedicated to my current goals – straight As, field competence and health.

    2. That script plays out like this for me: Monday-Thursday I remain at school until 1pm, working on my school assignments (important when there is a toddler at home who really would like to eat said homework), packing a lunch so I don’t get distracted by hunger and go home early. Monday and Wednesday I go to the gym from 12:15pm-1:00pm to make sure my mental and emotional health as well as my physical are up to the tasks at hand. Friday after my Econ lab, I visit the Econ tutoring center, to go over everything we learned or talked about that week, to make sure I know it so well I could teach it if I needed to. That will also help me make contacts in my department and among other econ students. And I already do this, but before bed and on my commute I check twitter, on which I have only accounts related to my major or minor. It’s important to keep up on all the newest news and studies.

  46. Great post. Along the lines of “it’s uncool to be ambitious”, I’ve interviewed people (read: MBA types) who had the too-cool-for-school attitude during the interview process of “I’m considering you….” but then realized to late that they really WANTED to work at my company. If they’d taken the time to focus on the interview process rather than thinking their MBA would automatically get them in, they might have done better!

  47. SCRIPT:
    I want to be working on increasingly higher paying design projects compared with previous and current offerings.

    IMPLEMENTATION:
    Initially I want to be working on design projects of at least £1,000 value, with the goal of working on a £10K project by end of June 2011. There will need to be a shift in the job type I currently work on to ones that warrant a higher price tag.
    Tomorrow I will spend an hour identifying project types that warrant bigger bucks, then two hours identifying companies who are probable sources of such projects.
    Wednesday I will spend an hour preparing a number of questions to ask the above companies with the express purpose of identifying the benefits they are seeking through such projects. I will then contact as many as possible (including finding out the correct people to speak to, which may take some time) and ask them these questions as well as whether they are happy for me to send them a proposal (they will be because I they want to grow their area of business [Mini-script!]).
    I will send through proposals to the all the companies (because they will all say ‘yes’) with 24 hours of our conversation.
    Within 48 hours of sending the proposal I will follow up with another phone call to the specific people I talked to previously (the decision makers/influencers) and ask for some feedback and when we can arrange to meet in person to move things forward.
    Longer term actions will be to:
    • identify areas within my business that will need to grow and change to accommodate these bigger projects (resources, staff, equipment, expertise, etc);
    • work on systemising/automating as many processes as possible within the business to accommodate these bigger projects (including making them scalable as the projects increase in size and requirement);
    • have continual lines of communication with the new businesses whose projects I work on so that I’m their first and natural choice to go to again and again. No point putting in all the initial leg-work and not benefiting with repeat business. Of course this means that the work I do will be excellent and a great tool (along with glowing endorsements from the clients) to pick up subsequently bigger and better projects.

    [ctrl+a], [ctrl+c] > notepad > [ctrl+v]: Off we go!

  48. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    Script Example:
    I want to start building a resume of published writing by publishing a science fiction/fantasy short story in a magazine.

    Implementation:
    I already have a list of potential magazines and some potential short stories that have been edited.
    Tuesday: Finish writing the author bio/cover letter that most magazines require.
    Wednesday: Do some final editing on the stories (I should probably not allow myself more than 20 minutes per story or I will use the “This needs more work.” excuse to never submit any of them anywhere.).
    Thursday: Submit all of the ready stories to appropriate magazine, and start an excel spreadsheets of magazines, submission dates, and story titles so that I can keep track of what I’ve submitted where. Also–put reminders in my calendar for the dates when it is permissible for me to send “Did you get this?” letters to the magazines, and dates when I should give up on expecting a response and resubmit my work elsewhere.

    Start having regular writing sessions on weekends to produce more stories. 30 minutes ever Saturday is acceptable for now.

  49. 2011 is the year of making things happen, inspiring blog post, keep up the good work.

  50. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    (Forgot to include the above heading as instructed – apologies for duplicate post)

    SCRIPT:
    I want to be working on increasingly higher paying design projects compared with previous and current offerings.

    IMPLEMENTATION:
    Initially I want to be working on design projects of at least £1,000 value, with the goal of working on a £10K project by end of June 2011. There will need to be a shift in the job type I currently work on to ones that warrant a higher price tag.
    Tomorrow I will spend an hour identifying project types that warrant bigger bucks, then two hours identifying companies who are probable sources of such projects.
    Wednesday I will spend an hour preparing a number of questions to ask the above companies with the express purpose of identifying the benefits they are seeking through such projects. I will then contact as many as possible (including finding out the correct people to speak to, which may take some time) and ask them these questions as well as whether they are happy for me to send them a proposal (they will be because I they want to grow their area of business [Mini-script!]).
    I will send through proposals to the all the companies (because they will all say ‘yes’) with 24 hours of our conversation.
    Within 48 hours of sending the proposal I will follow up with another phone call to the specific people I talked to previously (the decision makers/influencers) and ask for some feedback and when we can arrange to meet in person to move things forward.
    Longer term actions will be to:
    • identify areas within my business that will need to grow and change to accommodate these bigger projects (resources, staff, equipment, expertise, etc);
    • work on systemising/automating as many processes as possible within the business to accommodate these bigger projects (including making them scalable as the projects increase in size and requirement);
    • have continual lines of communication with the new businesses whose projects I work on so that I’m their first and natural choice to go to again and again. No point putting in all the initial leg-work and not benefiting with repeat business. Of course this means that the work I do will be excellent and a great tool (along with glowing endorsements from the clients) to pick up subsequently bigger and better projects.

    [ctrl+a], [ctrl+c] > notepad > [ctrl+v]: Off we go!

  51. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Positive Script:
    People are more willing to help someone that they have actually met in person.

    Automation:
    Monday – Research trade organizations related to my startup (business/marketing, technology, textiles/fashion). Get information on annual meetings hosted by, or related to these organizations.
    Tuesday – Email 10 potential mentors who currently work in these fields. Ask them which of these meetings, conferences, or events they will be attending, if any, and get recommendations for other events that they or other similarly qualified individuals typically attend.
    Wednesday – Compile results, and decide which events will provide the biggest return on investment (i.e. – which will have the largest numbers of potential mentors in attendance). Graciously reply to all responses to help jump start the relationship building process before these events take place.
    Thursday – Purchase tickets/passes to these events. Update profile on CouchSurfing.com, and start “booking” rooms for these events (as I am a startup, and on a very tight budget).
    Friday – Drink

    • Just a clarification for Monday’s action:

      …Get information on annual meetings hosted by, or related to these organizations TAKING PLACE IN THE NEXT 90 DAYS.

    • Results to date:
      Emailed 8 potential mentors, and got responses from 6 of them. Will be booking passes to SXSW Interactive in March, and the ITAA meeting in the fall. Started relationships that I suspect will be essential to my business’ future success.

  52. WEEK 1 Results

    Script:
    I want to present a paper at a SAS conference this year. This will help beef up my resume as well as scholarship applications.

    Implementation:
    I have already brainstormed topics and outlined a 30-slide powerpoint presentation.
    Abstract submission in February.
    Present at in-house user group in March as practice.
    April – write paper if accepted for conference; otherwise rework into blog post.
    September – hopefully present at conference.

    I have similar scripts for real estate investing and sql server cert this year.

  53. Script: I want to have my private psychotherapy practice up and running with regular clients by the end of May, so I can leave my weekend job.
    Wednesday, I am going to open a business account so I can send in my Medicare and Tricare applications and receive referrals from their networks.

  54. Script: Famous University professors are too busy to talk to me about their research and how I might be able to join them.

    Plan to Automate: Write a template email tomorrow at 8 am that can easily be tweaked to ask them 2-3 specific questions about their work and how I can get involved. Then every morning for the rest of the week at 8am, send out 3 emails to the professors I most want to talk to.

  55. My Grandpa shared a golden secret with me as a kid: luck is when prior preparation meets success. I remember attending Georgetown University and being shocked to learn the amount of preparation that goes into interviews for the best jobs in consulting. If I hadn’t kept my eyes open, I could have really been blinded sided and missed out on a great job.

  56. Script: I want to go to Africa twice per year, with all expenses paid to accomplish my dream of implementing my finance background and my passion for people through micro-finance.

    Automation:
    Contact 3 companies by Wednesday that work in Africa and use microfinance to reach the poor. I already have done a lot of homework and have contacts at Hope International, Seed Effect and Kiva. I met the co-founder of Kiva last year and after picking her brain, she suggested I volunteer with an organization. My problem is that I live in a remote area that doesn’t have a well known micro-finance organization in operation. I have volunteered a little with Seed Effect but would love to make this passion a full time job.
    Being in a remote location leads me to believe that my work needs to be mobile, and in this Internet consumed world, why not? Also, I’m single, willing to travel and a hard worker- there has to be organizations and people with authority and checkbooks out there that would be willing to pay a young adult girl to travel, research microfinance, and work hard right?? I can only hope so and become ACTIVE by testing the water and contacting these companies again.
    I’ll comment with my results by Wednesday night. Thanks for the motivation.

  57. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    I want our band to book one jazz festival by February.
    -Find and contact five state jazz festivals and send each of them an electronic press kit.
    -By the end of next week, follow up with each person contacted from the previous week and send five out five more EPK’s.
    -Do this each week and after I reach my goal, increase the bar to two festivals.

  58. “Week 1 Results”

    “I want regular time for myself without neglecting my family.”

    I have a lot of tasks to accomplish, but I am home with young children, and I don’t want them to miss out while I’m working. Recently I offered to help a friend organize some of her personal finances. She’s looking for some extra money, and I’ve been looking for a way to get some time for my freelancing, outsource cooking, and keep my 3 year old from (being bored &) watching so many movies.

    I just set up a system with my friend where she does a preschool class for 2 hours twice a week (Mon & Fri). She will have 4 students and teach social skill lessons, Spanish, and music. During that time I can focus on freelancing. She is also making dinner for us at least twice a week (Today I got my 3rd meal). I pay her a fair rate, and I have solved 3 problems at once (food, preschool, and freelancing).

    Today I set up an appointment at the bank so that my friend and I can go and figure out what her loan options are. I’m helping her set up systems and habits, and I’m coaching her in person and by email. She sent me some feedback on what has helped, what she needs, and what she would consider paying for. I don’t know all the answers about how to make coaching work, but I’m taking action, and my life is improving.

  59. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    -I can start a side-business that brings $200 extra per week, without interfering with my home life, by April 1.
    -I have the knowledge and experience needed for this business, but I need to learn some basics. I can learn all I need to know about starting a business online and at the library. Schedule 1 hour/day Monday through Thursday to research online. Schedule 2 hours Saturday or Sunday to pick up library books and read. By the end of the week, I want to know what type of company I want to start (LLC?) and what it would really take to get it running.

    • WEEK 1 RESULTS
      -I can start a side-business that brings $200 extra per week, without interfering with my home life, by April 1.
      -I have the knowledge and experience needed for this business, but I need to learn some basics. I can learn all I need to know about starting a business online and at the library. Schedule 1 hour/day Monday through Thursday to research online. Schedule 2 hours Saturday or Sunday to pick up library books and read. By the end of the week, I want to know what type of company I want to start (LLC?) and what it would really take to get it running.

      RESULTS:
      I’ve learned more in two days than in the last two weeks I’ve been planning. I’ve found a ton of resources and networking opportunities with people who want to help me, FOR FREE!
      I now know this business will be a reality.

  60. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Guh, so many tasks that need to be tackled, but I should probably face the ones that are completely in my control first.

    Script: I will finish my screenplay and get it in front of an agent by the end of the year.

    Implementation:
    Already, I’m writing 750 words every day, so adding on another 500 in a different forum shouldn’t be that hard. In order to make this work a bit more like clockwork, I will just schedule about 45 minutes of writing time in the AM before work to get those pages done.

    Automating it is the issue, though. The most effective way for me is to have a timer count down in front of me, forcing me to actually get this done. What I’ve done is downloaded a timer app to my phone and brace it up next to my computer, using it to count down to my impending doom.

    Now, I must say, if I won that iPad, it’d be a much more prominent countdown timer for me :D

  61. Script: I want to kick ass at my reviews and get a raise of at least $1000 but ideally $4000. I will do this by showing how I have created more efficient steps for completing projects than other team members.

    Implementation: Use the pre-existing weekly hours spreadsheet to do my own datamining and determine average time spent on each project by each team member to see if my implementations have decreased the time it takes me to finish a project vs team members who are doing all this manually.

    Then I will point out specific areas where employees are wasting time and show how they can do more with less time.

  62. WEEK 1 RESULTS;
    My Script – I will be debt free by December 2011. I will do this by creating an aggresive debt repayment plan by the end of this week and start to pay it down immediately.
    - Tuesday night; I will work through all my bills and loans and gather together all contact information of my creditors along with complete amounts owed and interest rates applied (where applicable)
    - Wednesday Lunch Break – I will call my creditors and negotiate a payment plan with each, where possible I will have them automatically debit the agreed repayments from my account every week on a Monday night (my pay clears at 8.30pm every monday).
    - Wednesday night – I will figure out how long it is going to take me to pay off the debt according to my arrangements.

    Much Love and Success
    Sami xx

  63. Looks like I signed up for these e-mails at just the right time for me. I’ve always wanted to write books, but was stymied by perfectionism. Things never got off the ground because I worried my work wouldn’t be good enough.

    In November, I finally had enough, and just got to work. By writing 1000 words every day, I finished the first draft of a self-help book I’m co-writing with my fiance. I’m feeling a bit intimidated by the revision process, so finding a way to automate would be ideal.

    SCRIPT: Organize, edit and get feedback on a rough manuscript.

    AUTOMATION: By Wednesday- Complete “extra” research. This was stuff I jotted into the margins to look up later so I didn’t get sidetracked from the writing.

    By the end of the week- Complete a first read-through. Keep changes to a minimum at this point.

    Next week- Refine a template for chapter organization. I’ll need my fiance’s input for this. We had a rough outline, but things didn’t always go as expected.

    I don’t really know how to establish a timeline for the rest, because I don’t know how long it will take to:
    - read the whole thing to each other out loud
    - reorganize each chapter (there are 12)
    - do other revising, as necessary
    - send to at least two beta readers

    I think I’ll create a separate project for the self-publication and marketing process.

    Writing 1000 words daily was so incredibly easy that I’ve already started another book. The problem now is to find a way to break the revision process into equally bite-size parts. At least I realize I need a plan, even I don’t know what it is, yet.

  64. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: I want to find legal work with an international firm.
    Implementation: I will immediately create a list of international firms with offices in locations where I would enjoy living. I will then email the managing partners of the offices that I am interested in, and to the extent possible, personalize the emails for those partners. On Monday I will focus on firms in São Paulo because I have a strong connection to the city. On Tuesday and Wednesday I will expand my focus to other cities. On Monday I will also contact my mentor from my first externship to ask for his help in getting introductions to hiring partners he knows.

    Already completed Monday’s steps! My mentor got back to me immediately and offered to introduce me to the hiring partner in Singapore, and to enlist his office’s HR people to help me find other possibilities as well! I haven’t heard back from any of the firms in São Paulo yet, but since it’s late at night there, I don’t think that’s a bad sign yet. :)

  65. Oddly enough, I did exactly this last night on some of my long term goals. Instead of posting those, though, I think I’ll use something I gave you last week.

    Script: I want to attend a major university in the fall of 2012 as a distance learner in order to get my degree while still being available for my family.

    Action Plan: I will find out which colleges are the best in my major and provide distance learning, followed by contacting someone at each of the top 3 universities and find out what they liked/disliked about the program so I can make an informed decision on where to attend instead of simply picking the university closest to me because it’s convenient.

  66. Awesome post Ramit! I’m going to spend 30 minutes every weekday on practicing interview skills until I get the job I want. I will spend 15-30 minutes on Sunday to gather Youtube videos and articles on interviewing for the following week.

  67. Invisible positive script: I can make money doing what I love, while living a balanced life.

    I am currently employed in a job I loathe working 5 days a week earning a good salary. My long term goal is to at least equal my current income doing what I love, with much greater potential for growth. I will achieve this while leaving myself with more spare time to improve myself as a rock climber, as well as create and develop rock climbing areas within my local community for future climbers to enjoy; a costly task in itself.

    Automating it into my life: Last night I discussed with a past employer about moving back into employment there. This was doing a rather menial job I enjoyed, although the pay is substantially lower than my current level. Changing employment will take me from a 5 day a week well paying job, to a 2-3 day a week job that barely pays me enough to live. I will automate work on my side hustle by scheduling 2 days a week working on my side hustle, growing it until solely my side hustle is providing me enough to live simply. Even with this scheduled, I will have more free time to pursue climbing than I currently do.

    My side hustle will provide enough for me to live simply within 6 months, and then be able to leave the menial job. I will then concentrate on realising my growth potential, working a maximum of 4 days a week.

    I have enrolled in a course to provide me the skills to develop rock climbing areas, as well as contacted a local club that provides funding for the gear required to bolt areas. With the free time I gain I will be able to scout possible climbing areas to develop, as well as improve personally as a climber.

  68. So here’s my thing (it’s a bit long, but this kind of specificness just works for me):

    Current situation and goal:
    I’m a BA Design undergraduate studying in London, trying to start forming a career on the motorcycle design and building field. So I though it would be great to do a month internship/apprenticeship at a small/medium bike maker based in the UK or the US (preferrably the latter) to boost my CV and have some nice experience in the field.

    Plan:
    Tuesday: dedicate one/two hours in the morning to make a list of makers. Select around 8-10 of them and get basic contact information. Use another hour in the afternoon to find specific persons to email within these companies. Also email one of my favourite lecturers in my programme, who’s been working in the motorsport industry for more than 10 years, explain him my situation, and ask him if he knows of anybody in particular I should contact from the industry to make this easier.

    Wednesday: send an email to half of the makers I’ve selected, asking if they’d be interested in having a Design undergrad with metalworking and CADCAM experience for an unpaid apprenticeship/internship position around April this year.

    Thursday: do the same with the next half of the companies.

    Friday and Saturday: respond to possible answers and/or contact some more companies in the list I had made on Thursday.

    Sunday: start planning according to the results obtained and report them here for you all to see. :)

    By the way, brilliant post Ramit. I’m always impressed by how, apart from being an outstanding advisor, you motivate the people and create a big excitement and an enormous willingness to develop their ideas. It’s great to read you.

  69. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    - Discussed moving into part time employment, will finalise this within the week and hand in notice at current position.
    - Enrolled in rock climbing area development course.
    - Approached alpine club about subsidised gear for bolting areas, and got a positive response.
    - Created a plan of action for my side hustle
    - Pencilled in a calendar giving me more free time, plus more time for my side hustle work.

    • Dave,
      Congratulations on actually doing it! I want to know, did you actually do all this in 6 minutes since your last post?

    • Hi Van, thanks for the support. No, I didn’t do it all quite within the 6 minutes, I did it all within the past day or so. I had pretty much thought out exactly what this post was talking about, but the question in the post gave me a simple way to lay it all out (both benefitting myself, and hopefully the site).

      An update – new job is all lined up; as of 28 Feb, I will be working 3 days a week earning more than I anticipated, (Mon, Wed, Thurs), leaving Tuesday for me to work on side hustle, and giving me 3 day weekends. Tomorrow I will be handing in my notice at my current job, so exciting and scary times are ahead. Going from a software developer to a rock climbing instructor… Who would have thought? :D

  70. No link with the post but I noticed even I got to this post using the link you put in your newsletter I still have the subscription pop-up when coming on this website.
    Is there no way you could know when people are coming from the newsletter so you don’t have to spam them much :) ?

  71. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    I’ve been really enjoying these posts. Thinking a lot about something but never taking action for lack of a clear plan and a lot of invisible scripts about why it’ll never work and it’s too hard and I can’t do it etc. has been one my major problems. My overall new script for this is that every time catch myself thinking about something I’d like to happen, to tell myself “stop thinking start doing” and locate an action step I can immediately take to get closer to that goal.

    My current main goal is to build my own portfolio website, which will not only help me stand out with a nicer portfolio (I already have one online hosted by an outside portfolio service) but also allow me to gain web design skills and an extra work sample in the process, which will be beneficial for the kind of work I’m looking for. I want to have this done by March 1st.

    I just wrote out all the steps I need to take, with a timeframe of completion for each, and put in dates and times in my calendar for the next month to work on them, with 3 hours of work Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings as a default. Often the problem is that I say yes to too many commitments every week, so having those times blocked off in the calendar will make me aware that if I decide to do something else that evening, I will have to find a way to reschedule website time rather than just letting it slide.

  72. Positive Scripting Automation:
    #1
    “I can and will determine the demand for my 1st product design”
    Visit At least three Hookah shops to learn more about Hookahs where they come
    from and the nature and habits of the clientele (Wenesday January 12th, Friday January 14th, Saturday January 15th))
    also ask about the history of hookahs why they are made the way they are, and where the best come from.
    Contact sister about the store she visited for further details. (Wednesday January 12th or tonight)
    Sign up for the top hookah forum site for more market research (Tonight)
    Complete the Hookah Design and show to smoking friends, come up with one new sketch (Tuesday January 11th, complete by Friday)
    Repeat process until A
    Product proves untenable
    or B
    Product receives positive reception online and with known smokers (and head shops selling to them) Attempt to find industrial designer.
    Deadline January 21st
    #2
    “I can and will get into the school of my choice”
    Complete application to UW regarldess of money
    Find 10 scholarships that I can easily meet today – prepare for 5. (Tuesday, January 11th)
    Have Ms. Rosalie review the application, along with Victor (if possible) (Wenesday, January 12th)
    Repeat this process each Monday, and report for feedback from mentor each wenesday)
    Deadline January 21st
    Its not perfect nice or neat but that’s what Ive got thus far.

  73. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    I need to add six additional school districts, this semester, to the schedule of student-oriented workshops that I facilitate.

    My previous script: Tell people I know about the type of workshops that I offer and encourage them to tell anyone they know who may be in a position to host the workshop.

    Automated script for the remainder of this week:

    Tonight: Email my list of past participants and ask for the three most useful topics and the three least useful in the workshop they attended.

    Tuesday: Use the state education agency website to create a list of the school counselors at every high school within a 40 mile radius. Enter these into Access, so that I can follow up and record contact details easily

    Wednesday: Rewrite my current sales letter to include testimonials and more direct “Act Now!” language. Be sure to emphasize the strong points mentioned by past participants. Address all mail pieces.

    Thursday: Have new sales letters printed and mail them.

    Friday: Prepare all materials student materials for at least three additional workshops so they are ready to “grab-and-go” if a school wants to schedule an event right away.

    For the next three weeks, extend the radius of my target by 5 miles, and call the counselors in the target area who received a letter the previous week.

    This should easily net an additional $25,000 to the workshops I already have scheduled between now and June 1.

  74. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: I want to significantly reduce the amount I blindly CONSUME and spend more of my time actually DOING and working toward my goal (GOAL, increase my annual income by $30k by the end of the year)

    -Start this week going through email and unsubscribing to the various newsletters/blogs/forums I visit. This pretty much only leaves Ramit’s stuff to consume. Anything else, if it doesn’t produce income, or help with training skills for my side work, then it will have to go.
    -Raise my rates this year. The clients I currently have I feel confident are willing to pay a little more, given their satisfaction with my work last year
    -FOCUS big time the next two weeks on the side-work I have for the upcoming convention, which will be at least $1000 worth of work, and will help me show them I’m worth hiring on at the salary I’m asking
    -I MUST get more sleep. I will push myself to not stay up past midnight. Getting the rest I need will help me be more productive. I have to remember that (or is this a bad assumption?) I will focus on this week and see how it’s working.

  75. “I want to find a new job but nobody is hiring for want I want to do”

    WEEK 1 RESULTS = This week I will wake up at 5 a.m. on Tues and Thurs. tto work on job searching for an hour. Tuesday will be dedicated to researching companies I would like to work for and/or job boards, as well as pooling my contacts. Thursday will be dedicated to submitting resumes or asking for informational interviews.

  76. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: I want to promote my eBook while I develop my writing business and write my next eBook, with the aim of leaving my 9 to 5 before the end of the year.

    Automation: This week I will finish designing the cover and upload the eBook by Friday. I will also take advantage of Amazon’s marketing tools.

    I am setting up weekly calendar reminders to write on my blog and other sites to build up links to the book page.

    I joined mywritingspot.com in order to be able to write from my iPhone when I don’t have access to my MacBook.

  77. I recently quit my day job to go freelance fulltime. I absolutely love it and am slowly starting to get more clients. My script is:

    I want to have a more professional image.

    Today I bought a domain name for a blog to go along with my website. I would like to start and picked out a templet for it.

    Tomorrow I will pick out a design for my business cards and send it to get printed. I will also research similar blogs and form a list of ideas for my first few blog posts.

    Wednesday I will take a few hours and update my website to match my blog, make it cleaner and more professional looking. I will also put the blog online.

    Thursday I will spend a few hours writing my first post and a few drafts of future posts (I am not a natural writer so this will take some time at first).

    Friday I will post my first blog post and share it with my clients, friends, and family.

    My automation:

    I will spend an hour every morning (from 9am to 10am) writing posts.
    & Every monday and thursday I will spend 30 mins promoting my blog.

  78. After lots of content consumption, time to take some action!

    SCRIPT: I want to get the level 1 (highest) of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test), the only one recognized by all companies in Japan (where I live and work). I have been postponing that for a while, but now I want to get it at the next opportunity to pass it which is in June.

    HURDLE / NEGATIVE SCRIPT:
    No time to study between work and my other sports/fitness related objectives, which take up most of my time after work every day. The only available time to study is lunch time (waking-up earlier conflicts with recovery from sports/workouts). I usually try to skip lunch (intermittent fasting in line with my fitness objectives) and study instead. The problem is, skipping lunch is a breeze if I had breakfast in the morning, but if I don’t have breakfast (due to lack of time and motivation to prepare it in the morning – snacks sold are not an option due to the fitness objectives), I get too hungry and end up having lunch with colleagues, wasting one hour of studying (and some $$$). Lack of consistency makes it hard to stay motivated.

    ACTION & AUTOMATION:
    Done today: set my Google calendar to send me two e-mail reminders every weekday (goes straight to my cell phone).
    1. 6:30 pm, time after which I’m most likely to do my grocery shopping. This is to remind me to buy enough food to have some left over for breakfast.
    2. Second e-mail is at 10pm to remind me to prepare breakfast before going to sleep so that I don’t have to worry about it in the morning.

    In addition to this, I set an e-mail reminder for 9pm to remind me of packing study materials tonight to bring to work so that I don’t have any excuse to skip it.

    The 3 hours made available in the coming 3 days (Wednesday 12th – Friday 14th) will be spent looking up previous tests and crafting a study routine / progression (which points to focus on, which to skip for maximum efficiency and how much time to allocate to each) accordingly. To be extended to the next week if the planning is not satisfactory (since failing to plan WELL is planning to fail), but not any further (ACTION!).

    To be done on Sunday 16th: Take an hour to come up with 2-3 breakfast patterns that are cheap and easy to make, go the nearest grocery store, buy the necessary ingredients and create a batch for the coming week. (e-mail reminder already set)

    EXPECTED RESULT:
    With the above I expect at least 4 hours (accounting for toilet breaks and interruptions) of study / week, which amounts to more than 80 hours of study by June. Given my current Japanese level (pretty advanced but still a few notches under the level required to get this certification), I expect it to be enough to pass the test with flying colors. I also expect this to make me consistent with intermittent fasting through regular lunch skipping (related to my fitness related objectives), making me hit two birds with one stone.

  79. Script: I want to be a better Personal Trainer.

    The best way to become a better Personal Trainer this week is to get back to reading “The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition” that I purchased a couple months ago (as part of a very expensive certification course! You think that would’ve been motivation enough).

    The book covers the nuts and bolts of nutrition, but also covers the psychology of changing habits. The very first thing the book asks you to do is to take responsibility and accountability for your client. Essentially, it’s telling you to get rid of the negative script of “My client should just work harder.”

    It continues that perhaps it’s your shortcomings that are causing problems (offering overly complex advice, not providing resources or accountability for a client).

    Anyways, I’ve kept saying “I should finish that book, then I can finish that certification course.” But to no avail.

    What I have implemented this week is a daily Google Calendar reminder to “read Nutrition book” at 10-11am from Tuesday to Friday. This is the time I nearly always have free, and often waste at the computer.

    To make it even more automatic, I have placed the book on my desk right next to my keyboard. If it’s in my bookshelf, that’s just another barrier to not taking action. Reading it just four days this week will be more progress than I’ve made in the past month.

    No additional investment was needed, I just needed a daily reminder and the book within reach. I needed to create a positive script so that I can read a book that eliminates a huge negative script I had (it’s the client’s fault!), and in the end helps my clients eliminate their own negative scripts! Hot damn!

  80. First Ramit this is wonderful content.
    My invisible script: is that I can’t start my own consultant business without working a regular job first. Every time I try, I run into lack of funds and spurts of in action. Than the people in the past I have tried to help start businesses never follow through which keeps me believing I can’t do it and that my advice is worthless.

    Positive script: I can start my own consulting business

    Postive script 2: My business advice is worth millions to a company that hires me.

    Day 1 research sites on business consulting and see how others setup there business on their site
    Day2set my site up like the others in my field but not duplicated anyone
    Day3 email ten people in the niche and ask them some questions to further my research.
    Day4 Layout ideas for homestudy course. To help build traffic.

    That’s the end of the week . Its exciting to see this plan typed out . Now its time. To action.

  81. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: “I want to watch at least 1 hour of Japanese (a language I’m learning) video everyday.”

    Automation:
    1) Setup events on Google Calendar at 5 minutes before each hour from 7am to 11pm which last 5 minutes a piece and repeat daily. Set these events to alert me when the event time comes.

    2) Whenever an alert comes, stop what I’m doing and watch something in Japanese (TV, YouTube, whatever) for 5 minutes. If I get hooked, I can watch longer, but do at least 5 minutes.

    2.5) Setup my computer to automatically open YouTube and NicoNico (Japanese video site) for me when the events trigger.

    3) Doing a couple minutes of Japanese, many times a day, will add up to over an hour in the day. Mission accomplished.

  82. SCRIPT:
    Expand my DJ services and to include video DJing which will open up a wider customer base aside from the typical events.

    WEEK 1 RESULTS:
    - Seek and ask for funding of new hardware/software to support video DJing

    - Expand and grow music video library

    - Identify at least (3) “test” venues

    - Create a promotional video

    - Learn video software simplest for editing

    - DJ an event for Ramit by the end of the year and charging him for it. :)

  83. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    I want to learn to take photos that will amaze my family (and myself).

    1. I will study the photography book I found from a trusted recommendation and my camera’s manual. I will spend 1 week on the book and 1 week on the camera manual at night before bed, making notes about 8 study ideas I could do to exercise basic techniques, each in 30 minutes. Time to complete: 2 weeks (Weeks of Jan. 10, 2011 and Jan. 17, 2011).
    2. I will spend 1 hour typing up each exercise during my commute as if I was asking someone else to do the lesson. I will spend 30 minutes researching pricing for Lightroom 3 and setting up a class with a photographer I’ve already been to once. I will sign up my wife for the basic photography class I have already taken, since she is a great motivator. Time to complete: 1 week (Week of Jan. 24, 2011)
    3. I will do 2 of my exercises per week. One will be during the day at work (mid-day sun overhead) and one will be on Saturday or Sunday near home (sunrise, sunset, early morning, late night, etc.). At the end of February I will have some lessons to share and review, showing good/bad and before/after shots. I will spend another hour per exercise reviewing and updating the exercise each week. The class should be one of these weekends. Time to complete: 4 weeks (February 2011).
    4. I will put the results together to share with a photography mailing list I am on. I will ask for critiques, seeding them with what I think is good/bad about the images I’ve taken. Time to complete: 30 minutes (February 28, 2011)
    5. I will pick a new goal. Either a photo-a-day for a month or focusing on portaits/landscapes/sunsets & sunrise, etc. Time 30 minutes (March 1, 2011)

  84. Week 1 Results:

    Script: I want to build an online website/business to help fund my year of travel that starts in September.

    Implementation:
    - Read content on WebmasterWorld.com for an hour every Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 1 pm when I’m done class. This is done to increase my knowledge of website development.

    - 2 hours of content development for website every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 3 pm.

    - Researching and implementing search engine optimization and affiliate marketing opportunities for 2 hours every Saturday at 1 pm.

    - Automated to-do list reminders on desktop to keep me on track.

    - Total hours per week spent on development: 11 (will likely be more)

    - Number of months till travel starts: 8

    Goal: To be generating $200 a month by time I leave for Australia.

  85. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Positive script: I want to switch into a great new job by Mar. 15 as an external communications/media relations manager for a national nonprofit org or research hospital, in my current city. The job’s salary would at least need to equal my current salary, if not surpass it.

    Implementation steps (all entered into my Google calendar as appts with my other meetings and blocked time, and with email reminders that go to my Blackberry):
    Tuesday from 10p-11:30p: I’m going to identify 3-4 additional orgs to target who would likely have similar positions (or are advertising openings that fit what I’m looking for) and that I’m really excited to work with (in addition to the awesome job I got a personal referral to and applied to last week).
    Wednesday from 6:30p-8:30p: At those 3-4 additional orgs, I will identify and email 5 local contacts asking if they can refer me to anyone who works at those companies (I’ll select these contacts by industry and by searching in LinkedIn to see if they may know anyone at the companies I’m interested in).
    Friday from 5:45-6:45: I’ll schedule next steps (may include scheduling informational interviews, conducting extensive background research on the orgs, and scheduling practice interviews) for the following week as meetings on my calendar.

  86. Really this is very helpful me for my own website and this is very attractive for me.. so thanks for the sharing the information about how to buy scripts from the online…

  87. Script: I want to be a Healthcare Analyst at a consulting firm in four months.
    Implementation: Given that I’ve already identified the industry I want to work in: 1) First month, identifying consulting firms (other than the top tier firms) that have Life Science and/or Federal Government practices
    2) Second month, utilize personal network to determine if I’m connected to anyone working in these firms in a similar capacity. If so, conduct informational interviews, mock interviews, and search job opportunities. If not connected, search LinkedIn to find analysts and associates and contact them asking three important questions about their work
    3) Third Month, apply to Analyst positions and re-contact individuals at specific firms I applied to.
    4) Fourth Month, practice interviewing techniques (mock interviews, reading vault guides, etc)

  88. This post and the last one have been so helpful!!! I’ll be debt free and enrolling in Earn1k 2.0 in no time!

  89. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: I want exposure as a writer.

    I’ve been putting this off for a very long time now; it was easier to simply assume no one would be interested in what I had to say or would ridicule me for my opinions cause I’m only 19 and I don’t have enough experience/knowledge of any field. I wasn’t even sure WHAT I wanted to write about.

    ACTION:

    1. I signed up for 750words.com to start writing ANYTHING every day. Last night I wrote about toilet paper rolls and sushi… huh, well at least I’m writing!
    2. I talked to 10 people I knew who had jobs as reporters and asked about part-time job opportunities… 5 got back to me and told me they’d let me know if anything turned up, 2 offered to try for a spot in local business magazines, and 3 haven’t replied yet.
    3. I will talk to a friend of mine who runs a small underground football league and discuss about starting a blog that focuses on Soccer 101 for females who don’t understand it (like me) in a humourous albeit informative way… this should be fun, I think!
    4. I will explore a different topic/style of writing every alternate day and experiment with it.

    Thanks, Ramit! I signed up for your newsletter 2 years ago and never read any of ‘em (what a dumbass) until a week ago, when I decided to clear out my inbox… never been more proud of myself!

  90. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Sorry for the massive comment! I decided to challenge an invisible script that is preventing me from working towards the goal: “set up my own theatre company in 2011, and secure a place on a theatre directing MA course starting in 2012”.

    OLD NEGATIVE SCRIPT: “Professional training is inaccessible due to my lack of professional theatre directing experience and funds.”

    I spent a few hours on Sunday afternoon searching for arts training courses and found:

    - Several providers of affordable 1-day workshops, aimed at those wishing to start a career in the arts with little or no professional experience.
    - A costly, but 100% guaranteed to be amazing, 2-week theatre directing short course offered by my top choice university.
    - Funding available to arts practioners specifically for professional training, which would enable me to attend more expensive courses.

    NEW POSITIVE SCRIPT: “There is LOADS of training and funding available to help me start a theatre company and improve my directing skills”

    I need automation to make finding and booking courses easier, as well as secure a place and funding for the coveted 2-week short course.

    AUTOMATION:

    1. ACTION: Create a master list of training providers, courses and funding opportunities and send newsletter subscription requests to ensure that I am notified of future course dates. Emails will be routed to my ‘Theatre Courses’ folder.
    RESULT: Excel log created for quick reference, and newsletter subscriptions sent to all providers. I no longer have to continually check training websites for course details – they will tell me when a course has been scheduled.

    2. ACTION: Schedule an hour a week to check through emails received and the websites of providers who do not provide subscriptions, identifying and registering for courses I would like to attend.
    RESULT: I will have a scheduled time dedicated to reviewing the courses available and decide which will assist me to fulfil my goals.

    3. ACTION: Set up a small regular savings transfer to build a training fund for one-day workshops.
    RESULT: Will be able to book and pay for workshops as soon as they become available, reducing the risk of debt or missing out.

    4. ACTION: Spend Sunday afternoons compiling my application for the 2-week short course and completing funding applications. After submitting my application in Feb, I will continue to use this time to practice answering MA application questions; making this process part of my routine and refining my skills, in time for the real thing in September.
    RESULT: If I gain a place then I will have the opportunity to build a relationship with my first choice university, as well as learn top class skills. If I don’t gain a place or necessary funding, then I will have practiced applying for a highly competitive theatre course: good preparation for my MA applications.

  91. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    A want to promote my just launched MVP that will help people with to many ideas narrow them down to the most useful/profitable so they can concentrate and implement it.
    I should start promoting it to professionals and influential people which already have this kind of problem (not reporters, but people who blog about entrepreneurship and similar content).
    To do this I’ll work everyday 30 minutes in the morning looking for people like that and building a list.
    Then I work 30 minutes in the afternoon focusing on one people on my list, researching his particular case and writing a tailored email suggesting my app

  92. Mine’s pretty simple, but I thought I’d include it anyways.

    Positive invisible script: Get recognized as a visual artist (sketching, oil pastels and possibly through free software like InkScape and SketchBookExpress). Most people tell me I’m artistic, but I know someone like Ramit will scream “so what? who the hell cares?” to my face. Since I’m still in college (2nd year) and don’t have a hobby yet, I’ll take on this challenge as a learning experience in art and marketing.

    Automation:
    (a) I don’t produce artwork regularly (I haven’t made anything significant in the past 3 years!). This is because I just don’t know what to draw, I fear the process will take up too much time, or I just don’t remember to sit down and do it.
    Solution: Every month, I’ll print out around 20 pictures of flowers/plants/birds/anything from Google Images, or hike in the hills near my college (which I often do) and snap a few pictures using my iPhone. I know that making large artworks will become expensive and time consuming, so I will make most of my artwork on 5″x7″ index cards (which I already have a ton of). Since my desk is facing a wall, I will tape each photo printout onto the wall so that I’m constantly reminded to work on it. I will keep a large stack of index cards on my desk so that I can sketch during my free time. In addition, I’ll consider purchasing a laminating machine with laminating sheets to make my artwork look sleek.

    (b) Most people I know don’t actively look for artwork.
    Solution: One small way to get my name out is to present my artwork to friends for their birthdays. If I can’t reach them physically, I’ll scan my work and send it.
    I’ll also put up my artwork up on Facebook every month. At the end of the year, I’ll hold an “event” (using Facebook) where I give away all my artwork. Since it is the holiday time, my index cards can serve as holiday gifts (I’ll emphasize this). I will ask my friends to “like” their favorite piece, and the most “liked” drawings will be given away if and only if the person brings 5 of his/her friends along. The rest will be free. Again, my goal isn’t to generate income – it’s to gain recognition for my artwork. However, I expect to be heart-broken by the end of that day.

    Week 1:
    I guess I have it somewhat easy this week.
    1) I’ll copy/paste tons of pictures (around 20 for each month) I find online onto a document. (Done)
    2) Create a new Facebook account (I deleted my earlier one). (Done)
    3) Look for oil pastels and sketch books in the garage. (Done)

    Since I don’t have a printer and my stack of index cards on me (I’m still on vacation), I’ll start on my project this weekend (when I get back to college).

    Anyways, if you guys have any mind-blowing suggestions, please reply to this post! Thanks and good luck to everyone.

    • There are loads of online resources for artists. As I metioned to another reader you can offer art prints or the actual painting on sites like etsy (youll have to print them yourself or find an offsite printer) and DeviantArt.com which is a huge community of artists where you can offer commissions,art trades or just give them away if that is what you truly want, plus you can sell your prints which they print and ship (at some loss in profit to you).

      If you want recognition in your community target local stores, offer to do store signs, advertorials. My younger sister used to do chalkboard signs for the organic grocery store she worked for. Contact offices that have waiting rooms, maybe they want to update the paintings they have on the walls.

    • Argh I forgot to use the heading. I hope it still counts! *WEEK 1 RESULTS*

  93. Two things:
    1. Refine my short story compilation and look for a publisher. For the longest time all i keep thinking is how do i get this published, but the truth, is that the script isn’t even ready for publishing as well as i would like it to be Week 1: get off my arse and complete it at least 1 hour each day editing Week 2: research publishers available online, 1 hour minimum online Week 3: email all publishers in mind

    2. Get a higher paying job. Plan: Week 1 – Update CV Week 2 – Register with recruiting agency, Apply for all job posts in my field, study & prime with mock interviews with friends/family

    Ramit, thanks, this is a major push and reality check needed badly!

    • Be careful with recruiting agencies. Ive dealt with a couple and unless you can find a company that does target placements you might end up just spinning your wheels. I had one try to place me as an event planner when it there was nothing in my skill set or something I had even expressed an interest in, Not that I could have done the job, but when I went with the agency I told them exactly what I was looking for and they spent every minute placing me in opposite positions.

      Follow Ramit’s advice, speak with people that are in your target career, network, getting to know people is also a surefire way to get an edge up.

  94. I have to say, I’m torn between trying to set ridiculously big goals and feeling like I’m another one of those people that sets a huge goal (like budgeting or dieting) and then, inevitably, fails. I suppose action and measurement make the difference. And it’s funny, but I’ve noticed that putting even the smallest honest effort into a big goal tends to be rewarded – I was practically handed a great modeling gig just by asking the right photographer for some pictures! It really challenged my idea that I needed to lose weight first, then go through the ordeal of getting headshots and an agent – I know it was mostly luck, but I still took that small, unconventional step. I think many people would still be stuck on “lose weight.”

    I’d like to write a bestselling science fiction novel. I’d also like to get a short story published in a magazine. Invisible script plaguing me is that I’m really just a lazy person who isn’t capable of doing this. Goals:
    1. Write two hours every day/five pages per day or more.
    2. Come up with a pitch, rough draft and first chapter for my novel and hunt for information on approaching publishers
    3. Polish or write new short story – be 80% complete by the end of the week and searching for an appropriate magazine to submit it to.

    • Aimee why not set a big goal and then break it into the smaller goals. You want to write a best selling sci-fi novel – thats great! But you also want to get short stories published. Many great novels start off as short stories and then get broadened into larger ones.

      I would also look at writing contests, those would certainly also get you some exposure and would be great if you won, or at least get some critical feedback.

      Good luck with the writing – would love to hear how it turns out

    • Adrianne, that is fantastic advice. Sort of an Ender’s Game approach. I wasn’t sure if I could pare my novel down, but I’ve been thinking about it over the past couple of days and it might be feasible after all.

  95. Hey, a complete newbie hear, as in, it’s the 1st time I’m “rolling up my sleeves” and preparing to work harder (smarter) then I ever did!!!

    In the past 3 years of my life I’ve consumed a ridicules amount of information and a boatload of e-courses on how to, and ways to, make money online, and didn’t do shit!

    I physically left school when I was 14; I’m no Silicon Valley entrepreneur
    Nor an Ivy League graduate, my computer/tech skills are none,
    And I taught myself everything I know, including English,
    Hence, English is my 2nd language.
    I don’t think low IQ is my problem here,
    As less intelligent people tried it and pulled it off.

    Enough said. Time to work!

    Script: In 12 month,
    1. I’ll have a product that I’ve invented that will fulfill a need.
    2. I will have an e-book to go along with that product
    (Can be sold separately and/or as a bonus)
    3. I will have a blog in this specific niche with 3000 readers.
    Total desired income in 12 month – $3000.
    Be self employed and location independent.

    Action Plan:

    1. by the end of today,
    Write a template script asking for a “crash course 101″
    On how to do a market research.
    1st thing 1st, is there a market for the product I have in mind?
    Send this request for help to my friends: Asher, Patrick, Katya, and Ramona.
    Post the request for help, in a forum I’m registered to,
    Offering my support in a specific area in exchange for the “crash course 101″

    2. Wednesday
    Implement the market research. Focus on doing the actual research.
    Understanding, analyzing and showing the results of my research to someone that can help me determent whether or not to move to the next step.

    By WED at Midnight PST.
    If there’s a need for my product and service, identify me next step.
    If there’s no need, go back to Ramit’s exercise PICK YOUR FIELD, and come up with a new idea to test.

  96. Ok, a bit late in on this, because I couldn’t decide what to do.

    Using the scripts of “People like to help” and “I am going to ROCK this interview”

    I’m going to contact my friends at the company to get their input on what I need to know for the interview. I am also going to set up a couple mock interviews with the career center to get in some extra practice.

  97. Week I goal — Instead of keeping a task list, now i keep a goals list, a subtle but important distinction. I group them by day, as i accomplish goals they get a strikethru but are not eliminated until week’s end. Doing this got me to finish my website/blog, send it for review to 8 people,develop a personal blog, start marketing and monetizing the website and plow thru a bunch of personal tasks that were just mundane but necessary to get done. All this in just afew days’ time. Instead of thinking, now i just DO.

  98. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    **************

    I am a student, I read this yesterday, today I got out of debt, Thanks to the generous Christmas money from family. I have a bizzare fear of banks, and going into the bank was a battle, glad I did it. I opened an investing account and for automation, each month I pay the bank, bank fees, I will ‘pay’ myself, towards my investment account. I also cleaned out the fridge and stocked it with food. Healthy body, healthy mind. p.s. setting a ten o clock reminder the day before to prepare helps, i knew where my things were and wasnt late! D~lo

  99. SCRIPT: I need to get my PhD so that I can find a much-better paying job.

    Which, unfortunately, is actually kind of true if you work in the sciences.

    COUNTERSCRIPT: Freelance writing and editing *can* be worth pursuing, and if I can land one job, I can get others.

    Goals are therefore to:
    a) identify 1-2 potential clients, and brainstorm proposals every week
    b) pitch a proposal to said clients the following week
    c) land at least 1 contract per month

    If this seems less-than ambitious, it’s because I’m pretty realistic about how many writing assignments I’ll be able to get, and because I’m not entirely sure how my current job is going to work out. Furthermore, I’m doing a lot of other writing on the side (one novel to edit, another being planned), with the idea of finding a publisher for at least one by the end of the year.

  100. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    Script: I want to improve my programming skills and try some new technology
    Implementation:
    I will make a light (in scope) video game. I will pick a platform (probably mobile), game type, and think of some basic ideas like setting/artwork/etc. I will then identify the major components of the game and write a plan for coding them. I will also talk to my friend Jon to see if he has any interest in working on it. I will finish those steps by Friday, then start to implement my coding plan. When the game is finished I will post it online or in the app store for free or for sale (depending on how it turns out). Feedback can be used to identify ways in which I can further improve my skills. Even if I don’t make a cent from it, it will be well worth the experience gained and could probably even be added to my resume or portfolio.

  101. Script – I want to get into the music industry as a composer/producer and violist (been working on that one for a while, and I’m attending a music school already). I don’t know exactly how to get there, and “going to music school” is obviously not going to cut it. So, I’ll talk to people who’ve made it and learn from their experiences.

    Implementation -
    1) I’ve already set up weekly 1-hour “lessons” with someone who’s making a living teaching jazz improvisation (with a slice of music business thrown in) writing music, and playing professionally. He’s played on a few billboard charting albums, and he generally knows his way around. (Composition/Producing)
    2) I want to do something with viola, and my viola professor is extremely experienced and knowledgeable. I’ll write her (now – I’ve already built up the momentum by writing this) and see if she has some extra time each week to talk to me regularly. If she doesn’t, then I’ll see if we can start my weekly hourly lessons (another class I have to take) with talking. If we don’t get through everything, I’ll email her right after the lesson.
    (Viola)
    3) I really want to write music for independent video games – but all I’m doing towards that so far is writing something for a game I’m working on developing. Step A is probably to talk to someone doing that – and I know just the guy. I’ll send him an email right now, save it as a template and send an email like that to someone new every week. (Composing/Producing)
    4) These people are going to tell me things that I should actually -do-.

    Automation –
    1) I attend the University.. and it’s a class. If I don’t show up for whatever reason, I’m sure I’ll hear from him.. and also I’ll fail. I’ve been against failing since middle school, so that’s that.
    2) I have to attend those lessons, I know she’ll probably say yes to starting the lessons with talking (if she doesn’t have extra time each week), and I should have time after the lessons to send her that email. I can use Google Calendar to text and email me after the lessons with a reminder to write it. Since we’ll have already started talking, it’ll be difficult to ignore.
    3) I’ll make that another email I send right now to my viola professor. I’ll be in an email writing mood – so it’ll be easy to do, the time will be blocked off already, and I’ll have most of the email written. I can also use this time to send small (but non-badgering) email reminders to busy people who haven’t responded, continue conversations with people I haven’t gotten back to yet, or figure out who exactly to email (since I will inevitably run out of people).
    4) Well, since I’ve already worked out a time each week that will inevitably have me working on this stuff, I can research into how I can get to work on whatever these people suggest. If I have time during email-time, I can add their suggestions to that space – and if I don’t, then I’ll need to go through a process similar to this one and make things as automatic as possible.


    Hopefully I’m not too late to the punch on this. Even if I don’t get responses by tomorrow, I’ve already got the result of coming up with these ideas – good ideas that will likely be successful.

    To put the cherry on top, after reviewing this: (http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/finding-clients/) to get some relevant tips from that “good email” that I remembered, I sent those two emails before hitting submit.

    • Typo correction

      3) I’ll make that another email I send right now. I’ll send those weekly emails after I write the weekly message to my viola professor.

      (So, to clear things up, I emailed my viola professor and that indie game composer I had in mind before hitting submit)

  102. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    Positive script. I want to set up an online business automating my passive income.

    Implementation.
    Monday – Go through the resources I have available to me which I have collected over the years regarding internet marketing and creating passive income and affiliate marketing. While researching, I will compile a list of contacts with email addresses and decide on 3 questions that I would like to ask them. Make calender reminders of the following
    Tuesday – Decide on 6 topics that I would like to write an article on regarding my affiliate/niche markets, do 10 mins of research for each topic, jotting down important information and key words, creating a rough draft. I will then research and register with online publishing sites ie Ezine, triond, etc where I will be able to publish these articles. I will then email my questions to the contacts that I have compiled the day before.
    Wednesday – Friday – Spend 10 – 15 mins in the morning replying to emails regarding my questions. Then spend 1 – 2 hours per topic, no more than 2 topics a day editing and finalizing them which I will then publish online. Finally at end of day Friday, I will review my results and accomplishments for the week, and begin a plan of action for the following week, reviewing on the coming Monday again, and setting up calender reminders for the week ahead.

  103. Thanks for the info – I learned a lot!

  104. Generate $2k of additional income each month for the next 3 months by:
    – Identifying 5 products or services I can offer immediately that meet the criteria of the Earn $1k Additional Income program.
    * Is there a market (does anyone want it)
    * Can they pay?
    * Am I solving a problem
    Refine Affiliate Marketing Sites
    * 5 more article submissions to improve traffic
    * Complete next step in Affiliate Marketing for Beginners (Get the Sale)
    Leverage eBay as an additional income generator.
    * Currently have numerous electronics and other things that can be listed immediately.

    How will I automate all of this?
    – Using Remember The Milk (RTM) I created Titles for my next 4 articles. However to ensure action I phrased the task in the form of a question that I answer through the article. Then I created a due date for each of the 4 tasks. RTM will send me a text and an email reminding me to get them done. The question format prompts action.
    – As for the 5 products or services I’ve scheduled time on my calendar to brainstorm skills, strengths, and interests. I’ve also scheduled time to research the top 5 candidates based on my ability to produce in the least amount of time.
    – At this point I must verify there is market that is willing and able to pay so I created reminder tasks in RTM to research each product or service. Each task has the criteria in the notes formed as questions that I simply have to fill in the blanks for. This should streamline my research process and prompt action because I don’t have to think – just act (GTD style)
    – I’ve scheduled reminder tasks in RTM to contact everyone in my personal contact list to see if they or anyone they know may need the service or products that I’ve come up with.

    – For eBay we’ve designated the desk in the spare bedroom as the collection site for possible eBay listings.
    – I’ve delegated the copious picture taking and research duties for these items to my wife.

    This is how I plan to achieve more in the next few days towards my financial independence goals then I have in 3 years.

  105. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    1. Invisible script of success: I want to begin to commission my artwork as my “side hustle” – a great way to combine my hobby and earn extra income
    Negative script that was holding me back: artwork as a source of income takes too much time and dedication, i.e. you can’t have a regular 9-5 job and hope to be a quality, paid artist
    Next steps: research price point (done) and find a client base
    Simple way to automate it: mention my work in conversation with everyone new I meet, long-time friends I’m catching up with and when appropriate with daily contacts

    2. Implementation results: I can hardly believe it… I have been casually mentioning to family and friends that I am a commissioned artist (even though I haven’t sold a thing…yet!), and the results are incredible: I already have three paintings lined up, and a fourth person who is interested. Most of them have seen my work before, either hanging in my office or in my apartment, and for those that haven’t, I simply send them a few sample photos. Who knew that so many of my contacts have always wanted a personalized piece of artwork but just didn’t know where to turn! It’s amazing how many doors you can open up by just declaring that “I am a _____________” :) Thanks, Ramit!

  106. My invisible script is producting TV segment plans I have been procrastinating on for the past 3 weeks.

    I will spend 30 minutes every morning to create the 6 film plans
    I will work my extensive phone book and networks to approach the 8 companies who’s technology we want to highlight
    I will dedicate an hour for each film plan, and another hour to call and follow
    up with the companies every day from 7am to 11am.
    I will co-ordinate with the director, site locations, main interview contact, and myself to book in 6 film shoot dates for the next 2 weeks.

    Aza Fighting!!
    Here’s a link to my TV show if you’re curious. :)
    http://freezone.iinet.net.au/channels/freezone/iinet/geek-speak

    And I’m really looking forward to this month of hustling because…

    I’ld left my job 2 months ago to ‘get a life’, and explore the world.

    In that 8 weeks i’ve flown 8000km, driven another 2000km, and been to the most breath-takingly beautiful places. I’ve attended 3 conferences, numerous network and social events. and added over 200 friends on my facebook. I’ve taken up 2 new committee positions, and a national board position. I’ve resigned from roles that have created drag in my life, and looking forward to smoother sailing in 2011.

    But now, i need to focus at the money-making, to so that I can continue to live the way I want to live.

  107. I wanted to post something here, but the fact is it usually takes me an inordinately long time to craft even simple comments. And my long time problem is talking a big game and then moving on rather than executing.

    So, I’ll not waste time trying to word things just right here, but to actually move forward and execute instead.

    • For real. The assignment was to post our RESULTS with “week 1 results” at the top, not to get 200 people to say what they planned to do first! We can post when we have something to say!

    • (At least that was how I read it. Later on I realized that that was off – but it still seems weird to call it results when all we’ve done is make often-grandiose plans about what we want to get done! I’d rather see an iPad for whoever gets the best actual results in a week or three, myself.)

  108. Enormously helpful post, Ramit! The “big win” that I’ve been chasing for two years is to land a job in financial services…and I just applied for something at Morgan Stanley by way of a friend who works in their derivative operations unit, using some of your advice (eg: asking about the interview process, how I can prepare for the next step, etc.). Just in sending a quick e-mail, I can already tell what a difference this will make to my job hunt. I’m no longer just rattling off skills and achievements and begging someone to like me–instead, I’m signaling that I’m playing to win and that I’m ready to out-work anyone to get the gig. Who would you hire? Subtle difference, but I think it may just carry the day!

    Lots of great stuff on here since New Year’s and I’m loving every bit of it. Keep it up, Ramit!

  109. Script – I want to become a better salesperson, increasing my sponsorship and advertising sales by 100% in 2011.

    Implementation – I will reach out to the Top 5 salespeople involved in my shows, once per day, and speak with them on their sales tactics for different people. I will also spend 1/2 hour each day in a public setting reading people’s behavioral cues on moods per the various books on reading people that I have read.

  110. By the way, as a specific tip for interviews, if the company is public, check out the earnings calls including the analyst Q&A session. Oftentimes you can find some very thoughtful questions or at least good food for thought to use in interviews.

  111. [...] How to ace the world’s toughest interviews via Ramit Sethi I believe this is the first time I’ve linked to Ramit.  This guy kills basically the entire internet in terms of content quality.  This article isn’t just about interviews – it’s about how to win at life, like most of his articles.  Just go read and then read everything else on his site. [...]

  112. Ramit,

    Your posts in the last couple weeks have been phenomenal. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but the one about skepticism and cynicism holding you back really struck a nerve. I’ve never been one to take no for an answer or just follow the status quo. I, too, got into a highly competitive dream school despite less than stellar SAT scores and others telling me it wasn’t a very achievable dream.

    After almost dying in childbirth, and almost losing my baby, too, I became a stay-at-home mom — the craziest job I’ve ever had! Once again, I refused to be miserable and just accept this common reality as my fate. I refused to let “Mommyhood” beat me! I dove in and found ways to “automate” and improve being a stay-at-home mom so my life could be more fulfilling and meaningful.

    BUT, for the past 8 years I’ve struggled to develop a part-time source of income that would help support me, and the commitment I’ve made to my family. There is an invisible script running in my head that I just don’t have a “mind” for business.

    So, here’s my plan:

    NEW SCRIPT: I haven’t accepted failure as an option in other areas of my life. I will find a way to bust through the invisible barrier that is preventing me from making at least $30,000 a year working for myself.

    IMPLEMENTATION: Using iCal and my iPhone, I will set up automatic reminders and appointments to accomplish the following in the next 4 weeks:
    ~ Week 1: Analyze why I was successful in other areas of my life. Make a list of at least 10 things; Find practical ways to convert this list and apply it to a business.
    ~ Week 2: Scour your section on “Starting a business.” Create a tangible action plan for increasing blog traffic, etc.
    ~ Week 3: Take action step from last week’s assumption/test challenge (create an editorial calendar) and push it one step farther. Set weekly blogging goals; set research and development time; find sources of encouragement, inspiration and information from successful bloggers.
    ~ Week 4: Take everything learned in the previous 3 weeks and create a detailed action plan with dates, calendar reminders and tangible steps to help maintain the momentum that is being built right now.

    Thanks for your guidance! This isn’t easy, but your posts keep me encouraged and focused.

    • Ok. My iCal is all “steroided” up for the next 4 weeks. My husband’s gonna hate me because I have so many reminders and alerts set up!! LOL Should be great…

  113. I would like to say Thanks to everyone that posted a script right away! It helped me understand this material sometimes I don’t get it. With your examples it is awesome and really helps! I see there are a lot of common goals that I have with other people too.

    My script is: I want to do three back to back 900′s in the half-pipe for the Deaflympics.

    Today: (tuesday)I will do three 540′s, and I will work on one 720 this week. to get closer to my goal of doing three back to back 900′s

    This will help me a lot because doing three 540′s is almost like 3 900′s back to back. And working on one 720 will push me to break the barrier to 900.

    (I previously had the goal of doing 540′s this week, 720′s next week and the third week 900′s) I think my new Implementation plan is better than the previous. This exercise already helped me last night, I already used this changing my mindset to a positive one from a negative one. I had been in a “social rut” I have been actively avoiding socializing and telling myself some negative crap. I simply changed my thinking and my results were amazing. I had a great time last night and enjoyed myself.

  114. Any suggestions for people who just discovered this 30 days: 10 days in?

  115. Invisible script – “Gaining weight is difficult, and I’ve always been–and will be–skinny. I won’t be able to put on 25 lbs. of muscle by March 11, 2011”

    GOOD implementation: I can gain 25 lbs of muscle by March 11, 2011. According to Drew Baye, I should be getting between 2,400 and 3,000 calories per day. That includes 155 to 232 grams of protein per day and 570 calories from good (animal, coconut) saturated fat. Because I work, my lunch will be smaller (calorie wise): I should do: 1,200 calories for breakfast, 600 calories for lunch, and 1,200 calories for dinner. Breakfast will be 1 scoop of whey protein with 1.5 cups of organic whole milk (340 calories), 20 macadamia kernals (400 calories), and Tim Ferriss’s slow carb break (200 calories), and a morning snack PaleoKrunch bar (200 calories) for a total of 1140 calories. Lunch will be a rotation of Chipotle, sushi, chicken and broccoli, and chicken terriyaki (400 calories) and another afternoon snack (Lara Bar, 200 calories) for a total of 600 calories. Dinner will be two servings of almonds (160 calories), salad with olive oil (80 calories), and a can of beans (300 calories), along with 8 oz. of fish/chicken (300 calories), 1.5 cups of whole milk (200 calories) for a total of 1,200 calories. To keep up with the goal, I will gain 2 lbs. per week. I’ll weigh myself first thing in the morning every Sunday, when there is no water weight added and to stay consistent. Additionally, to keep me motivated as Tim Ferriss mentions, I’ll take measurements of my waist, biceps, triceps using the MyoTape I ordered and take before/after pictures every Sunday. If I’m not gaining weight quickly enough, I will up my macadamia nut intake and whole milk intake as they’re quick calories.

  116. Glad I can read today!

    WEEK 1 RESULTS:

    Invisible script – “Gaining weight is difficult, and I’ve always been–and will be–skinny. I won’t be able to put on 25 lbs. of muscle by March 11, 2011”

    GOOD implementation: I can gain 25 lbs of muscle by March 11, 2011. According to Drew Baye, I should be getting between 2,400 and 3,000 calories per day. That includes 155 to 232 grams of protein per day and 570 calories from good (animal, coconut) saturated fat. Because I work, my lunch will be smaller (calorie wise): I should do: 1,200 calories for breakfast, 600 calories for lunch, and 1,200 calories for dinner. Breakfast will be 1 scoop of whey protein with 1.5 cups of organic whole milk (340 calories), 20 macadamia kernals (400 calories), and Tim Ferriss’s slow carb break (200 calories), and a morning snack PaleoKrunch bar (200 calories) for a total of 1140 calories. Lunch will be a rotation of Chipotle, sushi, chicken and broccoli, and chicken terriyaki (400 calories) and another afternoon snack (Lara Bar, 200 calories) for a total of 600 calories. Dinner will be two servings of almonds (160 calories), salad with olive oil (80 calories), and a can of beans (300 calories), along with 8 oz. of fish/chicken (300 calories), 1.5 cups of whole milk (200 calories) for a total of 1,200 calories. To keep up with the goal, I will gain 2 lbs. per week. I’ll weigh myself first thing in the morning every Sunday, when there is no water weight added and to stay consistent. Additionally, to keep me motivated as Tim Ferriss mentions, I’ll take measurements of my waist, biceps, triceps using the MyoTape I ordered and take before/after pictures every Sunday. If I’m not gaining weight quickly enough, I will up my macadamia nut intake and whole milk intake as they’re quick calories.

  117. How I’m using your automatic default advice to advance my New Year’s Resolutions

    http://menage-a-thoa.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-years-resolutions.html

    SAVE $10,000
    Default: Automatically withdraw $1,000 into my savings account every month, just after my paycheck is deposited. Leftover money is for expenses, bills, & guilt-free spending.
    Habit: Blog about total saved every month. Automatic email reminder will be sent to me to remember to blog.
    Difficulty: Easy as I am more addicted to saving more money than I spend.
    Time period: January to December

    30 ITEM WARDROBE
    Default 1: Print a list of 8 items I want to buy that month and carry it with me in my bag.
    Default 2: Buy at least 2 items a week.
    Habit: Blog about my wardrobe finds/buys 2-3 days in a week.
    Difficulty: Medium as I am very picky & indecisive when buying items for myself.
    Time period: January to April
    Additional action: Purge old clothes first Sunday of every month. Email reminder.

    APPRECIATE & BE THANKFUL
    Default: Set a “What were you thankful for today?” alarm on phone & write it down while returning home on the train
    Habit: Blog about things I’m thankful for each week
    Difficulty: Easy

    KEEP IN TOUCH
    Default 1: Plug in my webcam always
    Default 2: Have Skype automatically start when Windows start
    Habit 1: Call 1 friend every week, webcam every other week, & send 10 postcards/letters every month
    Habit 2: Blog about calls & webcam every week, about postcards/letters every other week
    Difficulty: Medium
    Additional action: Compile phone number & address list of contacts for easy access.

    Pass Japanese Profiency Language Test 3
    January goal: Finish みんなの日本語 textbook by January. Currently on pg. 145, do 3 pages a day.
    Default: Do daily 3 pages on the train
    February – April goal: Finish Genki II textbook
    May: Do past Level 3 tests
    June: Do past Level 2 tests
    July: Take the test!
    Habit: Weekly Japanese lesson on blog [grammar, new vocab, kanji]
    Difficulty: Medium, I just need to keep up the studying all throughout
    Time period: January to July
    Additional action: Buy Genki II textbook, check test registration in February

  118. Invisible script:
    I don’t have skills that people will pay for.

    Action:
    Straight from work to the library for 30 minutes of reading followed by brainstorming ideas.
    Schedule this 2x per week to avoid probable burnout. My best fit is Monday and Thursday.
    Read and implement Ramit’s “Find your first profitable idea” from the Tim Ferriss book special as a part of reading.
    When I find 3 ideas that pass the acid test of possible profitability.
    For each idea, identify two people who have a similar business
    For each idea, identify three potential customers.

    Nathan

  119. Ramit – Dynamite blog, dynamite challenge!

    My New Script: I’ll take advantage of my unemployment to explore new ways to earn money for what I love to do, and how I can best help others — through my writing — despite having been out of the field for years.

    Implementation:
    1. Apply to local colleges (Journalism/Communications Master’s level)
    2. Join 3 local Journalism/Writer’s/professional groups
    3. Ask for “Job Coach/Buddy” withing these groups
    4. Call/write a list of the editors from my fav Top Ten media outlets and ask for informational mtgs. — what do they need most?
    5. Explore “Internships,” or negotiate part-time pay for full-time work to gain a footing (and experience) in an agency
    6. Send out emails to former employers for paid PR project jobs
    7. Write one article and submit to a magazine by next Wednesday, no matter how small
    8. Write one blog/online writing job for pay by next Wednesday, no matter how small
    9. Write, research, interview from 9A-10:30A each morning
    10. Create and have business cards printed for myself

    Obstacles:
    1. No money for college, professional groups
    2. Fear and self-conscious of writing
    3. I turn on the tv when I have writers’ block
    4. I wake up each morning wanting to put the whole thing off, just one more day…one more hour…

    Automation:
    1. Create ring tones of inspiring, call-to-action songs to wake up and listen to each morning — Theme from Rocky, etc.
    2. Program my tv to be off from 9-10:30A
    3. Close my bedroom door, and take the cushions off the couch from 9-10:30A so I have to sit at my desk in the living room
    4. Barter volunteer work for professional fees and commit to work 1 day a week at professional organizations
    5. COMMIT PUBLICLY to this on Ramit’s blog!

  120. [...] Ramit Sethi in his blog I Will Teach You To Be Rich, illustrates this point in two recent posts, here and here. [...]

  121. Invisible Script: I will get a job as a school counselor at one of the top school districts.

    Implementation: I know that I have to be a part of the game going on around me. I was recently told that most schools know who they are hiring before they even announce the position. To get ahead of the curve, instead of just applying on job boards, I’ve contacted people that I know in the field so they can put me in touch with any openings before they are made public. I am emailing 3 people every day until I run out of personal contacts and then I will move onto people I haven’t met yet.

    As a way to slightly automate the process I’ve started a number of email drafts with my resume attached so that I can just address them and send them out, even from my phone if I meet a contact while I am out.

    So far I am just waiting on results.

  122. WEEK 1 RESULTS:
    “Finish Sanskrit Book by Saturday”
    Get up a half hour earlier each day and write 5 pages a day.

  123. -ve script: I can never ‘ace’ an interview (Thanks for your post btw, it was what I needed).

    Implementation: Interview in two weeks.
    By Jan 15th, revise the topics I’m weak in. Make such a list by Jan 12th.
    By Jan 18th, have a mock interview with career services and atleast one with a pal, find out about the company from couple of friends
    By Jan 21st, second round of mock interviews

    Automation:
    - Solve (write code by hand and then compile) five new problems each day from a new area. Once I finish all areas, solve harder ones.
    - Create a block of atleast 3 hours each day, so that I know when to work on the interview prep
    - Talk to friends and get their input.

    PS: I’ve never ‘aced’ an interview before (though I did manage to get by most of them). However, now am in a top-3 CS grad school in the US, so the pressure is on!in a top-3 CS grad school in the US, so the pressure is on!

  124. The script I’ve been living by: “I have to figure out exactly what I love and then research it to death and save up a bunch of $ so that I can quit my day job and pursue it.”

    The reality: I love many things and I don’t have to limit myself to one thing, nor do I have to save up and quit before I pursue it.

    Week 1 step: I will set up a three month plan to begin writing a blog about women’s wellness. I have been fighting some health issues and constantly yo-yoing weight wise. I have decided to focus on overall wellness and let the weight fall where it may. Action steps this week will include finding out how to begin with getting a domain name and how to secure advertisers.

  125. WEEK ONE RESULTS

    Script: It is my intention to be a freelance writer.

    Automation:
    - Learn the basics of how HubPages.com works.
    - Challenge myself to write 30 hubs in 30 days, starting Jan. 23 and finishing by Feb. 21.
    - Edit the first draft of my novel.

  126. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: I will consistantly work to find a better job in the area where my fiance is from so we can live there.

    Implementation:
    - Do research to find out what websites/career fairs and potential employeers are in the area.
    - Narrow down these websites & employers and setup dates to attend the career fairs
    - Research the companies at the career fairs to better learn about thier business and see if there are potential contacts I may have in the industry.
    - Contact the employeers and dig deeply into finding if they have potential positions available that are of interest to me.

  127. I can tell this is a challenge I need to take, because I feel fear reactions in my body just thinking about publicly committing to a course of action!

    My goal: To leave behind the 9-to-5 this year in order to become a full-time impresario! I named my dream career “impresario” because it doesn’t exactly exist right now as I envision it; it’s about combining performance (burlesque, belly dance, fringe theater) with creating and producing events that are participatory spectacles– where everyone who attends is a co-creator as well as experiencing something creative, unexpected, and colorful.

    I’ve done aspects of this professionally (like performing and producing theater), and all of it on a hobbyist basis. But I want my entire life to be about creating experiences people remember for years.

    My early research into my target market suggests to me that I need 1) to establish a website destination to build community around my brand and create continuity between events, and 2) to focus a lot, initially, on events created in partnership– like a launch party for one of my author friends, or a show done within a festival– to demonstrate my value to ticket-buyers and build a reputation.

    This is my single biggest old, limiting script: “I can’t work on this project until I have ‘finished my vegetables’ and done everything else that everyone wants from me or that I ‘have to’ do.”

    I work full-time, and have three freelance clients on the side, and I do a lot of work in my community, so needless to say there’s no end to what I perceive that I “should” be doing before I do anything for myself. I’ve been afraid that if I’m not perfect in meeting everyone else’s needs and expectations first, I’ll burn all my bridges– and then I won’t have the contacts or good name to start getting this project off the ground.

    My new script: “The project that reflects what I want to be doing with the rest of my life is my top priority, above the ‘daily grind’ work that takes up much more time than the value it delivers. Structuring my time to make it a priority is not selfish, it’s a great way to find out who in my life really supports me and who’s just interested in exploiting me for their own gain. I will become my own top client and over-deliver the CRAP out of my project!”

    How to automate and implement it:

    Step 1– Make a list of small, concrete actions to take– or maybe multiple lists like “People to contact” “Questions to answer” etc. (I love lists!) Save these in Drafts in Gmail, where I am already keeping any information I want to have at my fingertips at all times and where I am used to going to look for things like that.

    Step 2– There are times of day when I already putter around online. I do it for a few minutes over morning coffee, when I’m easing back into work after lunch, and when I settle in at home. I also do it when I’m taking a break from a project. Often, I don’t have specific goals for this time, but I’ll do little tasks– send emails, look something up, etc. I will make my lists from Step 1 my first destination, and I will do one task from one list before I do anything else. Same activity, not really any more effort, just more focused on a goal. Until this becomes second nature, I will set up calendar reminders on Google Calendar or Remember the Milk so that it’s right in my face when I sign on (Gmail generally being the first place I go anyway).

    Step 3– Use a similar approach to my everyday activities, so that no matter where I go, the first item on my mental checklist is “Do I need anything from this place/situation for my project?” For example, when I’m at the gym– did I remember to inquire at the desk whether I can use the studios for dance practice in between scheduled classes? When I’m chatting with someone in a long line at the grocery store (which I often do), or looking for a topic of conversation with someone when I’m in a small-talk-needed situation, have I asked them, “What kind of events do you go to, and why do you go to them?” or something like that?

    Step 4– Focus on this project in my mastermind group. Our meetings have momentum already, and because it creates a sense of accountability for me, I am probably 80-90% more likely to follow through on any item (that I could possibly otherwise blow off) than I would be if I did not establish it as a goal in my meeting. I have way too much pride to show up to a meeting and admit that I didn’t at least attempt my goals! And actually, this will even make my mastermind work easier, because every month I go into brain-lock trying to figure out which area of my life to focus on in this meeting. If I’ve already picked my project as the thing to work on, I can spend my prep time choosing the most effective goals to pursue for it instead. I have a meeting this weekend, so I can try this out very soon.

    I will comment to this and update on my results as I give this a whirl.

  128. Script: I want to grow and get more reader involvement on my blog:

    Implementation:
    1. Become more active on the Facebook Fan Page for my blog(which I just created last week), by posting more on the Facebook wall.
    2. Let readers know with a blog post about the new Facebook Fan Page that has been created, for the blog
    3.Search out more photos to had to my blogs Flickr group.
    4. Contact those photographers to let them know about the Flickr group and also about possibly featuring their work on the blog

  129. Ramit, I’m loving this new material.

    My first goal from the last challenge – to finish my art piece without pulling an all-nighter – failed utterly, in that I dragged my sorry carcase to bed at an unmentionable hour of Monday morning, then got up scant hours later to drive across the city and deliver the piece, minutes before it would actually have been too late. Ugh.

    (Then yesterday my three-year-old came down with a tummy bug, underlining *why* my lifelong habits with deadlines just won’t work for me any more!)

    So my target script is an easy choice: I meet my creative deadlines in a steady, sustainable way.
    IMPLEMENTATION: First, I’ll develop a checklist for the beginning of a new project. I imagine this will include such elements as “materials list”, “timeline”, “calendar”, etc. Second, I’ll use my new checklist to plan my next piece, which is due by 31 January.

  130. I don’t really think of these things as “scripts,” just goals.

    My goal/script/question is: how can I spend 5 hours/month volunteering in 2011? (I know it’s a pathetic amount of time, but I’m starting from scratch.)

    Plan to implement (not sure automate is the right word here): TODAY – Fill out volunteer application forms at two organizations for which I’d like to volunteer. Block out recurring time on my calendar to volunteer. EOW – Complete next steps for each volunteer program. EOM – Participate in first session for each program (interview, orientation, etc.). FEBRUARY – Begin volunteering.

    • That’s because a lot of people are putting goals as their “scripts”. The way I understand what Ramit wrote is that we identify the assumptions that are holding us back – our “invisible scripts” that we are living by, like “I don’t have the time to volunteer” – and then look honestly at what is really stopping us (like “I don’t make time to volunteer, I don’t know any places around here to do it, I’m afraid they would want more than I am willing to give”) and create a plan to make it easy for us.

      I question “automate” too. I think that a lot of us are writing out an action plan rather than really automating it, but there’s not a lot of information here about what Ramit means by automating it :) I’m basically fleshing that out based on how he automates finances; I assume that similarly, automating this stuff would involve a bunch of prep work (research, etc.) to set it up so the actual action is easy and feels automatic.

  131. [...] positive scripts. Make sure you’ve added your best example of automating positive scripts by leaving a comment on Monday’s post. Remember, the best entry by Wednesday, 1/12 (11:59pm PST) will get an iPad and a 15-minute call [...]

  132. SCRIPT: I want to eat healthy so I can lose weight.

    Automation: Eating healthy will be my default because it will be easier than not eating healthy.
    Step 1) Made healthy snack packs with nuts and jerky to keep in my purse at all times.
    Step 2) Eating out for lunch is my downfall so every weekend I’m going to make a big batch of something that freezes well and freeze individual portions. By 4 weeks I should have a reasonable variety of things to bring when I don’t have leftovers
    Step 3) Started keeping v8 and canned tuna at my desk for more emergency snacks.

  133. Hey Ramit,
    I sent you an email, but I’ll post it up here too,
    When I was testing my assumptions last week, I also found that my studying methodology was one of my invisible scripts. I went ahead to fix it and it turns out that I created an automated positive invisible script

    Background:
    In 2010, I discovered some extremely effective studying techniques, so when I worked, I worked well. However, I took part in the “my life sucks and I’m so busy” debates that people always get into, and throughout the course of 4 years developed invisible scripts like
    “Studying has to be hard and stressful”, “it’s cooler to do everything last minute” and “95% averages don’t exist”

    I found that
    When I put projects in the back of my mind, I would be thinking about them 24/7! Sometimes chilling with friends wasn’t even fun anymore.
    All the projects had deadlines that were close together, so for some weeks I would hide out in my house for days in order to catch up.
    I didn’t have a specific time for doing homework, so I would find myself missing days’ worth of prep.
    After intensive research,

    THE INVISIBLE SCRIPT

    SCRIPT: I want to get a 95% average and get into my dream university with a scholarship

    IMPLEMENTATION:
    On every Sunday, I will write a plan for the next week (assignments, tests) and review the plan I had for last week; I will make sure that all affairs from last week were taken care of.
    Every day, I will carry out 1 or 2 of the items from the weekly to-do.
    I will automate my homework times by scheduling an hour of work during my spare(Just got myself an extra HOUR after school), and another hour and a half of work at 7.
    I will immediately enter all assignments I get on gcal and put them 2 days before the due date; It will also send me a reminder a week before.
    Every two weeks, I will check my notes over with my friends to make sure that we have what we need for the test

    So far it has been an AMAZING experience. I have a lot less to think about now, and I can focus completely on everything I do. In just this week, I raised my average from a 91.5%(It was stagnant for 3 MONTHS) to a 92.5%. With this invisible script, my exams should get me to the magic number :)

    Regards,
    Stepan

  134. Old Script: I am tired all the time. I don’t have any time to workout. I’m a mom, wife, and lawyer. I wake up, work, take care of my family, and go to bed. Rinse, repeat.

    New Script: None of my identities are possible if I’m not healthy.

    Last week: Joined gym.
    This week: Have scheduled meetings/training sessions 3x a week immediately after work. Am accountable to someone else and my pocketbook. Picking up child 45 minutes later isn’t going to ruin his life.

  135. Script: I want to get a new job this year. No more excuses. (My own barriers include thinking that no one would hire a pregnant person and I should stop the job search once I got noticeably pregnant. I’ve acknowledged that barrier but realize that at some point I won’t be pregnant anymore and I’ve got to get the ball rolling for the future, regardless of the risk that I’ll get an interview and lose some job prospects now. The practice of continuously updating my resume and cover letters always makes both documents more refined. If I don’t get a job because I’m pregnant, I’ll put it in my “failure” pile and keep moving forward.)

    Step 1: Set up automatic job searches with key words on indeed.com and other relevant websites sent automatically to my email address each morning.
    Step 2: Apply to ALL jobs that I am qualified for, (regardless of the fact that I’m now visibly pregnant) spending at least 30 minutes making a personalized cover letter for each. I must apply to a minimum of 3 jobs a week, with at least one of those job applications completed by Wednesday evening. For jobs I am particularly interested in, ask within my network if anyone has an inside connection that could give me pointers, and follow up with that inside person before I send the resume. If that connection takes time, I must still apply for at least 3 jobs per week– I can’t give myself the excuse that someone else’s delay will slow down the job search process.
    Step 3: If I get a rejection letter, follow up and ask what they were looking for and what I could do better next time. Set an automatic reminder on my calendar to follow up with my dream jobs in 6 months to keep my name in the back of their mind, even if I did get a rejection letter.

    Results: Last night I sent out 1 job application and I got an interview today! Yes, I’m very pregnant, but what the heck, I will still get a lot out of this interview, even if they don’t hire me. I immediately asked 3 people for advice on tackling this interview, especially in my current state. I’ve gotten great advice from all 3 people and I’m not stopping there. I already scheduled 2 mock interviews for myself with friends to be prepared for the real deal.

  136. Spend the hour between childs bedtime and mine developing idea for web app business

    Results so far:
    Started yesterday; I’m well into a book on web app development, I have a Friday date with a school teacher (my idea is education related) and I found out one of my former coworkers is friends with a former minister of education.

    Old script: I don’t even know where to start. I should research some more (and then didn’t because it was intimidating)

  137. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Old Script: I don’t know what prospects would want out of the dozens of angles I have for my consulting and freelancing idea.

    Automation: Spend 1 hour every morning researching different organizations I could potentially speak at for 10-15 minutes (such as Rotary, industry/professional groups, etc), and come up with a short list (top 3-5) of specific topics based on the people who I’d be speaking to.

    Results: Already identified a few topics which look like a good fit for each group. Once I have a strong feel for these topics and a draft speech, my next step is to begin contacting these groups to give a talk (to complete by the end of the month).

  138. “WEEK 1 RESULTS”
    SCRIPT
    I will book a regularly reoccurring gig 3-4 weekends of the month. I will then expand my knowledge/education by attending regularly scheduled classes or lessons so I can become more valuable and because I just want to. I will book a regularly occurring weeknight gig bringing in another $1000 per month that will work around my priorities (the weekend gig and study).

    RESULTS
    I’ve booked two regular weekend gigs and am in line for a third. I’ve registered for Spring 2011 classes and private study. I have an audition for a regular weeknight/weekend gig.

  139. I want to share 2 quick stories about invisible scripts that I flipped last year that really impacted my life:

    Script 1. I can’t afford this week-long class that I really want to take in LA.
    – positive implementation: I signed up for the course anyway, using a payment plan to pay for it afterwards since I knew I would never make it happen without a commitment. Next, I cut out my wasteful spending immensely — the the point where I had saved up enough money for the (expensive!) class in only 2-3 months. This was after making excuses to myself that I couldn’t afford it for years.

    Script 2. I really want to travel but I can’t afford it, don’t know where to go, don’t have any friends who want to travel, don’t have a passport, etc. etc.
    - positive implementation: After taking the above mentioned class, I accepted an invitation from 2 of the classmates to take a month long backpacking trip across Europe. At the time, I had never even been out of the US.
    I only had 2 weeks to plan the entire thing. I broke the seemingly impossible task down into small processes that were manageable. First, I filled out all of the documents to get my passport (expedited as well). Next, I searched kayak.com to find plane tickets for a total steal ($1000 less than I expected to pay). I made a list of stuff I needed and bought all of the necessary equipment, reached out to my network for tips on where to stay cheaply, what was worth seeing, etc. and formulated an itinerary.

    Two weeks later I was on the plane to Munich and had the trip of a lifetime — all something I thought was impossible before I started to hustle.

    This year I plan to take that mindset and accomplish some incredible things.

  140. Week 1
    Positive Script: I will earn at least $1200 per month with my new on-the-side interior painting business – this translates into only 3 jobs, so should be very do-able amongst all the other things I do.

    Automation:
    today: 1) write email script that introduces potential clients to my services and benefits. 2) send it to 3 people with whom I’ve done other kinds of business to get their feedback
    Wed (away)
    Thurs: 1) improve the script from the feedback and send it out to everyone I can think of! 2) get library books on painting techniques and business (I’ve already done some of this but would like to do more) 3) give my contact info to the realtor that I’m seeing that day

    Side note: I’m impressed with the number of posts that have goals like writing, speaking, blogging, and similar “soft” skills – impressed in a negative way, unfortunately. Since I’m “over the hill” I’ll offer some gratuitous advice – get and use some practical skills too! In recessionary times, people cut down on that kind of spending (yah, they might delay painting the house too, but I also grow food, and it’s hard to delay eating.)

  141. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ben Whitehair, venetia. venetia said: Great post! Thank u! RT@BenWhitehair check out @ramit's post- http://bit.ly/h6OVXX [...]

  142. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: “I want to go from Bedroom DJ to performing raging live sets!”

    Be prepared to play a live DJ set/mix that is at least 1 hour long by June 1, 2011.

    Automation:
    – Practice for at least 1 hour everyday before 11AM, which is when I check emails and do other mindless crap that I zone-out on prior to lunch. The earlier I wake-up, the more time I have to practice.
    - Be consistent w/ my practice log which tracks date, minutes practiced, genre played, # of tracks used, and what the practice focused on.
    - On Saturday, record a live mix that is at least 1 hour. Listen intently and notice any train wrecks, choppiness, clashes, or shittyness. Also pay attention to what tracks worked well together and when the mix effin bangs. – Save the mixes to listen to level of improvement over time.

    • Hey Ian, what area of the world are you located in? When my events get going, I’ll certainly need DJs with raging live sets. =)

  143. Hey Ramit,

    Here’s the problem – lose 20 lbs of fat and get in shape

    Previous negative script: “I need the perfect workout, diet, technique, etc…”

    New Positive Script: “Stick to the basics and automate EVERYTHING so that willpower is out of the equation”

    —————————————————————————————————–

    SOLUTIONS:

    - Use P90x workouts, which eliminates the need to plan workouts and go to the gym

    - Workout with my fit brother, who keeps me accountable and motivated

    - Use the Slow Carb Diet (a la Tim Ferriss) which keeps things simple and repeats 3-4 easy meals on rotations

    - Throw out everything in the house that doesn’t fit into the diet

    - Send a message to all of my email / Facebook contacts announcing that I’m doing P90x for 90 days, asking them to hold me accountable, and promising before and after pictures

    ——————————————————————————————————–

    Honestly, this was simply too easy. I did my first workout today with my brother and now that I’ve thrown the garbage out of my house and have publicly committed to reaching my goal, I really don’t have a choice but to be healthy for the next three months!

    At the very least, the knowledge that all of my friends and family are going to want to see before and after pictures will keep me motivated all the way through!

  144. WEEK 1 Results

    Script: I want earn $100,000 in my sales career this year.

    Implementation:
    1. On the weekend, I will (1) gather/develop my calling list for week (who, contact info, reason fro the call, script if needd, block time to make calls);
    (2) Determine what needs to be done for sales meeting already set for the week (develop goals and agenda for each meeting, develop script for meeting, time block for practicing sales presentations); (3) develop goals from these activities
    2. During the week, stick to my schedule and totally focus on the weekly goals. Prepare and deliver each meeting as it’s my own personal superbowl (my average sale is usually $1,500).
    3. On Fridays, review weekly goals and accomplishments, fill in tracking charts, set next week goals and schedules.
    4. Automate this process by e-mailing my weekly list to 4-5 people and give them authority to call me anytime during the week and ask how I’m doing on my goals. If I answer no, there will be some punishment.

  145. Script: “I want to be worth $100 million dollars. I want to do it by creating an animated show that puts good into the world.”

    Automation:
    1. I have an iCal alarm that goes off at the same time every day, 5 minutes after I get into Nickelodeon. It reminds me to set a small goal for what to get done on my pitch.
    2. I set the goal for the day. I set it to go off right when I get home from Nickelodeon.
    3. Every single work day, I make some small progress on the pitch. Even if it’s one small drawing, one email reaching to someone I haven’t reached out to before for coffee, or one extra paragraph in a script.
    4. Every Friday, I set iCal ToDos to get done on the pitch over the weekend.

    I use MobileMe to synchronize my iCal to every single device I own – work computer, iPhone, Macbook, and home Mac Pro. No matter where I am, an alarm will go off and I have to immediately work on the task.

    That’s fucking automation.

    There was a great post on Nerd Fitness today: “Do Whatever It Takes”.
    http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2011/01/11/do-whatever-it-takes/

  146. Old Script: I let little nasty things that people do or say really get me down and kills not only my work day but also I take it home with me and causes me sleepless nights.

    New Script: “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” and just keep focused on my own strengths.

    I find that I get physically, mentally, and emotionally drained the first few hours of my work day. Part of it has to do with lack of energy on my part and the toxic environment that exists around me. So I’ve started to have a very healthy breakfast in the morning and a 20 minute fast walk during lunchtime.

  147. Invisible Script: Have one industry lunch a week
    Actions: Set up one lunch appointment a week with industry friends and ask them for help in one area of my career.
    Write down industry contacts and start with the ones who are “least important” and contact four a week.

    Started this before reading this article so I started with some important people before getting more experience with meetings. Right now I have a tentatively scheduled meeting with an important alumni and a phone conversation with a friend who’s a big theatrical agent’s assistant.

  148. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    GOAL: To become one of the most intellectually prominent people in my field. (I am going on the job market in a year and I want to DOMINATE. This is the main piece I’m missing.)

    NEGATIVE SCRIPT: No one cares about what I think. What I have to say is boring and obvious. Everyone will think I’m stupid.

    NEW SCRIPT: I’m a life-changing, extraordinary teacher. My students clearly think I have something worthwhile to tell them. So do the dozens of people I mentor or advise every year. So do my immediate collaborators and peers. I just have to find a way to communicate this to a larger audience.

    IMPLEMENTATION:
    - I sent out an email to 200+ former students, people I’ve mentored, collaborators, etc. I asked them, “What is the most useful thing I taught you? What is one question you’d still like my help with?”
    - As answers come in, they’re automatically funneled to a spreadsheet so I can analyze the data about what my unique contribution is.
    - I’m matching the answers against the data I’ve collected about the jobs I’ll be applying to. When I find a match, I make a to-do list item (with a deadline and reminder emails attached!) to answer that question in a public forum.
    - I prefer speaking to writing, but unfortunately writing is more valuable in my situation. So I have dug out my digital recorder and set up an automated bank account to fund outsourcing the transcription. Then I can edit the transcript I get back.
    - I’ve started a joint spreadsheet with three other people in my field (but not too close to my own work!) to track places where we can write, publish, be interviewed, etc. We’ve also agreed to refer opportunities for publicity to one another as appropriate. We have each scheduled half an hour per week to add information.

    RESULTS:
    - Twenty-one emails back so far, with clear topics and questions emerging.
    - Identified nine venues for public discussion of my work.
    - Completed a telephone interview today with a magazine in my field.

    Thanks to everyone who posted above me – you were really inspiring!

  149. PS The old script was: You need connections or youth and beauty to get ahead and with out it it’s just luck.

    New Script: Network and ask for help.

  150. I already have a little job called street fashion photography (something like The Sartorialist). It’s definitely not a lot of money, but the 3-minute street portrait sessions with total strangers are something I want to invest my time in anyway

    NEGATIVE SCRIPTS: No one dresses nicely during the winter. I couldn’t make a photo while it’s so cold outside, I would have to get back to warm place in 10 minutes. I’m waking up too late to make those shots, because before I’m ready to leave my apartment, it’s already dark outside!

    POSITIVE SCRIPT: I can change my habits so they suit my life as well as my goals

    AUTOMATION: Set up a calendar event every monday and friday morning (the days I have totally free) to go out and take photographs – DONE. Set up alarm to wake me up every monday and friday at 12.30 – DONE. Now I won’t plan any other things on those days when I see I have work to do. I also won’t get up at 2PM to find out it’s already dark and I can’t do anything

  151. New Script:
    Increase my blog readership

    Automation:
    I probably have about 5-10 (very generous number) friends and acquaintances who read my blog. If I want to be a major player, I can’t just keep writing and hope new readers will just appear. I want to reach 200 (20-40x) readers by the end of January.
    Each day, starting tomorrow, I will find one blog in the same category as mine and ask them to let me write a guest post. By the end of the month, that will be ~20 emails sent out. Each guest post will be my best work yet, containing a concise, clear, and entertaining summery of my ideas.

  152. WEEK ONE RESULTS

    Positive script: I want to get into a small animal surgery residency (very competitive field) in 2013. I know this goal seems far away, but I am taking a 6 month mini-retirement starting April this year, followed by a working holiday for 18 months. When I finish I will be ready to settle down into my chosen vocation.

    Automation:

    Initially (today): Contact friends in residencies and specialists I know and ask for recommended residency programs in Australia and the UK.

    Daily – Assign 20 minutes daily for researching the above programs, using 2Do/Toodledo (To-do list software). Another 20 minutes for replying to any responses from the task below.

    Sundays (so it is in their email box on Monday morning) – Send one email to one of the above residency program managers, focusing on their special interests, and asking them what attributes makes a standout applicant.

  153. It is really best to practice interviews before going into that interview room. I remember I had around four failed interviews before my successful fifth job interview. On that four failed interviews, I noted down the questions and my answers and contemplate on them.

  154. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    SCRIPT: “I want to become an expert value investor”

    It has been my life long dream to manage money in the value investing tradition. I’ve read probably hundreds of books on Warren Buffet, Ben Graham and other similar money managers in the field. I have even passed the first two levels of the CFA program. However, I have no real experience making specific investment allocation decisions aside from selecting index funds. This is my implementation for how I will transform myself into an expert value investor in the next 6 months.

    1. Every night when I come home from work and Saturday in the morning I am going to research and come up with one potential value-oriented investment idea. I will spend 30 minutes doing this each day.
    2. I will post these ideas on a blog that I will set up this weekend.
    3. At the end of the week on Sunday, I will have at least 6 ideas. I will rank these ideas in order of expected profitability and will invest part of my portfolio in one. The portfolio will be divided 10 times in order to make room for 10 investment ideas.
    a. When it is full, I will compare the 10 current ideas with my potential 6 ideas every Sunday. If I find a new idea that is better than my previous ideas I will flip the idea.
    4. I will track my record publicly on a website such as http://www.updown.com and http://www.wallstreetsurvivor.com
    5. I am going to contact one person in the industry, every day on my lunch break. I will ask them for advice as to how they got where they are and if they have advice for someone looking to get there. I will do this by exercising my contacts in my school network, the CFA network, social networks, my personal network and scouring the internet for contact information at company websites. I will correspond with via email and phone, if possible I will take them out to lunch.
    a. My goal is to develop contacts and relationships with people who will help me now or in the future.
    6. After 6 months, I should have plenty of leads and a track record. At this point, I will consider myself substantially farther ahead than I am today and will be on my way to becoming a ‘value investing expert’.
    a. Depending on the advice received and how my portfolio does, I will consider launching a company that focuses exclusively on investing with my strategy.

  155. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    SCRIPT: “I want to become an expert value investor”

    It has been my life long dream to manage money in the value investing tradition. I’ve read probably hundreds of books on Warren Buffet, Ben Graham and other similar money managers in the field. I have even passed the first two levels of the CFA program. However, I have no real experience making specific investment allocation decisions aside from selecting index funds. This is my implementation for how I will transform myself into an expert value investor in the next 6 months.

    1. Every night when I come home from work and Saturday in the morning I am going to research and come up with one potential value-oriented investment idea. I will spend 30 minutes doing this each day.
    2. I will post these ideas on a blog that I will set up this weekend.
    3. At the end of the week on Sunday, I will have at least 6 ideas. I will rank these ideas in order of expected profitability and will invest part of my portfolio in one. The portfolio will be divided 10 times in order to make room for 10 investment ideas.
    a. When it is full, I will compare the 10 current ideas with my potential 6 ideas every Sunday. If I find a new idea that is better than my previous ideas I will flip the idea.
    4. I will track my record publicly on a website such as http://www.updown.com and http://www.wallstreetsurvivor.com
    5. I am going to contact one person in the industry, every day on my lunch break. I will ask them for advice as to how they got where they are and if they have advice for someone looking to get there. I will do this by exercising my contacts in my school network, the CFA network, social networks, my personal network and scouring the internet for contact information at company websites. I will correspond with via email and phone, if possible I will take them out to lunch.
    a. My goal is to develop contacts and relationships with people who will help me now or in the future.
    6. After 6 months, I should have plenty of leads and a track record. At this point, I will consider myself substantially farther ahead than I am today and will be on my way to becoming a ‘value investing expert’.
    a. Depending on the advice received and how my portfolio does, I will consider launching a company that focuses exclusively on investing with my strategy.

  156. My script was: I want to do three back to back 900s in the half-pipe for the Deaflympics.

    My implementation was “Today: (tuesday)I will do three 540s, and I will work on one 720 this week. To get closer to my goal of doing three back to back 900s”

    Week 1 results:
    I have fantastic news to share, today I met Shaun White on the slopes and I went after him and introduced myself. So he was pretty cool and I rode with him for two runs. I asked him for feedback and he did watch me! It was a huge motivational boost and yeah I went for it on my very first run and did three back to back 540′s. I did ask for his text number to get some advice or feedback, his cameraman took my email. So it was great to have that feeling. It was a lesson also because after I was on my own I had to do it again three 540′s and it was kind of hard to convince myself, yet I did it again. On the fourth and fifth run I didn’t stick the 540′s as well but I did get some video of myself so that’s some good feedback for me to look at. As for the 720 I didn’t do that yet. I want to work on that tomorrow!

    Now that I realize I can do it. I need to work on refining the 540′s and overall technique. It is the first time I have done three back to back 540′s. The video I got will be good visual feedback for me. I need speed, board flat on the pipe wall and the initiate the rotation at the right time.

    If you some readers think I am bull****ing that is what my friend said tho, I have a picture of us. I got it at the end of the day on the slopes with my friend Jenny who is on the Deaflympics team.

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10958707/DSCN0050.JPG

  157. “WEEK 1 RESULTS”

    Old script:
    Because I failed at my last attempt to start a online business and currently experiencing one of my worst financial moments I am most obviously going to fail again.

    New Script:
    I am a successful online entrepreneur. I have a great idea to solve problems for many people and I am implementing a great Idea over the next 7 weeks.
    Specifically my first goal is to make enough profit to cover my rent of $1311/month. After I do this I will try to take what has worked and multiply the results to produce $5000/month profit. This idea will be in the fashion of Tim Ferris “Muse” so it will require hard work to get started but low upkeep. I will start with the most important and the hardest part I have been having the biggest struggle …an Idea. I will not stay busy for the sake of getting busy. I will not get caught up with the endless aspects of a online business and all the great tools I can use. I will dedicate the next 6 days to one focus. Idea generation….Thats it..that has been the biggest hang up for me so nothing else gets touch until that gets resolved..

    Automation:
    step 1. Set up accountability measures: I get home from work and kid drop offs at about 330… ..
    Action: Set up gmail reminder on my phone and email reminding me that I have a certain amount of time before I need to go to bed so use it doing something that will help me reach my goals.
    Action: Set up phone Call and text reminder at the same time from close family and friends who are genuinely supportive of my endeavors.

    Step 2. I have plenty of untapped resources in my possession now to come up with an Idea, dont spend time looking for new stuff:

    Action: Pray and listen , yes I said pray and listen. I got a prophetic word last year that he had an Idea for me to create something online that will help people and be a source of provision for me. I have yet to really pursue this so I must do this.

    Action: Read the Information I have from ramit and tim ferris about Idea generation and time management……Anything That I read that requires action stop what I am doing and follow instrucitons before I move on to the next thing.

    Step 3. Have a working Idea by next monday

    Action: Do everything listed above and report my findings to my fiancée by then

    Man this exercise was awesome. Just taking the time to write this has lifted me to a whole new level.

  158. Here is one that literally happened in the last 5 hours.

    Negative script: I don’t have the connections/contacts/money/degree to get in touch with high-profile people.

    Positive script: I can get high-profile people to promote me and my work… even if they have never heard of me.

    [In this case I was thinking of Guy Kawasaki - founder of Alltop, author, 300K+ Twitter followers.]

    Implementation: Emailed the Holy Kaw editors from Alltop. Gave a nice little hello and directed them to an article on my site that I thought Alltop readers would like. (This article: http://passivepanda.com/become-better-negotiator)

    Results: http://twitter.com/#!/GuyKawasaki/status/24994107449417729

    Now I’m on Alltop and I’ve been promoted on Guy Kawasaki’s Twitter account. Bomb.

  159. I’ve always been one of the smartest people around, and for a long time I’ve let that be my excuse for not accomplishing anything. I generally just coasted by on brains with very little effort, and that has generally kept me going at a kind of “I guess this is OK” level.

    Bad, old script: Being smart means I don’t have to try to do good things.
    New, Good Script: Accomplishment matters. Being smart isn’t enough.

    How I’m automating this: I set up an alert on all my electronic organizers (one of which is always with me) to ask me at 3:45 PM “What have you accomplished today that you’re proud of?” And ask me to list any prideworthy accomplishments in the notes. If I can list something I’m proud of, great. If not, I have the rest of the day to get cracking, but if I don’t accomplish anything, I leave the “to do” item unchecked, and I’ll have a bunch of overdue items nagging me.

    I make myself have a unique accomplishment for each and every alert that comes up, so if I go 7 days without it, I have to accomplish seven extra things to clear out my list. These things don’t have to be major life goals, just something I can say I got done that day that took both brain power and a bit of determination or follow-through.

  160. Old script: I don’t have enough time consistently to work out because I’m too busy.

    New script: I have plenty of time before my day starts to workout and I can automate my workout Monday through Friday for 30 minutes a day. I also got my fiance to work out with me for accountability.

    Results: My first workout made me feel like the $6 million man! The feeling of setting up a system and seeing it manifest itself is so intoxicating. I definitely have to replicate this into other areas in my life.

  161. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    I want to write great content with value like this post and become an authority — which means I will have 1000 loyal readers and lets me focus on web apps and software that I love (37 signals model)— within 60 days. This week, I’m going to make a 7-week plan to write better content like this post. I’m guessing I need to research my field on Monday, figure out what’s working out there, narrow down, and then figure out who I can contact on Tuesday. I could probably do each of these things in 1 week, but I’m going to give myself a little more time in case I have to wait on other people. By Friday, I’ll add a list of to-dos to my calendar for the next 7 weeks.”

    Guess what on Tuesday I contacted a merchant on clickbank marketplace and 3 hours later he gave me the software to play with. he also gave me juicy data. I will use this data to write better content for sure.
    I did not know that one e-mail could have been so powerful … no idea why I wait so long….

  162. Positive script: I will lose 4 kilos and then maintain that weight within +/- 2 kilos
    Automation: Remove all soft drinks and cordials from my house; fill my water bottle while I wait for my computer to start up each morning and leave it within reach for sipping; say yes to the friend who has asked me to be her gym partner once a week, because it will also take care of the need to socialise; look up nutritional info for my favourite takeaway and decide on a new ‘regular’ choice based on least number of kJ; move scales to bathroom to weigh after showering.

    I’m a routine-based person anyway, I might as well take advantage of it.

  163. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    SCRIPT

    I want to be hired as the Chief of Staff position for our office by having the best prepared plan for the office and crushing the interview.

    IMPLIMENTATION

    Tuesday—Update my resume to refocus it on my previous management roles (2 hours).
    Wednesday—Draft example work plan for office assistants with measurable deliverables (2 hours); speak with hiring decision maker about position and what he is looking for (30 minutes)
    Thursday—Draft sample media plan for turning around our press shop and implementing an aggressive earned media campaign (3-5 hours)
    Friday—Draft incumbent protection plan to be implemented by our entire office staff (3 hours); Have allies begin making recommendation phone calls on my behalf (30 minutes)
    Saturday—Write out major existing issues with the current office and solutions I would implement (2 hours); Practice interview with colleague and practicing discussing issues and plans for the office (2 hours)
    Sunday—Distil draft plans in to comprehensive document of how I would run and manage the office (3 hours); Practice presenting the plan (1 hour)
    Monday—Hold mock interview and present plan to former boss for his opinion and recommendation (1.5 hours)
    Tuesday (or sometime later in the week)—Interview for the position

  164. Week 1 results:

    (Past behavior: Planning to start an exercise program once I catch up on work/housework/volunteer board work/emails/take my kids to their activities/errands. In other words: never.)

    Positive script: I DO have time to eat well and exercise because I am as important to myself as my kids and my work are to me. Because eating well and exercising are high priorities for me, I continue to improve these behaviors every day. Doing so makes me feel better about myself, increases my patience with my kids, and improves my effectiveness at work.

    Automation: I did the up-front work of giving away chocolate temptations and purchasing piles of fruit and vegetables, whole grain bread and crackers, and low/non-fat dairy products. With these foods I have modified my eating to increase fiber and protein and reduce (but not eliminate) carbohydrates. When I prepare my child’s lunch in the morning I set aside cut fruit for myself and plan other food for the day rather than grab what’s quick when I’m hungry; I now eat as healthily as I ensure my children eat.

    After taking one trial class I paid in advance for 25 yoga/pilates classes at a studio that is a 5 minute walk from home (paying in advance for me ensures I will take the classes). I blocked time in my schedule to take two classes a week; some weeks I will be able to take 3, other weeks I will be traveling for work and will not go to the studio. I am experimenting with the mantra “make it count” — the half block to the mailbox? Walk fast there and back rather than stroll or drive by in the car (even better: walk the long way around the block to the mailbox): make it count. The walk from the car to the preschool building to pick up my child? Speed up, make it count.

    I have enlisted my husband to support my improved behaviors and gave him guidance about how he can encourage me; I also asked how I can best encourage him in his fitness goals and will do so. In this way I have reduced the risk of unintentional sabotage.

    Beyond automation, I do well with a reward system. I have listed my current weight on a small sticky note and on subsequent stickies listed a pound-by-pound ‘count down’ to my healthy and realistic weight (which was my weight less than 6 months ago). Tearing off and tossing a sticky note is motivating. Even better: every few stickies includes a note about my reward for getting there – a manicure, a massage, etc. By designing my reward system now I can ensure the rewards are meaningful and outcome oriented.

    I have done more to advance my health and fitness goals in the past few days than I have in the past few years.

  165. My problem: while I’m doing great work for my clients I have trouble sharing those successes to justify raising my rates or getting new clients. I have a barrier around promoting myself (seems slimy, feels like bragging, should enjoy what I have already) that I need to overcome.

    Positive Script:
    As I grow in my freelance career how can I track my successes and turn happy clients and customers into amazing referrals?

    Automate it:
    Step 1 – create a new project in my Basecamp page that tracks compliments. When I come across compliments in emails, email them to this project.

    Step 2 – write a short but powerful email response draft and include it in my gmail “Canned Responses” [gmail labs] and send to each client or customer that delivers a compliment who I want to follow up with.

    Results:

    I’ve already followed up with one customer who is raving about our program and now these emails get filtered into a follow up folder.

    While I can’t completely automate the responses because I will need to edit the name/request, I set up an email reminder to follow up weekly.

    Already one person has told me they do not like writing referrals and offered to record a short video. Next step is to automate getting these into a folder or on a page I can share with potential clients.

    Why it works:

    Automating means it’s just another part of my business and what I need to do to ensure my clients know the good work I’m doing and I’m growing my business. It’s no longer about me promoting me for the sake of ego, it’s a part of business and marketing. Also trusting that I bring value, others recognize that and I can contribute in big ways.

  166. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    My positive Script

    I will crush my apathy and get 30 new clients by 30 June 2011

    Automation

    Diarise and action time to do the following simple steps

    1. Build the database of prospective firms
    2. Write happy content on our website twice per week – it can be my own thoughts or content curation
    3. Contact at 10 firms per week
    4. Allocate follow up time in diary each week
    5. Ensure my closing skills are as sharp as possible by a) practicing my technique in a similar vein to interview practice as suggested by Ramit and b) evaluating my results with an unbiased and hard arse friend
    6. Ensuring Point 5 is locked in my diary
    7. Booking my celebration treat in May for when I achieve the goal
    8. Posting regular updates on the comment section when asked by Ramit
    9. Diarising to contact Ramit when goal achieved and expressing my gratitude

  167. Samit, ever since picking up a copy of IWTYTBR and reading your blog, your style has resonated with me (originally hailing from your neck of the woods could have something to do with it!) and I’ve found a ton of motivation here. For years I’ve struggled with determined with getting some sort of side ventures up and running in order to build a greater sense of independence, flexibility and mobility of work, ability to travel more and gain an increased peace of mind from being proud of a growing sense of accomplishment, but over that time have allowed myself to become too distracted and discouraged and wallowed in excuses.

    My old script: I know I’m intelligent and talented, but I have a lot of difficulty deciding what it is I want to do as an independent business. I don’t give myself enough credit that I have it within me to become a success. I constantly compare myself with others for what they achieve and feel that I remain left behind

    My new script: There is a lot I can do, anything is possible. I am creative enough to take any idea, come up with any number of profitable angles.

    This week:
    1. Take inventory of my top 5-10 skills and interests.
    2. Determine the additional dollar amount I’d like to make per month over the course of this year.
    3. Define 3 income-producing vehicle I can start on the side. Base them on 1)My skills I’ve developed at work 2)Personal skills and interests.
    4. Research and develop a plan for monetizing at least one of those vehicles.

  168. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    I got my dream job at a company to which I’ve previously applied and got rejected by going a different route and networking on LinkedIn. The only problem is it’s a temp job. The full-time position has received many applications and interviews are in progress. I am one of the interviewees (for the job I’m currently doing).

    Invisible Script: I will use my advantage as a temp, that being intimate knowledge of the company, my new network of coworkers and supervisors, and my understanding of what they’re looking for, to stand out in the interview and get hired as an employee, though on paper I am less qualified.

    Automation:
    1. Listen. Employees talk and much of what they say reveals a lot about the company culture, the politics, the rules of thumb, and the loopholes. I am learning how to be an integral part of this culture, which is a soft skill that’s important yet understated. At the interview, I will emphasize that having worked here, I can see this as a long-term relationship, speaking from experience rather than hypothetically.

    2. Take notes. Everything I do, from my own projects to helping out with others, I will keep track of in order to then create a value sheet with specific examples of how I benefited the company as a temp. I will present this value sheet at the interview.

    3. Know the job. I will break down the job description and apply #2 to this tactic. When applicable, mention projects and goals achieved/exceeded as it relates to bullet points of job qualifications/expectations.

    4. Do not despair. If they pick someone else, take it as an opportunity to give another direction a try: be irreplaceable to improve my chances of them creating a position for me.

  169. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Invisible Script of Success: I will create an in house marketing position that I know the company wants and will leverage that to increase my salary at least $500/month at my next review.

    Automation: Set up at least 2 hours a day to read about marketing and research the company that currently handles our company’s marketing (remind myself to do it through daily emails). I will contact 3 people who work in marketing per week (immediately after my morning run whether by email, phone or taking them out for coffee) for their best marketing ideas and information on the most important things to focus on learning and doing. After a month of this daily routine, I will write and propose a marketing position highlighting the specific steps I will take and the benefits to them in allowing me to do so. Once I accomplish this, I will document all my progress in my marketing efforts, calculate the financial impact of what I’ve done and present this information when it’s time for a raise to be discussed (April). In March I will spend 15 minutes a day talking to coworkers about the best way to get a raise at the company and spend an hour a day (also with daily email reminders) reading and practicing my reasoning behind why they should increase my salary.

  170. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    MY SCRIPT FOR SUCCESS:
    I’m at the top tier of my current career track, skill set and salary-wise. I’m going to refocus my career and get a higher-paying job in a more specialized aspect of what I am already doing that allows more room for career growth.

    IMPLEMENTATION:
    1) Identify two to three senior-level job postings–it’s the title I want in three years, and it’s rare to find opportunities for mid-level positions with that title–that haven’t been filled/have been on the market for 60+ days. (Indeed.com makes this easy to implement; you can create an RSS feed from a job title query.) The longer the job has been on the market, the more difficult it’s been to fill; the more difficult it’s been to fill, the more likely they are to be open to someone who has done similar work but is willing to take a junior-level salary for the opportunity to grow.

    2) Check LinkedIn to see if I know anyone currently working at those companies, or who have connections. If I have no connections there, find the profiles for the company’s internal recruiters or HR staff.

    2A) If I have a first degree LinkedIn connection, write them directly to say I’m considering applying for a position there and ask if they would recommend the company as a place to work. If they love it there, they’ll usually volunteer to refer me directly to the company’s recruiter; if they’re not thrilled with it as a workplace, they’re usually honest and encourage me to look elsewhere.

    2B) If I don’t have a first degree LinkedIn connection, write the recruiter directly. Draft a short, polite note introducing myself, identify the position I’m interested in, and ask one well-considered question about the posting or the application process. State that I want to submit my application in a way that makes their job easier. Using LinkedIn makes it easy for them to quickly skim my skills, work history, and recommendations without my having to be as tacky as shoving another resume in their inbox. This starts a dialog in a way that doesn’t overtax them, and they’ll know to keep an eye out for my application.

    3) Create a special portfolio page on my Web site for each of those companies that acts as an extended cover letter. Use the company name in the subfolder the page is published to so its easy to recognize from the URL this is something special for them. Outline what their likely objections would be to hiring someone less than a senior level work experience, and how my skills and experience address those concerns. I have a basic page template that I can re-use, and I need to simply plug in and order the project descriptions and samples that are the most relevant to the position I’m applying for.

    4) If I’m not being referred by a friend at the company, submit my application in the manner the recruiter outlined; follow-up with a short message to the recruiter (preferably in the same message thread so they’ll have context) to let them know I’ve submitted my application and give them the URL for the special portfolio page.

    5) Start drafting initial questions about the position and the company for an initial phone screen with the recruiter.

    RESULTS IN THE LAST 48 HOURS:
    One initial phone screen with an in-house recruiter today and a first round phone interview with the hiring manager is scheduled tomorrow.

  171. Invisible Script:
    I will juice downtime for maximum return on time investment.

    Execution:

    TUNES

    I’ve uploaded strictly business audio e-books and podcasts to my iPhone so I can listen on the bus, when waiting for coffee or at the gym. No music = no distractions! This way I can get through an extra book or a few lectures a week.

    LUNCH

    Use my lunch breaks to create an extra 5 hours of progress per week.

    Monday – Update personal action plan for the week, track progress and reflect on achievements
    Tuesday – Finalize the transcription of my personal coaching session (soon to be outsourced), will be replaced by chasing career and business opportunities via phone and email
    Wednesday – Get social! have a meal with a motivated person that inspires me
    Thursday – Polish my latest blog post for new blog
    Friday – Workout and sauna at the gym

    Automation:

    Make a healthy, packed lunch every day so you can eat and produce on the fly.
    Set recurring calendar invites that remind you of the upcoming event the day prior.
    Positively frame the action you are taking. Although a few extra drinks at lunch can be fun; where’s the Return on Investment?

    Outcomes:

    The results from investing your time wisely will intrinsically motivate you.

    Try this for three weeks, I guarantee you will experience a:
    - Sense of achievement, even if you’re having a hard time at work
    - Work day that flies by as you look forward to your lunchtime activity
    - More respectable bank balance, as you’re eating out one day instead of five
    - Higher level of motivation as you surround yourself with the right people and keep yourself accountable to targets and goals

    Can I have my iPad now?

  172. Script: I want to learn Spanish.
    (negative version of this script: If I could find the time, I would learn Spanish, but it’s just too hard with social friends and hobbies and a full time job.)

    Learning Spanish would not only make me more marketable in about any job I pursue (even in my job in software – we make localized versions and support Spanish-speaking customers), but also open up opportunities for travel to Latin America and let me access a whole other part of my home city of Los Angeles.

    Automation:
    Step 1: schedule weekly lessons on edufire.com (online learning site for tutor/student matching) that will work with my schedule and don’t involve me having to travel to a school.

    Step 2: subscribe to podcasts in Spanish that I can listen to during my 30min commute to work so that I can practice what I’ve learned.

    Step 3: buy blank labels/stickers so that I can label everything in my apartment with their Spanish names (if I see something every single day, I bet I’ll remember it).

    Results:
    I already started step #1 a couple weeks ago, but when I saw this post about automating your goals, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to go even farther by implementing steps #2 and #3. With just step #1, I’ve already learned more Spanish in a couple weeks than I have in… well, ever. I’m learning how to conjugate verbs so all those random vocab words I’ve picked up over the words can actually be put to use in real sentences.

    Step 2 – Listening to the podcasts has been interesting/informative, but I think I’m going to try switching from language-learning podcasts to just Spanish news or another Spanish-only podcast. I think it’s better to have a compliment to my learning rather than trying to follow multiple tracks of ‘learn Spanish’ at once.

    Step 3 – I’m sure after I look in the espejo a couple more times while brushing los dientes all those stickers with start to work their magic…

    Quiero hablar en español !

  173. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    SCRIPT: I want to improve my vision (eyesight) and my artistic skills.

    BAD IMPLEMENTATION: The doctor says that my eye condition would not get any better. So why try to improve myself…..I’ll never see the same again!

    GOOD IMPLEMENTATION: God help those who help themselves. I am far to talented to let my skills go down the drain…I was not born with this condition. I developed it because I did not take care of my eyes and my health. It is now time to take a step towards improving my health.

    Action:
    1-I will continue to do the eight weeks session “PROGRAM FOR BETTER VISION (PFBV)” to improve the accuracy of my vision. I will do these exercises first thing every morning before engaging in any other activity

    2-Develop a five days week workout exercise routine, which includes yoga and meditation (Yes, yoga…. Real men do yoga! :) ) to eliminate stress. I will do these exercises every evening and write down my results after every workout.

    RESULT: I am in my fifth week of PFBV and I am feeling much better about my vision and more aware about how I use my eyes. My exercise routine was going well until Monday, I think I damaged my shoulder so I’ll ease up a little on the pull-ups.

    Step 2: Seek further education that will improve my artistic skills.

    Action :
    1- Research colleges that offer courses in the field of Illustration and Graphic Design.

    2- Every Tuesday and Thursday I will put aside two hours in the evening to write 5 college applicant essays.

    3- Monday – Friday every week, I will dedicate 4 hours to building a strong portfolio that will give me a FULL scholarship!

    RESULT: I visited the Savannah College of Art and Design where i received FREE registration because I took the opportunity to tour the campus and ask about the courses they offered. I have completed two essays and I’m currently working on the third. Also my portfolio is coming along quite nicely, it should be finish by the 1st of March.

  174. I want to build an eCommerce Store targeting Active Dads offering Jogging Strollers

    For someone who is new to this, this ambition will require 30 days. It would take designing the store, adding content on products, policies, etc., and crafting the process for the user.

    - Get a calendar to set about 2 hours solely to work on the eCommerce store for the next 30 days
    - Have the first 10 days be dedicated on designing the store, with each day tackling one design challenge assignment (ie. Day one: create a store logo).
    - The next 10 days be focused on adding content and information about the store, its offerings, company’s mission, etc. Like the first 10 days of solving only one design challenge each day, I would tackle only one content challenge (ie. Day twelve: write up convincing product descriptions on products on X category).
    - The last 9 will be constructing user interface of the overall store, from its home page all the way to the such as structuring the checkout process, refine the store navigation, making the store-layout user friendly. As typical from the last 20 days, I would take on one user interface challenge per day (ie. Linking my checkout process to seamlessly work with Paypal)
    - On my 30th day, I launch the store!

    • Love this idea!
      Do you have a background with software and/or web design?
      Pls follow-up with the results, would love to see the progress.

      Active Dad here of 2…love 5k’s and have finished a few sprint and olympic tri’s.

  175. I set two goals/negative scripts to erase:

    1) Follow Tim Ferriss’s “Slow-carb diet” and get out of the mindset that it is impossible to follow a strict diet in a college atmosphere

    - I began by eliminating all snacks in my dorm room that were not consistent with the diet
    - Purchased one month’s supply of the necessary supplements and protein-rich foods
    - Created an excel sheet tracking the metrics I’m interested in and set up automatic reminder emails if I fail to enter data on any given day
    - Negotiated a complimentary personal training session at my gym, scheduled for next Monday morning

    Results:
    It is day 4 of tracking. I have lost 2 pounds and so far don’t really have any cravings for all of the foods I thought I would miss the most. I still welcome the reminders for when I’m on the run and forget to track, but I can feel it becoming a habit.

    2) Start a music/lifestyle blog focused on lyrical insight and the transitioning early 20-something years
    - Contact 3 CS majors who can assist me with using our university AFS
    - Create and configure a WordPress account
    - Create a placeholder Twitter account
    - Make a list of 8-10 potential blog topics/songs to perform a “close reading” on
    - Write the first blog post
    - Spend 1 hour per day researching advanced HTML and experimenting with graphic design styles

    Results:
    - Contacted 3 CS majors, heard back from 2 and set up an appointment to go over some basics with 1
    - Placeholder Twitter and WordPress accounts are created, but I am in the process of selecting the look/feel I would like to achieve. Although preset layouts are simpler (and I have selected one), customizing one with my own HTML code will be more rewarding and more fine-tuned to my vision
    - Tomorrow I am making the list of blog posts
    - Dedicating the weekend to writing one great post

  176. Negative script: I’m lazy, a procrastinator and can’t change who I am because change is very difficult if not impossible according to everyone else. As a result, I have work in my industry of choice but I have no side projects of my own despite wanting to for years on top of being an avid consumer rather than producer of many books and blogs on self improvement.

    Positive script: I want to develop focus and discipline so that I will be able to work on a deep practice level without being distracted for up to 3 hours on per day on weekdays, and up to 5 hours per day on weekends on a consistent basis. This will also lead to many other things getting done down the road.

    Automation: Every night after work, draw from posemaniacs at 45 seconds a pose for a total of 7 pages (25 minutes) in my sketchbook without stopping from this Monday to this Sunday (01-16-11). I’ll increase this page count to 10 (30 minutes) next week as warm up at 30 seconds a pose before cleaning up my webcomic script for 1/2 hour after for Monday through Wednesday, then penciling a page Thursday/Friday, inking it up Saturday/Sunday (01-23-11), coloring and lettering Monday/Tuesday at 45 mins per day (15 min increase) and repeat the process for thirty total pages, extending the time worked by fifteen minutes each subsequent week until I’m working for three hours without distraction. This entire process should take 9 weeks, so I should be hitting my goal by March 21st, 2011.

    So far, I’ve been able to make the time to sketch for the last two days so I’m going to continue doing so for the rest of this week with alerts on my phone calendar to remind myself.

  177. Old script: I’m don’t have a good enough comment/vignette to win an iPad.
    New script: this is the year of the hustle. Starting in September of last year, I started to go for things, believing things are no longer out of my reach. In particular things attached to travel.
    My implementation has allowed me to win a scholarship to study my job on the otherside of the world all expenses paid. I also went for a job that I was underqualified for which would allow me to travel around the world. Without hesitation applied. So far I have been rocking interviews with preparation and am currently waiting to hear back from this company after my 4th level interview.
    Ramit

    • I’m kicking ass and taking names this year. I want an ipad for my travels so I am simply going to ask for it. So I am requesting that I be selected. And since my background is in psychology that is what I would like to discuss with you during our phone call.

  178. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    SCRIPT: I want to increase the sales of my educational iPad app. The key to achieving that is marketing, which I currently suck at.

    IMPLEMENTATION:
    - Every Monday, I will spend 15 minutes (marked in my calendar) to identify 3 top-100 apps that I want to study this week
    - On Tue, Wed and Thu, I will spend 15-30 minutes (marked in my calendar) to study one of the selected apps: look at their iTunes description, look at their webpage, look at their pricing history, look at their ranking history, try to determine what event/action/blog/review is behind the key surges in their ranking
    - On Friday, I will spend 15-30 minutes (marked in my calendar) to look at the data I gathered that week, and extract 1 idea that will drive sales of my app (e.g. improvement to iTunes description, promo campaign, etc)
    - On Saturday, I will spend 1-2 hours (marked in my calendar) to implement that idea.
    I will repeat the above steps every week.

  179. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script (negative version): The fact that I am not a Spanish-native speaker makes it impossible to grow my business, because in Social Media Marketing language is the key.

    Script (positive version): My strong point is content, not grammar. Also, I have very good analytical skills and the patience to digg into potential clients´s data to find out what works and what doesnt. Not only related to social media. Once people get to know me they usually recognize this.

    KEY FINDING: I have to find a way to present myself to potential customers before they know they are a potential customer. I used to make random interviews for my blog, and one of the clients I have was so impressed about my follow up that he hired me right away –> todo: leverage this!

    Automation:
    Step 1: Scheduling 1 hour to identify potential customer companies via linked in and blogs in Barcelona area –> every Tuesday from 9-10h.

    Step 2: Send an email to 3 target companies, showcasing my blog (not my company website) and asking for an interview which will be published as a podcast on this blog. Show podcasts I did randomly in the past.
    –> every tuesday at 10h
    BONUS: I already wrote the introduction email, so I only need to tweak it a little for each person, instead of starting from scratch.

    Step 2b: Follow up in case there has been no answer, highlighting the win/win for both parties (me: interesting blog content, they: interested audience).

    Step 3: Schedule interview (preferable in person, otherwise per skype)

    Step 4: When preparing the interview, include a 1-2h holistic analysis of interview partner’s presence online and find potential areas for improvement.
    –> to be done the day before the interview.

    Step 5: After interview, announce publishing date of interview and give feedback on how person can use this interview for their own marketing efforts based on what they already have in place. Offer follow up chat with them 10 days after interview went on air.

    Step 6: Ask for permission to include person into “interested people” email list to share from time to time industry news with them (present my own business)

    Step 7: Analyse company’s handling of the interview (if they used it) and get back in touch after 2 weeks of interview to thank again for opportunity and offer services for future. Indepenent of whether they are interested: ask if they can give me 1 or 2 names in the industry who could benefit from my skills.

    RESULTS: I send out the first three emails on Tuesday and have already one interview scheduled for this Friday!!!

  180. Negative Script: I should not contribute to meetings because I do not have full information to add my opinion. If I say something off base my boss and others in the room will discount my thoughts from here on out.

    Positive Script: I have unique strengths and thoughts that I bring to the environment and need to bring this to the table. In, fact, the successful people are those that constantly bring forth ideas even if those thought evolve. I will put in the needed preparation to have my thoughts laid out before meetings

    Actions: As I said above, every morning, block out the first 30-60 minutes of my day to review what meetings I have. For each one, determine the purpose and how my role is looked upon to add value and opinion. Write down what outcomes I want from this meeting.

    Then, set my iphone alarm to vibrate, put it in my pocket, and have it timed to go off halfway through meeting. If I have not gotten my points on the table at this point, start actively looking for places to get them in the conversation.

  181. Ramit-

    First of all, I want to comment on the law school thing. I am an attorney and have a lot of law school debt. While I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, I didn’t realize the amount of debt I would end up owing. I wish I had read your stuff sooner so that I could have at least gotten a scholarship to law school. But after law school, when I could not find a job in Chicago or my hometown of Omaha, I headed to Wyoming to work for two judges knowing that would give me an advantage. After working out there for a year and half, working hard on my resume, and enhancing my skills, I went back to Omaha with several job offers.

    Now, I want to work on getting organized to make extra time for building up clients. I plan on using your hustling techniques to do it. One of the things I have done, is that I have had trouble keeping track of where I am with my own files and stuff I’m working on for the partners. This week, I decided to create a master to-do list of all my files. On Monday mornings, I will sit down and take approximately 30 minutes to update my files for the week and plan my to-do list. This will assist in organization to know what I need to accomplish that week. Eliminating wasted time of figuring out what I need to work on next.

  182. WEEK 1 RESULTS:

    (Below are 2 scripts: an old script + results and a new script + results):

    BG: To learn Chinese and learn more about manufacturing, I moved to China to do design and manufacturing consulting. I figured that the environment would be conducive to learning Chinese and doing business in China.

    Negative script: Speaking broken Chinese will make you look stupid, especially when you say something wrong or stumble. In business, it’s unprofessional and stymies communication if you don’t have perfect Chinese, so if their English is good enough, speak English.

    Positive script: Take advantage of being immersed in China. People can’t help you correct your broken Chinese if you don’t use it and make mistakes. The more mistakes you make the faster you will learn. Managers will appreciate and give you more respect for speaking Chinese.

    Results after 1 year: I’ve been in China for 2 years now and implemented this script about a year ago. I’m now running meetings in Chinese. However, my Chinese is far from perfect.

    New Script for this week:
    Invisible Script: “I want to be able to speak Chinese”

    Negative Implementation: While I’m in China, my Chinese will just naturally get better. As long as I can get the point across, my Chinese is good enough.

    Positive Implementation: To have fluent Chinese, just getting the point across is not enough. In addition to vocabulary, sentence structure and cultural references are important.

    Action: Identify most commonly used sentence structures or slang or proverbs. Every week, commit to learning 1 sentence structure very well. Each day that week, make sure that you write out 2 sentences using that sentence structure, and make sure that you use that sentence structure at least once that day. At the end of the year, you will have ingrained 50 commonly used sentence structures in your brain.

    Results: I have started a list of 30 commonly used sentence conjunctions and sentence structures, with plans to add to it with recommendations from friends. Right now, 1 sentence structure/week seems a bit slow, but it is bite-sized enough that it should be easy enough to do that it won’t interrupt other things I have scheduled (new Chinese vocabulary, working out, meeting up with people). Slow and steady!

  183. I will complete at least two billable hours on my freelance web design side business 5 days a week.

    I have set up an event on my gmail calendar at 10 am every weekday morning to remind me to get to work. I also set up for my gmail calendar to send me a text message at 9:50 to my cell phone that says “Get off Facebook!” If I don’t already have 2 billable hours under my belt at the time I get the automatic text message, I will stop whatever useless activity I am doing and finish my daily two hours of billable work. I will then be free to waste whatever time I want for the rest of the day, guilt free.

  184. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    (forgot to put header there, hence the duplicate post)

    I will complete at least two billable hours on my freelance web design side business 5 days a week.

    I have set up an event on my gmail calendar at 10 am every weekday morning to remind me to get to work. I also set up for my gmail calendar to send me a text message at 9:50 to my cell phone that says “Get off Facebook!” If I don’t already have 2 billable hours under my belt at the time I get the automatic text message, I will stop whatever useless activity I am doing and finish my daily two hours of billable work. I will then be free to waste whatever time I want for the rest of the day, guilt free.

  185. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Ramit,

    Although this is not directly related to a positive script for earning extra income, I would like to share how I recently applied psychology to dominate a script that I had been struggling with for years: to wake up early.
    I had been trying desperately to form a routine and wake up in a timely manner in order to get to work on time every morning. Generally, I’m supposed to be in at 8 every morning. However, this is not a strict rule, as I can realistically arrive anywhere from 7:30 – 9:30 AM.

    I have about a 30 minute commute into work each day. The typical morning would consist of hitting the snooze button a few dozen times and being trapped in an un-restful daze from 6:00AM until about 7:45AM. I’d stumble out of bed, shower, get dressed, and rush out the door. Typically I would arrive at 8:45 in the morning which was less than optimal to say the least.

    Last summer I decided to switch from driving into work each day, to taking the public transportation system (bus). This was part of my effort to reduce monthly expenses (fuel, parking, etc.). The only bus that would come through my neighborhood was at 7:00 in the morning. I suddenly had to be out the door over an hour and a half earlier than I was previously waking up.

    Miraculously, I had no trouble getting up in the 6:15ish range every morning, showering, eating breakfast, and heading out for work. I was completely dumbfounded. Why had I all of a sudden physically been able to wake up this much earlier and be just as functional? Nothing else had changed – my diet, my bedtime, my alarm clock – nothing. It was as if a switch had gone off and suddenly I could wake up effortlessly.

    It had been around the same time you had started sending out content in your email list about using psychological “defaults” to “automate” your behavior. It had dawned on me – the 7:00AM bus was my only option to make it to work on time – it was my default. If I missed that bus, I would have to go through the completely uncomfortable process of (1) going to the bank to withdraw cash for parking, (2) park at a completely off the map parking lot that cost me $6 out of pocket per day, (3) walk an additional mile in the city each morning. Suddenly, it became easier to wake up earlier than it was to stay in bed. I had turned the tables on my innate inability to change my behavior.

    I was now arriving at work at around 7:30AM and it felt great. I was productive and super-energized. This continued for about 4 months until I switched back to driving. Suddenly, after having habitually arisen at 6AM for the entire summer, I was now back in my old ways of snoozing until 7:30 and dragging my late butt into work.

    However, armed with my newly minted understanding of human psychology, I rapidly devised and tested strategies to create a new default whereby I could drive in to work but must awake at 6AM. So here’s what I did – I used an old blackberry I had before I upgraded, brought it into work, and left it in my desk at work. I set it to an alarm at 8:10 every morning – loudest setting. This alarm was a pre-recorded sound byte of my own voice yelling obscene things that would certainly be deemed inappropriate for the workplace. I created a default environment in which I HAVE to arrive at work on time.
    Therefore, to avoid embarassment, and all sorts of office gossip that I’d like to avoid, I am now able to get up in time to cancel the alarm before it goes off. Ninja tactic for sure!

    P.S. – In case you were wondering – my backup plan was to let a few friends at work in on the secret – and call them in case an emergency prevented me from gettting in on time.

    • This is one of my biggest problems because I work late and get to bed by midnight some times. So I convince myself I need 7 hours and don’t get up early, often getting to my first appointment by cutting a few corners in the morning routine…any ideas?

  186. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    I have two ideas for applications on Facebook (with a way to make actual money on them) but have no idea how to create Facebook applications (or really program at all).

    So, this week I went to my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and saw that I have tons of people in my network that know about programming. I first sent a general blast to my contacts to see if any of them know of people that I don’t with experience. I took the list of names that I received and set aside 15 minutes to describe the general job with an outline of what the requirements are.

    I now have 30 minutes set aside every morning to work further on the idea. Even if nobody on the current list of programmers pan out, I know that I can eventually find someone that knows what they’re doing and will be able to build the applications based on the work I’ve already done.

    I know I need to have the design spec created, but starting with a list of programmers (people who actually know what the hell they’re doing) was all the motivation I needed to actually start doing the rest of the work required for the project.

  187. Old negative script: I’ll never be as smart about production and textiles as [fill in someone from the industry.

    New script: I can become the leading resource for domestic production and textiles.

    Implementation: Find out what the coursework looks like from the top universities, and scrape the top resources into a list. Read a minimum of 50 pages a day on textiles and apparel production (this is a low barrier, I usually read a combined 100 to 200 pages a day of fiction and non-fiction in my limited free time). Talk to one new person in the industry per week.

    Automation:
    Reading: Already downloaded/purchased/acquired first 2 months of reading. Have laid out schedule for completing reading, same way I finished the personal MBA.

    Networking:
    Ask each person I meet in industry to introduce me to two more people who might be able to help me learn more and get better at this.

    Results so far: Everyone has been friendly, if slightly hard to reach, and has extended introductions to more industry people. Completed 100 pages of reading, and identified several more volumes to cover.

  188. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    My implementation results have helped me increase my chances of getting into Vet school next year. Instead of just “studying hard”, I now have a couple of aptitude tests to practice for the Stat F test, emailed three vets in different areas (farm, zoo, surgery) to see if I can do work experience with them and bought a course on how to study smarter & faster.

  189. Ramit,

    This is fabulous and was priceless. You will see that I used long time triggers with your brilliant automation idea to really create a fabulous platform for content creation. I doubt this will work for anyone else, though. I walk you through it (because I memorize and ingrain as I type or talk out things…)

    Positive Content Script:

    “I have over 20 years of successful youth coaching and soccer experience that people have asked me to share with other coaches and I will create products to share the wealth of knowledge”

    I have coached for nearly 22 years and played 30 years of soccer. I have had requests for the last 5 years to create and share products with coaches and athletes because: my coaching techniques and styles get tremendous results with athletes and my coaching methods are very christian and athlete centered, which in today’s climate parents love! I finally decided to pull the trigger and create the products and while I have a great positive script, automating it is needed to keep me on task and to capture during my most productive hours.

    My Weekly Content Goals:

    4 minutes of training videos per week
    4 minutes TV webisodes per week (this is my primary traffic method)
    4 sentences in my book per week (no kidding, once you start it is hard to stop…I learned this from Ramit!)
    4 slides of power point per week for my training seminars (to be camtasia captured later)
    Each of these take very little time and do not seem insurmountable…so I don’t get paralyzed at the start of the week with a MASSIVE amount of work in front of me. Once I start focusing on JUST 4 minutes or power point slides, it seems easy to accomplish and I end up doing a heck of a lot more “in the zone”.

    Quick background, this works for me because psychologically I am already prepped for this and will play on my habits:

    1. I am like Monk (somewhat OCD, very habitual, and need that discipline of a rigid schedule)
    2. I already have ingrained productivity hours during the day when I am most productive and they date all the way back to college (a loooong time ago). I discovered during college my most productive hours and have always used those as my most effective work hours…strangely, because of college, they are spread around during the day and not all at once!
    3. I have “triggers” that I have had since my exam study days of college that help “start” my high productivity hours (a certain song that I always listened to during studying and have used for decades to trigger my “work” times. That song kick starts the content creation process) I wrote a 100+ thesis in grad school using these hours and triggers!
    4. I already set a schedule for my daily work life to limit “roadblocks and distractions” (Tim Ferriss taught me to schedule my email, phone, etc…I actually schedule what I call “EPL” Email, phone, lunch at the same time every day so I am not checking email, using the phone, or snacking at any other time during the day…limits distractions.)
    5. I have always taught my players the “5 and 2 method” (5 minutes at the start or end of every half are the most dangerous because teams are not ready or let down, and 2 minutes after a goal is scored for the same reasons. Go all out during those periods). I yell this at every game and it has become a “trigger” for me. 5 and 2. Remember that when you see my automation script.

    Since all this is already there all I need to do to automate my script is very easy:

    - I set up a new Google Calendar called “Coach Reed Content” and made it private
    - I entered “events” at the start of each productivity period in the day that I have (there are 5 in all!)
    - For the titles, I named each on with a one word nickname that reminds me, on sight, what the content is (think Google “Froyo”)
    - I set an email reminder at 5 minutes before the time and an sms at 2 minutes before “show time”. (my trigger)
    - The email goes to my computer and my android to ensure it is seen. This allows me to “prep”
    - The sms reminder is tagged on android with its own “song” and “vibration pattern” (so if I have it on silent I still know what the reminder is without having to look). For the song that plays when the reminder comes through…it is the same song I have listened to since my college study days (duh!)

    and that is my automation. I “trigger” content every day at the same time with ‘SMART’ goals for each week regarding content. I should be able to get the over 20 years of coaching and over 30 years of playing out of my head and into usable products for the next generation of coaches and players in no time and have a vast library of content for my company.

    (oh, and I have some scripts for listbuilding, traffic, website work, marketing, etc.).

    Ramit, thanks for this…it was VERY helpful, as you can see. I have a 57 slide power point (about an hour and a half of camtasia capture) done already which is the first module of 4 for a new “certification” I am creating. At this pace I will be done in one week on a product I expected to take months!

  190. Very impressed with this post. You are a big part of the reason I am rethinking many of my life’s assumptions. Of course it makes sense that you have to prepare so hard for something you really want. I wish I had taken this advice seriously several years ago. Better late than never, I guess.

  191. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    It took me a couple days to not only identify my negative scripts but to figure out how to postive-ize them and then find a positive implementation of them. I came up with 7.

    #2 was – I don’t have enough experience yet.
    Postive-ized – I have more experience than most of my prospects and more than enough experience to launch myself focusing on Facebook and Twitter.
    Implementation – I will brainstorm a list of Direct Sellers (partylite, mary kay etc) to pitch to and offer them an initial individual session for free to build my experience and be able to anticipate corporate client questions in the future. I will contact 1-3 of them per day until I have gone through them all.

    Wow, do I feel good about this list now!! Yay!!!

  192. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Negative Script: I do not know enough about the field I am working in to contribute to meetings at work. (background: I am a counselor in a mental health clinic and I fell into my current position working with a population of people with a specific mental health diagnosis, and I have weekly meetings with the people who are at the top of the field and developed the therapy I am using. I am intimidated by them and typically keep my mouth shut in these meetings for fear of seeming stupid.)

    Positive Script: Being a contributor can only help my reputation with these experts and can only help my career, but I do need something to say.

    Automation: I have at my disposal all of the information (books, articles, etc.) that I need to be more educated on the subject. I am going to set alarms on my phone for 30 mins each day to read these resources and keep a notebook to TAKE NOTES ON THEM. I will also block into my schedule 30 minutes before this meeting at work to review my information and brainstorm at least five things to say in this meeting (or intelligent questions to ask) and say at least three of them (these meetings are time limited and there are many issues that need to be discussed so being able to mention/ask all five may not be realistic).

    Results: I have spent ~1 hour (30 minutes Monday and Tuesday so far) reading 2 of the articles that were given to me when I started this position but haven’t ‘gotten around to’ reading them. I already feel more confident at work and am looking forward to the next meeting (next week) because I know I will feel more confident at that meeting.

  193. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: If I use a step-by-step marketing approach, like the one Ramit used, I will atrack 100 members to my secret-underground-niche-program. Each one could pay $10 each month.

    Automatization: I’ll block 2 hours on Saturday, from 6am-8am and launch the program in my blog. Also 15 minutes blocked daily in my schedule for follow-up.

  194. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: (I stole yours, hope you don’t mind) “I want to out-prepare the SHIT out of this interview for an internship this summer”

    Automation:
    Weekly schedule:

    Wednesday morning: research interview process (2 hours)
    o Find most popular questions, write down my answers – STARTED TODAY
    o Once I get a group together, 1 hour research, 1 hour group work

    Friday morning: (15 mins)
    o Text 3 friends ask if they want to help each other get summer internships
    o Put up as facebook status as well
    oIf none of the 3 friends say they’re interested, 3 more next friday

    Monday morning: (1 hour)
    o Email 3 networks (weekly until I have 3 interviews scheduled) to ask them if they know of any internship opportunities this summer.
    o Also put as update on Linked In that I’m searching for a summer internship.

  195. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    I got a bit of late start this week, but I can’t believe how quickly taking a little action has yielded the first stage of results!
    This fall I went back to school to become an interpreter – quitting my full-time, benefitted job to pursue my passion that will be much more lucrative and fulfilling. I started part-time job searching well-before my final day at work (about 3-4 months before quitting). That was this summer, and I have still not gotten a part-time job. I’ve been unemployed since mid-September, and after reading Ramit’s challenge on his blog, my boyfriend suggested I sign up and start thinking about making my own work.

    NEW SCRIPT: “I want to create a job on my own terms that will provide income and flexibility while I go back to school.”

    IMPLEMENTATION: Research Petsitting market in my area. 1) Email friends I have petsitted/petsat(?) for and ask them to contact fellow pet owners with 3 simple survey question about need, frequency, and pricing. 2) Email former coworkers who have inquired about petsitting before with same questions as above to send to their fellow pet owners. 3) Email friend across the country with her own petsitting business and inquire for start-up advice, get the reality of the situation, best practices, etc.

    RESULTS: I just sent these emails out within the last hour and I’ve already gotten positive feedback and action from one of my friends that I’ve petsat (?) for! She first gave me feedback on price, then proceeded to generate an explanatory survey and recommendation email that she then sent to all her pet owner friends! Simply amazing. I just checked and I have already gotten a response from her mass email about possible pricing and what he tends to do with his pets when he travels. I can’t wait to find out what else comes from this :D

  196. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    Script: Writers write.

    Automation: Every Sunday, I’m going to spend 15 minutes having an ideas session where I write down ideas for stories, characters, scenes, funny/emotional/inspirational/nostalgic/intriguing/etc. moments, lines of dialogue, etc. Every Monday, I’m going to start on a new short story based off of those ideas, and finish it by the end of the week. Once every month, I’m going to look at all the ideas that I haven’t used, and any of the stories I did write, and see if any are good candidates to start either a novel or a screenplay (either a movie or a TV pilot), and start writing along with a short story a week. I’m going to accomplish this by hitting a tangible goals of 5 pages a day (from my spiral notebook) until the stories are finished. By the last day of 2011, I will have a finished novel, a screenplay, or both, and many short stories that are ready to send out to reputable magazines, blogs, publishing houses, and movie studios.

  197. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: I will be more productive at work.

    Steps:
    1) I admit (and accept) that I need to spend some time each work day checking my personal email and scanning my RSS feed. I also recognize that it has to be in multiple quick intervals (as opposed to one big chunk). In the past this has led to huge procrastinating and causing me to stay late and take home work.
    2) Monday evening (after work) I prepared my plan of action.
    3) I started with some research – my favourite ”work procrastination’ sites tend to update in the morning and about mid afternoon. I will start out with scheduling 10 min first thing in the am, 10 min at 11 am and 10 min at 4 pm to read personal email and my RSS feed at work. That way this takes the same amount of time as my two 15-min breaks allow – so I am not wasting company time, and I will not be staying late/taking home work/coming in early to make up for my dallying.
    4) Tuesday morning I set my work email calendar to flash reminders (timed for 10 min) at the three above mentioned times per day signalling my “personal” time.
    5) If after one week (Jan 18) I need extra support in achieving this goal, I will install software that will only allow me onto these distracting websites at these pre-determined times. I am going to spend some time on Saturday researching free software options online.
    6) I will re-assess my work productivity on Jan 26th (after two weekends have gone by) to see if the timing/duration of my reading times is working for me and adjust my day accordingly.

    Results so far – it is 4:06 pm and I am posting this (within my alloted “personal” time!).

  198. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    This ended up being a bit longer than expected

    Script: Submit my PhD dissertation by the end of the summer.

    I considered many more hustling-oriented alternatives, but after a bit of introspection realized my degree is the biggest force in my life. It consumes immense amount of time and prevents me from easily negotiating freelance projects. More importantly, my sense of self is somewhat tied to this monolithic project, and I find self-esteem waxes and wanes with my week-to-week success. Everything else I do is trying to fight my way out from under it. The extremely vague nature of research is difficult for me to manage and has sabotaged at least one side project. So, this thing needs to die, so I can get on to kicking ass in other spheres of my life I’m more excited about.

    I have 2 main tasks to complete which break down into a lot of smaller goals:
    – Complete and submit the last of my research papers
    – Write and defend my thesis

    AUTOMATION:

    – Monthly big goals (if I want to submit the thesis by the end of August, the official clock needs to be started 5 months earlier in April, and includes a big goal pretty much monthly in that time)

    – Weekly milestones (mostly targeting the research project) of having some meaningful progress to show in my weekly meeting with my supervisor AND perhaps more importantly, come up with 3 good questions to ask him about my work (I’m really bad at making use of him as a resource)

    – Daily thesis writing target of 1 page, 1/2 page weekends. (Make forward progress in baby steps and keep the bar low enough I don’t get stuck making it into a bigger deal than it is and just sit down and write) Ideally, spend a bit of time and automate an online chart of how many pages I have to keep me accountable to friends. (Consider bets with friends of how many pages I can bang out on a weekend sprint, etc…)

    – Weekly rewards / punishments for depending on whether or not I hit my mark. Make myself really invested in getting this done. I have an electronic music addiction, perhaps I can’t go out if I don’t hit all my weekly goals.

    FIRST STEPS:

    Today:

    - Sit down with university submission timeline and plan out all the big monthly milestones required to complete thesis in time, working backward from the end of August to today.

    By Friday:

    – Plan out weekly milestones between now and March for final research project, realizing these will almost certainly change, but commit to having a feasible milestone for the next week.

    – Copy and past all existing work into thesis document (this one is really important, as I estimate I have 60-70 pages already written, and it makes me feel really good knowing I have that much already done).

    By next Friday:

    – Talk to my committee, get their support for my plan, since in the end they’re the people that say whether or not I succeeded, I should have their complete report. (sidenote: look into bribes)

    —-

    This is really ambitious, but I know I tend to get lost in meaningless details without a clear picture of what I’m doing. I’m hoping the pressure will keep Pareto and Parkinson on either shoulder and keep me focused on dominating this.

    • Dear Matt, I can’t be cheerful enough for your work and the organization you’re putting in it. I wish you much success in this chapter of your life which is so critish for you. But you
      are quite ready to overhelm the difficulties that are before you. Follow simply the plan you have established and you are assured to succeed in the finishing of your thesis; so do I feel the situation. But my intervention in your work is also quite selfish: I do wish practice some English, and this objectif is already fulfilled. What shoud please me very well is to recieve a reply of you so that I could have some feedback. For this I send you many thanks.

  199. Negative Script: I don’t have enough time to start another business

    Positive Script: All I need is at least one or two more hours in my work day to test out and implement my creative business idea.

    Automation: Set my alarm for an hour earlier every week day with a glass of water by my bed and my phone (aka alarm clock) at a distance from my bed so I’m forced to get out of bed to turn it off. (I HATE waking up early). I then drink the glass of water (drinking water helps energize your body to wake up). I then spend one hour in the mornings (a time I’d be sleeping) blogging, putting up ads, and testing my business hypothesis. If I see that people are interested in my business I’ll set another extra hour in the morning to help expand it while I spend the majority of my work day on my main business.

  200. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    Script: No one wants to help me. (cue maudlin music with annoying mime with sad face)

    Every Wednesday: I will ask a friend or acquaintance to write a small article for my blog about what kind of nerd they are and what they know.

    Steps already taken: One thing I have struggled with is getting the wife to buy in on the idea, and frankly I was worried that there would be a fight on it. So I took her out last night and talked directly with her about the project and my goals and made sure she was on board with it.

    Also taken: Asked a coworker today (hence the every wednesday) for help writing an article as he is a wonder child with sports and what is going on in the world of sports.

  201. Script:
    Old scripts,
    - I don’t have time to earn extra money;
    - Don’t have the resources, it’s hard, I’m not motivated, doesn’t feel good, I’d rather watch AFV.
    - Where the F— are the pretty girls?

    New script:
    It’s ridiculously FUN earning an extra $5,000 by March 1st, 2011 in my free time to pay down student loans.
    (script assumes a change in psychology, thanks Ramit)

    Implementation:
    - Brainstorm twice for 10 minutes, 3 days apart, what gives me easy, free happiness
    * Determined acting does (plays, tv, film) (I liked it in school)
    Its easy (little kids do it)
    Surrounded by pretty girls, forced to interact with me (actresses are needy too)
    Will heighten my social skills
    Have nothing to lose
    Can do on the side (not a full-time job)
    LA is not that far, will have FUN exploring the city going to auditions.

    Implementation:
    – 50 paid acting job applications per week (10 per day; allocating 20minutes) using online submission resources while watching AFV on Hulu (makes me laugh/happy, FUN).
    – Friday evening: Measurement:
    -10m review of success rate on submissions, 10m brainstorm of ideas to improve,
    -10m review of auditions for areas of improvement, with AFV on in the background for laughs/happy time, FUN.
    -15th and 30th of every month, 5m to count how close I am to $5,000.
    -Total time:
    -100 minutes for applications and 30minutes for review per week;
    -10m/month to count.
    -2 hours per week to schedule auditions during free time.
    Hence: approximately an average of 4 hours per week; fits into free time and brings easy, free happiness in the doing.

    Results:
    3rd week after implementation, motivated to submit (through being motivated to watch AFV); from measuring had improved submission success rate by figuring out a few small changes; got audition for name-brand backpack commercial (had FUN driving to auditions); reviewed audition, made changes; was able to ace callback; was offered part at $2,500 for 1 day worth of work, scheduled around my schedule, with a gorgeous girl co-starring.
    2 dates with ridiculously 2 different ridiculously hot women; had FUN!

    Never happened before; thinking the script way worked.

    Old script, I could never afford an IPAD
    New script, I’ll enjoy myself finding a way to get an IPAD
    Implementation: spend 10m writing this comment to win an IPAD

  202. I prepared and made the decision to change my life and start my own company, now I will implement the skills to get the clients I need to pay off my start up debt and have the life I planned for. I will also be able to give back by contributing to Autism research.

  203. After reading this article it dawned on me why my athletic life is so successful: my friend and I have standing Mon, Wed, and Saturday swims every week that we have kept up for years now. It’s gotten to the point that i don’t even notice it anymore because it’s so habitual and routine and I plan everything else around these evenings. Even if I fail to get in runs the other nights of the week, those three weekly swims keep me moving in the right direction (which in this example is staying in shape).

    Let me apply this principle to my current goal of selling high-quality modern clutches on Etsy by April 1st (I want to have at least 5 clutches of selling-quality up by this time):
    1. Thursday nights: complete 1 clutch
    2. Saturdays (after swim): spend no more than 45 minutes researching solutions to 1 specific area that either needs improvement or is a new design (i.e. watch “how-to” youtube videos, read instructions from sewing book, or contact sewing teacher). Then implement solution (produce at least 1 clutch). Areas that I have already identified as needing improvement:
    a. zipper getting stuck on lining (need solution! Priority 1).
    b. zipper needs to lay about 1/2″ below top of clutch (sewing solution or ironing solution?)
    Clutch design to learn:
    a. Learn how to install magnetic clasp for front pocket.
    b. Learn how to install shoulder strap (specifically metal chain).
    c. using pleats for design

    As I delve into this further, more areas for improvement will arise and will be added to the list to tackle each Saturday (sewing day!).

  204. I’ll give an example of a way I automated an invisible script a week ago, as well as one I will put into motion this week!

    SCRIPT: “I want to get in shape to the point where I can go on a hiking trip with friends this summer”

    IMPLEMENTATION: Since my car died last month, instead of buying a new one, I moved to a location where I am forced to walk a minimum of 1.5 miles to work every day. I also have to walk to lunch and dinner.

    RESULTS: In less than 2 weeks I’ve already noticed that the walk to work is getting easier and I feel better that I’m getting more exercise!

    This week’s plan:

    SCRIPT: “I want to automate my finances so I don’t have to spend as much time micromanaging everything”

    IMPLEMENTATION: I’ll set up automatic bill pay for my apartment, set my credit card and student loans to withdraw on the 1st of the month so I can have everything happen at once, and set up scheduled transfers for my savings goals.

    RESULTS: We will see!

  205. Script: I can find a job that’s in total alignment with my desired lifestyle IF ONLY I KNEW EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO DO.

    New Script: GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO SOMETHING, so long as it has a decent chance of moving you TOWARD WHERE I WANT TO GO!!

    Results: set up four different informational interviews over the last week in commercial real estate, energy regulation, business consulting, and medical administration. Three of those are coming from good friends who would totally go to bat for me if I ended up really wanting to switch careers.

  206. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Bad script: I do create nothing because I’m not creative
    New Script: Create then learn from failure. Produce before your ready

    Created a website and told some friends and family about it. I wanted them to respond and we could help push each other.

    heres the website
    http://goalcompleted.wordpress.com/

    Bigger things this week: Doing “scary” emails
    Start ghostwriting a new ebook for a company

  207. Old Script: “I need to be extra perfect (perfect resume, contact, research) to every get a job where I want.”

    That script scared me so much, I was constantly self-editting and avoiding working on my resume, researching companies or reaching out to my network. Now I have scheduled 15 minutes everyday this week (with an alarm reminder) to work on my resume, and 15 more minutes at a separate time to send out emails to my network and research companies. I am also leaving the hour after those 15 minutes open, in case I get inspired to keep going. So far, I’ve spend two hours working on my resume and researching companies, where before I would go days doing nothing but thinking about what I should be doing.

  208. “cigarette smoking sucks, it gives no pleasure and it kills my ability to do well in sports. My chest hurt that day after I ran just 2 km.”

    Implementation: I feel like smoking when i see someone else smoke, or go near a shop selling cigarette. everytime I feel like smoking, I will remind myself that I want to be good at sports, and how it hurt while running one day. I will counter the desire to smoke by saying a firm no. no arguments, no thinking about it.

  209. I will stop procrastinate.
    Discipline will be a key for me. Reward will be less stress by declutered mind. Always define reward!

    The script is the * lines, other is the comment.

    * I know what I want:
    I’ve set my target for 3 months (what I want to be done). I wrote them on the paper. I force myself NOT to write any other “important-future-targets”. It will drive thinking abou them and not about the current ones. I command to myself NOT to reevaulate these targets unless there will be really BIG reason (reevaulating and doubts are my biggest source of procrastination).
    3 months are a long time and I know I need detailed substeps. I am able to specify them only partially. It’s not ideal but it’s ok for me for this 3 months period. The written targets are just “secondary” ones. The primary goal is to stop procrastinate and develop discipline and basic habits.

    * I count only important stuff:
    Every evening I write what I’ve done. Counting only things DONE (not partially done). The things which do not commit to important targets I count significantly less (in fact I do not count them at all) and what’s important – classify them as “must-have-to-be-done” or (very often) “done-because-I-did-not-want-to-work-on-important-stuff”.
    Planning my day is still chaotic. First 2 weeks (and further) I will constantly try to cut things which has not to be done. The written target list is a big help – what does not commit to it, gets trashed (it’s really HARD). I figured out in last days, that the list of “to-do” has to be SHORT! Because I am not able to do more, because when it’s long I slip very easily to procrastination and because when it’s long it very probably contains thing which are not important (and defocus my from important stuff I am afraid of to start).

    * I cultivate self-reflection:
    Every time I switch to mail or stop working for “something” I try to ask myself: why? Is it needed? Do I need a rest or I am afraid of next step in the work? And why again… The reflection helps me in the other areas as well – “Do I need to be angry now?” for example (I am a little bit choleric).
    It’s pretty hard for me. But do not exaggerate it! I sometimes do. But do not take yourself too seriously.

    Most of my scripts seem to be not measurable. But still – I can feel joy (or depression) on the end of the day when I review it.

    It’s like a loosing weight. It’s not only about the proper training, eating etc. It’s in your head – to learn that I really want to do it and live this way. I have to trust in myself and to change my mindset. Loosing weight for itself is crap. Loosing weight to became healtier is better but still temporary. Loosing weight to gain beautiful women is much better but best is when loosing weight is a side effect of such engaging goal.

  210. The best I have done was with pain. I began associating taking shots of insulin for my diabetes with life instead of the pain of doing them. Eventually it got to the point where I could tone down my recognition of pain in any situation as long as there was a long term goal ahead of me.

    So I got rid of “Pain is bad” and put “Pain is often just a part of progress.” in it’s place.

  211. Week 1 Results:

    Background: I realize this isn’t related to finances or making more money, but it’s important to me, so I’m giving it a go. For most of my life I’ve been overweight and allergic to exercise, but for the past year I’ve been working against that.

    Old script 1: You’ve always been a fat ass, so that’s probably not going to change.
    Old script 2: You could lose the weight if only I understood weight loss a little better by reading as much as possible.

    New script: You’ve wasted enough time already. You’ve managed to save $1500 in your emergency fund and have no credit card debt anymore with very little effort at all, so this will be a cinch too as long as you STOP THINKING AND JUST DO IT. I will lose 30 pounds by following the Couch to 5k program and quit worrying about the details.

    Implementation:
    Day 1: RUN! You’ve read about all the success people have had using Couch to 5k. You have the podcasts downloaded. No more excuses. Put on the earbuds and get going. It’s only for half an hour.
    Day 2: According to the plan, I will run 3 days per week, allowing enough time for rest and recovery. I will use this free time wisely by scheduling 30 minutes on my Google calendar first thing in the morning 3 times per week for the next two months (the length of the program). I felt so great after my first run that I don’t want to stop, but I will hold myself accountable by making my iphone remind me right away when I need to run.
    Day 3: Run #2. My leg muscles were a little sore, but it was a good reminder that it didn’t kill me before, and it’s not going to now.

    Results: I have noticeably more energy and a feel better about myself because I’ve taken measurable steps (and it’s only day 3). I’ve lost less than a pound, but I’m not going to let my day to day weight get me down. The weight will come off because I am following the program.

    Note: This will be a sustainable lifestyle change. I intentionally told myself before I started that I would not make the schedule until I made the first steps to get out the door and actually do something. I’m great at making plans but not so great following through. But if I failed at completing the first workout, hey, at least I got out and did something; I’ll know better next time and be able to adjust accordingly.

    In addition to my scheduled workouts, I also scheduled a day to evaluate myself and my goals at the end of the program (March 12), as well as to determine which course of action to take from that point on. Maybe I’ll work on speed, maybe I’ll decide to train for a marathon, I don’t know. But by taking the time to evaluate myself, I will remind myself what it is I’m working towards (fitness) and consider why it is important to me (I’m not trying to get chicks–I can get them now–I just want to feel good about myself).

    If anyone is interested, the Couch to 5k program is a great way to automate your workout. On http://www.c25k.com you will find the program, as well as free podcasts that tell you when to run and when to walk, building you up to 30 minutes (or 3 miles, or whatever–the time/distance isn’t as important as just putting one step in front of the other) of sustained running. So far it’s working for me. Download Week 1 and get moving.

  212. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    My aim was to automate the script I meet my creative deadlines in a steady, sustainable way.

    Two parts to my implementation plan: (1) Develop a checklist for the beginning of a new art project. (2) Use my new checklist to plan my next piece.

    Results: DONE and DONE.

    Feels good. Looking forward to the next challenge. Thanks, Ramit!

  213. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script – I can get into the best shape of my life!

    Implementation: I work at home and spend a lot of time here. Activities seem to blend together. I knew in order to get in shape I needed to get out of the house. I reached out to some local trainers and gyms and swapped website consultation/development for a LIFETIME gym membership and training twice a week! It’s pretty easy to hide behind limiting beliefs, but once you take action the sky is the limit. Thanks Rammit.

  214. I want to write a blog commenting culture in general (not just reviewing music Wich I allready do)

    Automatization: I will alter my marathon training program (Thanks Runners World) from ´07 which succesfully got me through Copenhagen Marathon to suit the blog writing process. The training scedule was Three times a week 1) Tuesday, light Training 2) Thursday, Muscle building training (Fast running) 3) Sunday, long distance running (Slow).

    For blog writing it translates to:
    1) Tuesday, idea generating (through surfing, newspaper, radio).
    2) Thursday, determining the week’s topic and determining the angle, writing the key points.
    3)Sunday, getting facts right, finishing the text, post it.

    This way, I will generate a post a week. When I have 3 or 4 posts, I will start getting people to read it, starting with people in my network. Time for an additional script for that in a month time.

  215. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: I want to become an import model — In 2011, I want to be a model at one car show.

    In my first comment, #18, I outlined my plan to work on this script. AND I HAVE RESULTS TO SHARE! :D Ramit, I’m EXCITED.

    So normally I don’t contact other models. I figure they deal with a ton of creepy guy fanmail or weird things from girls who want to do what they do and are just sick of it. Well, I decided to do it anyway. I contacted three models whose work I follow to ask for advice.

    Out of the three girls, TWO wrote me back. I got some advice from a girl who is in the trenches, so to speak, and appreciate the time she took to write me a ton. It was really inspiring. The other girl asked a question that led me to basically being offered a place at the show I was hoping to get into!! (This is SUCCESS at its finest, I’d like to think. I will be part of a gogo competition and possibly have a place in the model booth!)

    I also sent two other emails that did not receive replies yet. However, the emails that did were SUCCESS like I didn’t imagine was possible. I also sent out another email when I found yet another place that might help. While they had nothing for me directly, I now have an email and phone number for someone to contact who may want to work with me.

    I challenged myself to do something I normally wouldn’t with the script. And I got RESULTS. I will send them to you if you need proof. It did actually happen. ;)

    Thanks for helping me rock it, Ramit. I’m looking forward to tonight’s webcast!

  216. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    SCRIPT: I want to get consistent mentoring from people I respect.

    IMPLEMENTATION: I’ve set up a recurring reminder in my Google calendar that tells me to send 3 emails:

    1. A request for help or advice,
    2. A “checking in” email to someone I already know
    3. A quick note to someone I’d like to meet

    This will help me keep on task with receiving mentoring while also meeting new mentors.

    The reminder will come up once a week at first to keep it sustainable as I get started, and will be scheduled for the evening rush hour, when I’m usually on the train (so I can’t easily procrastinate by doing something else). If I don’t have Internet access at the time, I’ll write the emails to send later.

    As I have successful results, I’ll add them to the reminder message to keep the value of writing the emails on my mind.

    RESULTS SO FAR: I’ve sent three emails this week and already heard back from one person.

  217. Week 1 Results

    Revised script: I will improve my time management and become the go-to SME in my field at work.
    Old Script: My work results are ok even when I slack off, although I am often stressed because of it. This is because I don’t have good time management at work.

    Implementation of new script: I will sign up for alerts and blog feeds in this subject area, and review the updates daily (done). I will forward any news to my teammates if it applies to them. For my assigned work, I will complete at least one item the day the task is assigned to me, and put the next-do item on my main task list. I will review the task list at the end of the day to determine what is my priority for the next morning.

    Here is a real-world example that I will use apply my new script:
    Last month I found that a regulating agency was finalizing some new rules. I notified my team, and they asked me to do a brown bag presentation. The presentation date is February 1st. Normally I’d do most of the work on the last few days leading up to the presentation, leaving little time to review.

    Today I have:
    Created 3 draft slides, one that includes the outline for the presentation.
    Created 6 next-do tasks to create the center slides.
    Completed 80% of a recently-assigned task that is due on Friday.

    I have some bad habits to take care of, but I figure a focused attack will help break them.

  218. I don’t ask myself if I FEEL like doing the hard or uncomfortable things I need to do to achieve a result because the answer is too often ” No”.
    E.g. Do I feel like getting up early to go to exercise class? No.
    Do I FEEL like getting my tax papers ready for the accountant? No!
    Do I feel like talking to my flat mate about their persistently undone chores? No!.
    Instead of asking that loaded question, I’m noa asking “What is the NEXT ACTION TO TAKE to get … my exercises done, my tax papers ready or to renegotiate the chores?
    An entirely more useful answer ensues with a clarity of the very next step to do or schedule.

  219. 1. My invisible script to success, “Know what job openings are available in my industry, and apply to those that advance my career”

    2. Ramit motivated me to ask for a raise last year. I received a raise of 20% yet I am still underpaid for my experience and position. To automate my script of keeping an ear to the ground for job openings in my industry, I created RSS feeds from job searches on craigslist and indeed.com and added them to my Google Reader. I already check my RSS Reader multiple times a day to catch up on my blogs, next to email this is the best way for me to see something without spending any extra time or effort. My search terms are specific enough that I get about 3-4 local industry job listings per day.

    Results: Within a few days, a listing popped up in my reader that matched what I do in my sub-industry so well that I almost didn’t apply because I thought it was for the company I ALREADY work for. I responded and got a quick response from the recruiter early the next morning. I set up an appointment to discuss the position and am now waiting to set up an interview. The position offers career advancement, a 40% salary boost, and I’m well qualified. Amazing what can happen in just a few days by putting myself out there!

  220. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Like I said in my previous comment (reproduced below), I sent emails to my viola professor and that composer that I admire. As expected, my professor was enthused and happy to talk to me whenever necessary. She’s scheduling an extra time for me beginning this week. I haven’t gotten a response from that composer I emailed, but I’m sending another email to him next week (after my viola lesson, which my professor is in the process of scheduling shortly). Oh, and since she’s making extra time for me, I’ll make sure the emails to those composers come right after my viola lessons – and the reminders will be set up as soon as I find out my lesson time.

    All in all, the biggest result I’ve got is the formulation of this plan in the first place. Though I probably could have done the extra work (which wasn’t much work at all) earlier, it had just never occurred to me. I’ve achieved a personal victory, iPad or not.

    Here’s my post from earlier (with one correction put within)

    Script – I want to get into the music industry as a composer/producer and violist (been working on that one for a while, and I’m attending a music school already). I don’t know exactly how to get there, and “going to music school” is obviously not going to cut it. So, I’ll talk to people who’ve made it and learn from their experiences.

    Implementation -
    1) I’ve already set up weekly 1-hour “lessons” with someone who’s making a living teaching jazz improvisation (with a slice of music business thrown in) writing music, and playing professionally. He’s played on a few billboard charting albums, and he generally knows his way around. (Composition/Producing)
    2) I want to do something with viola, and my viola professor is extremely experienced and knowledgeable. I’ll write her (now – I’ve already built up the momentum by writing this) and see if she has some extra time each week to talk to me regularly. If she doesn’t, then I’ll see if we can start my weekly hourly lessons (another class I have to take) with talking. If we don’t get through everything, I’ll email her right after the lesson.
    (Viola)
    3) I really want to write music for independent video games – but all I’m doing towards that so far is writing something for a game I’m working on developing. Step A is probably to talk to someone doing that – and I know just the guy. I’ll send him an email right now, save it as a template and send an email like that to someone new every week. (Composing/Producing)
    4) These people are going to tell me things that I should actually -do-.

    Automation –
    1) I attend the University.. and it’s a class. If I don’t show up for whatever reason, I’m sure I’ll hear from him.. and also I’ll fail. I’ve been against failing since middle school, so that’s that.
    2) I have to attend those lessons, I know she’ll probably say yes to starting the lessons with talking (if she doesn’t have extra time each week), and I should have time after the lessons to send her that email. I can use Google Calendar to text and email me after the lessons with a reminder to write it. Since we’ll have already started talking, it’ll be difficult to ignore.
    3) I’ll make that another email I send right now; and one that I send with the weekly email to my viola professor. I’ll be in an email writing mood – so it’ll be easy to do, the time will be blocked off already, and I’ll have most of the email written. I can also use this time to send small (but non-badgering) email reminders to busy people who haven’t responded, continue conversations with people I haven’t gotten back to yet, or figure out who exactly to email (since I will inevitably run out of people).
    4) Well, since I’ve already worked out a time each week that will inevitably have me working on this stuff, I can research into how I can get to work on whatever these people suggest. If I have time during email-time, I can add their suggestions to that space – and if I don’t, then I’ll need to go through a process similar to this one and make things as automatic as possible.


    Hopefully I’m not too late to the punch on this. Even if I don’t get responses by tomorrow, I’ve already got the result of coming up with these ideas – good ideas that will likely be successful.

    To put the cherry on top, after reviewing this: (http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/finding-clients/) to get some relevant tips from that “good email” that I remembered, I sent those two emails before hitting submit.

  221. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Previous script: forming new habits is hard and requires discipline

    New script: Forming new habits is easy once I remove the barriers to forming the habits.

    Script for removing barriers:

    1. Set up 1 hour last sunday of every month in calendar
    2. Identify new habit to form, write it down on a piece of paper, and put it on the wall above my computer
    3. Identify the barriers
    4. Automate a plan to form the habit and remove the barriers
    1. Set aside time every day to work on the habit
    2. Create a visual map of plan so that I know exactly what to do (place it next to the written Goal on the wall)
    3. Write metrics for success (put it on the wall as well)
    4. Be prepared to tweak plan based on experience (testing)
    5. Review plan on that 1 hour of the last sunday, and decide if ready to form a new habit, or continue working on current habit.

    Example output from a Sunday working session once a month:
    What are the barriers to forming habits?

    1. no time set aside
    2. no routine to work on them
    3. no definition of “success” – how do you know when a habit is created
    4. system does not always work the first time

    Solutions to automate removing barriers and creating habit – ex. keeping room organized.

    1. Set aside 15 minutes everyday to reorganize room – put it on the calendar hooked into phone
    1. ensure it’s not at a bad time (eg. dinner plans, going out plans)
    2. TEST 10-10:15PM for cleaning room out of the way time (10:30-11AM on Sunday)
    3. test no cleaning on Friday and Saturdays
    2. create a set of rules for room organization and post on wall (reason is, i know all the rules, but it’s easier when you map it out and don’t have to think about it. this will help make it a habit so i don’t have to think through all the steps)
    1. all flat surfaces should be clear of random items (eg. table should be clear of pens, tape, headphone case, toothpaste)
    2. every item should have a “home”
    3. create a process diagram of what to do
    1. ex. any incoming mail
    1. if spam, throw out
    2. if takes less than one minute to read, read then decide what to do with it in step 4
    3. if takes more than 1 minute to process, put it in the “action” drawer to be processed once a week
    4. after processing decide if it needs ACTION, FILING, or TRASH
    1. if ACTION, put the action to do in calendar if it takes > 5 minutes, otherwise just do it immediately
    2. if FILING, file immediately
    3. if TRASH, shred immediately
    2. clothes – put it in it’s home if not wearing it in the next 5 minutes
    3. Although it’s arbitrary, a goal needs to be set. TEST metric for success: flat surfaces are clear, items are in their home, and random incoming items (example: presents) either replace an item and take it’s home, or a new home is created. this must be true 6 out of 7 days per week for one month
    4. set aside 30 minutes on Sundays (better than saturdays, less activities scheduled) and reassess if the strategy is working. if not, redefine, and test the next method. rinse and repeat until a method is set.

  222. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Old Script: No way I can get myself to write for my ebook on a consistent basis. I get distracted super easily so I’ll leave it on my to-do list until I get around it *someday*.

    New Script: I know I’m a lazy bastard but I’m gonna find a way through trial-and-error to COMPLETELY focus 2 hours every day to write on a consistent basis.

    The Problem:
    A few months ago I realised I was a lazy bastard when it came to certain aspects of my life and overly PRODUCTIVE in others. Why? I had no clue until now: I subconsciously prioritise without even realising. PS3 or writing a new blog post: PS3 wins every time. Finishing my assignment or going for drinks with friends: finishing assignment wins every time (I know I’m weird).

    So yeah I realised this a few months ago and bought RescueTime: little software (with a great FREE version as well) that tells you HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME on your computer. After months sitting there, I finally decided to use it. On Monday, the end-of-the day report shows me I spend HOURS every day on Facebook & Twitter. I also spend HOURS (!!!) on YouTube – I didn’t ever realise half of this stuff. 10 mins here, 20 mins there – it adds up my friends, trust me.

    How I automated the process:
    RescueTime has this great feature that lets you shut down all the distractions you choose (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube for me) for X mins every day. Hence, I use this for 90mins everyday – and it works wonders! Amazing how the quality increases immensely when you’re completely focused!

    Bonus Automation:
    I also tested when I write best & at ease. I found it’s not in the morning, not at night – but right WHEN I COME BACK HOME FROM WORK. If I don’t start writing within 30 mins of coming back home from work: my distractions/laziness takes me away from my goal. Hence, I have three alarms on my iPhone at 10-20-30 mins to remind to start writing when I get home.

    Other Automation:
    Completely unrelated, but I started going for runs every morning. How? I set up two alarms: one at 6.30am and one at 6.40am to get me up. My clothes & running shoes are right next to my bed, put in place the night before. Minimum amount of effort required = went for my third run this morning!
    Me very happy :)

  223. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Sorry for duplicate…forgot the heading last time.

    Ramit,

    This is fabulous and was priceless. You will see that I used long time triggers with your brilliant automation idea to really create a fabulous platform for content creation. I doubt this will work for anyone else, though. I walk you through it (because I memorize and ingrain as I type or talk out things…)

    Positive Content Script:

    “I have over 20 years of successful youth coaching and soccer experience that people have asked me to share with other coaches and I will create products to share the wealth of knowledge”

    I have coached for nearly 22 years and played 30 years of soccer. I have had requests for the last 5 years to create and share products with coaches and athletes because: my coaching techniques and styles get tremendous results with athletes and my coaching methods are very christian and athlete centered, which in today’s climate parents love! I finally decided to pull the trigger and create the products and while I have a great positive script, automating it is needed to keep me on task and to capture during my most productive hours.

    My Weekly Content Goals:

    4 minutes of training videos per week
    4 minutes TV webisodes per week (this is my primary traffic method)
    4 sentences in my book per week (no kidding, once you start it is hard to stop…I learned this from Ramit!)
    4 slides of power point per week for my training seminars (to be camtasia captured later)
    Each of these take very little time and do not seem insurmountable…so I don’t get paralyzed at the start of the week with a MASSIVE amount of work in front of me. Once I start focusing on JUST 4 minutes or power point slides, it seems easy to accomplish and I end up doing a heck of a lot more “in the zone”.

    Quick background, this works for me because psychologically I am already prepped for this and will play on my habits:

    1. I am like Monk (somewhat OCD, very habitual, and need that discipline of a rigid schedule)
    2. I already have ingrained productivity hours during the day when I am most productive and they date all the way back to college (a loooong time ago). I discovered during college my most productive hours and have always used those as my most effective work hours…strangely, because of college, they are spread around during the day and not all at once!
    3. I have “triggers” that I have had since my exam study days of college that help “start” my high productivity hours (a certain song that I always listened to during studying and have used for decades to trigger my “work” times. That song kick starts the content creation process) I wrote a 100+ thesis in grad school using these hours and triggers!
    4. I already set a schedule for my daily work life to limit “roadblocks and distractions” (Tim Ferriss taught me to schedule my email, phone, etc…I actually schedule what I call “EPL” Email, phone, lunch at the same time every day so I am not checking email, using the phone, or snacking at any other time during the day…limits distractions.)
    5. I have always taught my players the “5 and 2 method” (5 minutes at the start or end of every half are the most dangerous because teams are not ready or let down, and 2 minutes after a goal is scored for the same reasons. Go all out during those periods). I yell this at every game and it has become a “trigger” for me. 5 and 2. Remember that when you see my automation script.

    Since all this is already there all I need to do to automate my script is very easy:

    - I set up a new Google Calendar called “Coach Reed Content” and made it private
    - I entered “events” at the start of each productivity period in the day that I have (there are 5 in all!)
    - For the titles, I named each on with a one word nickname that reminds me, on sight, what the content is (think Google “Froyo”)
    - I set an email reminder at 5 minutes before the time and an sms at 2 minutes before “show time”. (my trigger)
    - The email goes to my computer and my android to ensure it is seen. This allows me to “prep”
    - The sms reminder is tagged on android with its own “song” and “vibration pattern” (so if I have it on silent I still know what the reminder is without having to look). For the song that plays when the reminder comes through…it is the same song I have listened to since my college study days (duh!)

    and that is my automation. I “trigger” content every day at the same time with ‘SMART’ goals for each week regarding content. I should be able to get the over 20 years of coaching and over 30 years of playing out of my head and into usable products for the next generation of coaches and players in no time and have a vast library of content for my company.

    (oh, and I have some scripts for listbuilding, traffic, website work, marketing, etc.).

    Ramit, thanks for this…it was VERY helpful, as you can see. As far as results:

    I got 57 slides done for the first module of a 4 module “certification” product. That is about an hour and a half of camtasia capture (or more) and is the complete 1st module. 4 videos are done on another product. I completed a small ebook freebie, and mindmapped my full book chapter by chapter.

  224. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    (attempted a little reformatting, since the previous comment came out looking very confusing)

    Previous script: forming new habits is hard and requires discipline

    New script: Forming new habits is easy once I remove the barriers to forming the habits.

    Script for removing barriers:

    1. Set up 1 hour last sunday of every month in calendar
    2. Identify new habit to form, write it down on a piece of paper, and put it on the wall above my computer
    3. Identify the barriers
    4. Automate a plan to form the habit and remove the barriers
    —–A. Set aside time every day to work on the habit
    —–B. Create a visual map of plan so that I know exactly what to do (place it next to the written Goal on the wall)
    —–C. Write metrics for success (put it on the wall as well)
    —–D. Be prepared to tweak plan based on experience (testing)
    5. Review plan on that 1 hour of the last sunday, and decide if ready to form a new habit, or continue working on current habit.

    Example output from a Sunday working session once a month:
    What are the barriers to forming habits?

    1. no time set aside
    2. no routine to work on them
    3. no definition of “success” – how do you know when a habit is created
    4. system does not always work the first time

    Solutions to automate removing barriers and creating habit – ex. keeping room organized.

    1. Set aside 15 minutes everyday to reorganize room – put it on the calendar hooked into phone
    —–A. ensure it’s not at a bad time (eg. dinner plans, going out plans)
    —–B. TEST 10-10:15PM for cleaning room out of the way time (10:30-11AM on Sunday)
    —–C. test no cleaning on Friday and Saturdays
    2. create a set of rules for room organization and post on wall (reason is, i know all the rules, but it’s easier when you map it out and don’t have to think about it. this will help make it a habit so i don’t have to think through all the steps)
    —–A. all flat surfaces should be clear of random items (eg. table should be clear of pens, tape, headphone case, toothpaste)
    —–B. every item should have a “home”
    —–C. create a process diagram of what to do
    ———-i. ex. any incoming mail
    —————a. if spam, throw out
    —————b. if takes less than one minute to read, read then decide what to do with it in step 4
    —————c. if takes more than 1 minute to process, put it in the “action” drawer to be processed once a week
    —————d. after processing decide if it needs ACTION, FILING, or TRASH
    ——————–I. if ACTION, put the action to do in calendar if it takes > 5 minutes, otherwise just do it immediately
    ——————–II. if FILING, file immediately
    ——————–III. if TRASH, shred immediately
    —————ii. clothes – put it in it’s home if not wearing it in the next 5 minutes

    3. Although it’s arbitrary, a goal needs to be set. TEST metric for success: flat surfaces are clear, items are in their home, and random incoming items (example: presents) either replace an item and take it’s home, or a new home is created. this must be true 6 out of 7 days per week for one month

    4. set aside 30 minutes on Sundays (better than saturdays, less activities scheduled) and reassess if the strategy is working. if not, redefine, and test the next method. rinse and repeat until a method is set.

  225. Hi Ramit,

    I just want to say that your article helped me become aware of so much I was doing wrong, and of the many warning signs (and signs period) that I’ve been ignoring through my life. Although, I always did have that sort of feeling that SOMETHING was going on around me that I had not a single clue about. Luckily, it’s not too late to be a part of the game. Thanks

  226. I feel isolated at work. Instead of assuming people don’t want to talk to me, I’m going to start a conversation with 3 people each day. I’ll just ask about what they’re working on to make it really easy for myself. I’ll then add asking about family and follow up with earlier conversations. I did this today with one person and had positive results. Over time I will try to increase the length and depth of conversations. I’m hoping for more happiness at work, but I think it will also add to more overall success at work.

  227. Old Script: “I can’t make a living being a musician.”

    New Script: “I can find licensing opportunities, higher paying shows, and get my music good exposure on Pandora.”

    Action: Contacted pumpaudio.com and submitted mp3′s for the green light. They have been green lit and now just waiting to have music placed somewhere. Got on Amazon Advantage and sent cd’s to their warehouse, the first steps in submitting and getting approved by Pandora.

    Automation: In concern to performance (where I make a few dollars now), focus on what the bands that have bigger and higher paying shows do to get those shows and get busy doing that. Maintain the current show schedule I already have and phase it out when I can secure the big shows.

    I’ll keep you posted on successes and failures.

  228. Hi Ramit,

    Most comments on this post miss the point. They are ambitious, detailed and self-reflective, but don’t put systems and processes in place to create measurable results. Making specific, concrete goals with a plan and a deadline may be a good start, but that is a conventional approach. People take this approach every News Year’s and this blog is about actually making it happen.

    You even started your January 5th blog with Mike Tyson’s quote, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” So obviously, the challenge was not about writing down goals and telling you what we think we need to do on what days to ‘get there’.

    As you’ve said many times, we are cognitive misers and have limited motivation, willpower and energy. To sustain success, you recommend automating a system that, once you set it up, makes it easy for you to ‘do the right thing’ consistently.

    In your posts this week, you proposed that automating positive invisible scripts will help make me accomplish more in a week than I did the past month.

    So I tested your theory for 48 hours.

    A bit of background…

    Earn1K helped me go from a wishful thinking writer wasting time on editing her website and designing business cards, to a freelancer offering professional writing and communications services to companies involved in global business and international trade. I’ll be able to leave my day job this year.

    You challenged us to get out of our own heads and get in front of potential clients. I realized I’d yet again been keeping myself busy with things that didn’t get me further to my bottom line – namely repeat clients and supplementary income.

    As a part of an Earn1K course assignment last year, I called up a client in my niche market who I hadn’t heard from in awhile. That led to a recurring freelance position writing for a Consulate and ethnic-based Chamber of Commerce. They currently have me managing a global advertising campaign to attract sponsors and potential advertisers.

    THE PROBLEM

    December was especially busy. I got several new business opportunities and still work a full-time day job. Although I can’t afford to waste my limited hours on what doesn’t get me clients, complete my contracts and make me money, I subconsciously started to procrastinate.

    The to-do list got bigger and more cluttered. Psychological barrier – when it felt hard to keep up, I became distracted and started finding ways to avoid the hard stuff in favor of what made me ‘feel productive’ but didn’t really matter. You pointed this out early in Earn1K and somehow, that habit had crept up on me again.

    NEGATIVE INVISIBLE SCRIPT

    “You work every free hour you have but aren’t making a dent in all you have to do. At this rate, you will never get through all this. What is the point in having opportunities when you are failing so badly at taking advantage of them? Your expectations are too high and now you’ve backed yourself into a corner (enter failure complex, insecurities and whiny excuses).”

    POSITIVE INVISIBLE SCRIPT

    “The problem isn’t ‘not having enough time’. Its how I’ve been spending it. Instead of trying to catch up and keep myself motivated, I will test different ways to make sure that when I’m working, I’m doing what gets me the results I want. I know this in my head but need to actually do it to get the clients, contracts and income I need to freelance full-time. I am offering what companies find valuable and are willing to pay for. The most important thing is letting them know that.”

    AUTOMATION

    The plan…

    I needed to get back on track by refocusing what really matters and setting up processes to make a familiar behavior (identifying and pitching clients) into an automatic, sustainable habit. I wanted to position myself to get my ‘big-breaks’ by identifying what I need to measure and protecting myself from threats that get in the way of me acting on my great intentions.

    Threats…

    1) Tendency to over-plan and under-perform – Planning wasn’t working for me because saying I will do something on any given day (e.g. Mondays I will pitch clients for 1 hour) is no guarantee I actually will. Though plans made me feel better in the moment, I could always make ‘valid’ excuses when it came down to it. I never would have noticed this pattern if I hadn’t followed your blog or taken your course.

    2) Distractions and interruptions – when I did sit down to work, I wasn’t accomplishing as much as I wanted and ended up losing focus and interrupting my work to write down unrelated thoughts or ideas.

    System…

    1) Decide how to measure my results.

    My biggest project is the advertising and sponsorship campaign for the Chamber of Commerce. I would decide what numbers I could measure and set up a system where I would try to beat my own numbers every day.

    2) Put everything that was unrelated to the side.

    Whatever isn’t measurable or improves the bottom line of my business gets put on hold or scrapped. Find out ways to make working on what matters, without distractions, easier and automatic.

    3) Automate the process.

    I thought about what was getting in the way for me and came up with a system I could test for 48 hours, and scheduled 2 weeks to keep it going and make it sustainable. I found tools and ways to set up my environment to make working on the right things easier.

    Here is what I did…

    - To become less overwhelmed, I adapted my to-do list on Highrise to focus on my bottom line and get rid of what was just ‘busy work’. I scheduled the next two weeks based on the metrics I set up.
    - I turned on the e-mail notification on Highrise so that I get a daily reminder of what I want to do, then schedule my time each morning (over a double espresso) based on those tasks
    - I put shortcuts to the files I am working on (e.g. Excel of leads to pitch) directly on my desktop so they are the first thing I see when starting my projects each day…the desktop background photo of where I want to live when I am a full-time freelancer doesn’t hurt as a motivator either
    - I cleared and de-cluttered my workspace to minimize distraction and give a ‘clean slate’ feel for whenever I sit down to work
    - A few months ago I read up on the Pomodoro technique (i.e. setting aside 25 minute blocks of time to work without distraction) and downloaded an app for my iPhone that tracks how many ‘Pomodoros’ I successfully complete each day. I decided this would be a number I would measure and I would continually try to beat my ‘score’ over the next 2 weeks until I am using all my freelance time effectively

    RESULTS

    Monday

    • I read your post, thought through my problem and set up a system to focus on lead generation and to contact the companies we want to pitch
    • I completed 5 ‘Pomodoros’ of uninterrupted work on the project, which resulted in 125 leads generated and draft scripts outlined to pitch two specific industry groups (where before I’d felt too overwhelmed to narrow down)
    • I had the opportunity to explain the lead generation system to my clients at the Chamber

    Tuesday

    • I completed 7 ‘Pomodoros’ of work, which resulted in 60 more advertising leads and 65 identified leads for potential Chamber sponsors
    • I brainstormed, developed my pitch and wrote 4 sponsorship letters
    • I drafted two industry-specific scripts and e-mailed them to 50 leads and plan to revise the scripts if needed based on the results I get
    • I am invited by the Chamber to be a part of their delegation to Portugal in February – am told that funds will be available for me to go and that they want me to help them host an seminar for industry leaders on international business (and that they will sub-contract any relevant projects to me that come out of those meetings…yay, lead generation machine!)

    Wednesday

    • Four sponsorship packages are ready to be submitted on behalf of my client this week – clients told me they are impressed by my quick turnaround and the quality of leads I found
    • As of this morning, I started to receive e-mails from my initial pitches, with two companies interested in what the Chamber has to offer – they are now pre-qualified and in the engagement funnel as potential advertisers

    So in 48 hours, I made significant progress, got the momentum going on a project I’ve been overwhelmed by, started to get feedback from my leads, made a major client happy with my work, and have an expense-paid business trip to Portugal that will likely get me more clients.

    And it is only Wednesday.

  229. Goal 1: Weight 119lbs (smack dab in the middle of the normal range for my height)
    Goal 2: Average $3,000 a month in income from my photography business (enough to quit my job).

    New Script for Goal 2:
    My work is valuable; when people see my work, they want to hire me.

    Good Automatic Implementation for BOTH Goals:

    As I mentioned in my comment on the previous post, due to working on my photography portfolio at my gym, the owner expressed interest in my work and wanted to sit down with me for a meeting.

    The meeting happened yesterday. The good news is that the owner was blown away by what I was offering; the problem was, however, that she couldn’t afford my rates.

    I considered taking a discount, but I’m a good client for her. I take two of the most expensive classes there each week and spend $100/month for each class. I’ve often told her I’d love to take more classes, but I cannot afford to take any of the other classes, even the cheapest ones that are $10.00 per session. I’ve never asked for a discount, but she’s never offered one when I’ve mentioned I’d take more classes if they were cheaper.

    Suddenly, I remembered Goal #1.

    “Listen,” I said, “I know you can’t afford to pay my fee for this job, even though you really want to hire me. You know that I want to take six classes a week here, even though I can barely afford two. I’m proposing that instead of paying me cash for the assignment, you put the amount I’d charge for the assignment on my account here as a credit so I can take more classes. I’d ask that you do not tell other people about the arrangement, and that I have a link on any online marketing where you use the images, including your website.”

    One written agreement later, I’m pretty much free to take all the classes I want for the rest of the year, and the owner gets high-quality images that she wants. Moreover, since all of the print campaigns are going to be branded with my logo and all of the online images will have a link back to my site, I’m also driving new customers to my business and getting my name and images out to an audience of the studio’s clients. Considering the classes average $25 per session, this is an audience who have disposable income and can afford my work.

    Sure, I’m not a step closer to making $3000 per month (which would completely replace my income from my day job), but my new script is that people who see my work will buy my services–without me doing anything beyond the initial photoshoot. Every time someone visits the studio’s website, sees the studio mentioned in a magazine, or visits the studio and sees the images hanging on the wall, my name and logo will be there. Without effort, I’m getting my images out to people who can afford me.

    Also, because of the studio credit, I’m now enrolled in six classes per week. They’re on my schedule, ready to go, so that I’m now working that much harder toward Goal 1 without having to think about the cost or which classes I’m taking, etc. Now, I check my iPhone, see what I’m doing for that day, and a class is scheduled–through the end of 2011.

  230. OLD SCRIPT: I CAN’T DO ALL OF THE FOLLOWING AT THE SAME TIME:
    (This was my script for many, many years, and I felt like a hamster on a hamster wheel. I would over-focus and make progress in a certain area, but then an emergency would emerge in a neglected area, and I would lose momentum. So it was years of two steps forward, three steps back.)

    1. work a full-time job

    2. practice 2 hrs/day, 5-6 days/week + study with a teacher 2x/week + pursue audition and competition opportunities + study and memorize music + attend rehearsals + perform = all the the work involved in pursuing a career as a classical singer

    3. with business partner, launch small online businesses designed to someday remove the necessity for #1, thus leaving more time and more flexible time for #2

    4. manage the rest of my life (gym, losing weight, social life, financial life, maintaining the day to day)

    NEW SCRIPT: YES, I CAN. HERE’S HOW:
    (I have been transitioning to this new script over the past year, and am tweaking a basically working system now.)

    a. cram my full-time job into 3-4 hours of super-concentrated work per day and don’t get bogged down in repetitive tasks that can be given to my assistant (Note: I am lucky enough to already be a telecommuter.)

    b. remove all logistical barriers to daily singing practice by renting a practice space close to my house where I LOVE TO GO because it is 2 hours of focusing on what I love with no distractions.

    c. schedule other singing tasks at good energy times that still don’t interrupt my good 3-4 hours worth of super-concentrated day job work.

    d. remove logistical barriers to going to the gym by choosing one close to my house and close to my practice room. additionally, i am motivated by interpersonal accountability, so i work out with a trainer.

    e. schedule a weekly meeting with my business partner in which we steadily progress towards launching our first in a series of small online businesses. assignments given during the meeting are due at next week’s meeting. simply having these weekly meetings and assignments has moved our plans forward more in 3 weeks than in the past 3 years of idle discussion. i think this is mostly because having a weekly deadline means we are forced to chop things up into achievable tasks rather than staring at the daunting totality of it.

    f. remove many of the barriers to maintaining an eating plan and losing weight by giving myself fewer choices. on sunday, i shop and cook what i am going to eat for the week. i make it delicious and enticing and adherent to my eating plan. thus, i save A LOT of time during the week not needing to prepare meals, plus i am less likely to “go off plan” because i have already automated the good choices (that i already find delicious and enticing) for the week. i rotate between 3-4 meals per week so i’m less likely to get tired of one thing.

    g. manage the rest of my life by automating as much as possible, and making social/fun time as enjoyable as possible. for me, it’s best to rigorously separate and focus on one thing at once.

    In short, compress “necessary” (day job) work as much as possible, schedule “appointments” to work on personal goals, accurately reflect priorities and good energy times when scheduling, remove logistical barriers and automate whenever possible.

    Easy? No. But the whole system is working now, and progress is being made on all fronts.

  231. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    I want to start to launch my own website business.

    I can easily launch the site by the end of May, if I spend an hour a day working on the site. I will do this by waking up an hour earlier every day and using the time work on action items determined for the week. I will set personal deadlines to make sure the time spent is not wasted. I will break up action items into tasks that take less then an hour to complete.

    This week I created a gaunt chart with personal deadlines and input the major dates into my calendar (with reminders).
    I set up an application on my phone that alerts me when to go to bed, and wakes me up earlier.
    I have convinced a friend to meet with me every sunday night to help review my progress and set realistic goals for the upcoming week.

    Already I have found that I am more productive in the morning, there are less distractions and it is much easier to do work (although Im already drinking more coffee). I also made sure to have a friend review my gaunt chart to ensure my goals are realistic and attainable in the time frame allotted.

  232. Geez out, that’s a lot of comments. Anyway, can you just call it “schema” instead of “scripts”? Maybe it’s an Indian thing, or a Bay area thing… I always have to think of what you’re referring to when you say “scripts”.

  233. Ramit: Damit! Another great blog posting. That’s what I say everytime I read a great blog. I’m a huge reader and would secretly love to write well.

    Old Script: I wish I could write really killer blogs/articles. I get inspired then sit down to write and there is no flow. I get really stuck and nothing gets written. Only frustration. Over and over!

    New Solution: It’s my mission to get into the rhthymn using my own voice and write killer articles/blog.

    I’m taking 5 classes this week on SEO, Blog tools, blog posting with review, and connecting with others through blogging. Today was my third class this week. Gotta start strong!!

    As of today I have written 2 blog posts, retweeked 2 other posts, and applied a few tricks to my profile. (I noticed that I do my best work in the morning). The tools I now know how to use in a post from these classes are: Google maps, images and what to name them, and how to use the Title, first sentence and key words. I’m using a 3rd party blog platform to test out what I’m learning. Eventually will post to my main blog once my skills are sharper. Next week will do a note review from my trainings and implement.

    3rd week will start doing research for trainings or ideas on writing a killer article/blog post. Each week I will be taking notes on what I like in my blog and other blogs I read to track my style. A minmum of 3 blogs will be posted each week to keep my mind and writing flowing.

    The 4th week will be to review the previous 3 weeks looking for strengths and weaknesses. I may need to take some of the classes again since they are so dense with information. Then I will construct another 3-4 week schedule and repeat again and again until I accomplish my goal. I will do this even if it takes me all year to do.

    Thanks for the push! Any ideas for feedback is much appreciated :) Kristine

    • Hey Kristine, it looks like you’re on a roll here! However, if your goal remains to writing excellent blog articles, then I suggest you focus on just that: writing. It’s cool that you are taking classes on using various tools, but I doubt that these activities match up with your intended goal (which is to have a killer blog like Ramit’s). I’ve read and heard from Ramit, Tim Ferriss, and a number of popular bloggers that content is king. Ramit invests 12+ hours writing his guest posts, and I know Tim’s articles could easily be composed into individual books!

      So, if I were you, I’d prioritize my time and effort towards writing content over everything else. If that’s what you’re already doing, then awesome! I wish you the best of luck.

  234. WEEK ONE RESULTS:

    NOTES: I start working on a horror film next week. One of my superiors is one of my favorite film producers and a big player at the film studio where it is my dream to work. They do virtually all their hiring based on internal recommendations. For the next film she produces at my dream studio, she will recommend and hire me.

    SCRIPT: Be so good they can’t ignore you.*

    AUTOMATION: I came up with six initiatives I want to tackle during the course of the filming schedule. Each focuses on a mini-project that is high impact or important to my superiors and will get me noticed. Every 2 weeks, an email is automatically set up to be sent to me on M, W, F, reminding me of the new project for the next 2 weeks and my list of steps to complete it.

    * Adopted from Steve Martin’s autobiography about his comedy career “Born Standing Up.”

  235. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: I am talented, savvy, and experienced enough to make more money on my own by going freelance full time and investing in projects I have tested that I know will generate profitable income without having to rely solely on client work (affiliate lead-gen through media buys directed to landing pages). I have the ability to create a sustainable business and will do so by hiring others to help my projects rather than simply creating another job for myself and unrealistically taking on all the work. I will use relationships to help me learn more and gain support for starting my own business.

    Positive Implementation Results – I have scheduled via email my third lunch for 2011 with an entrepreneur that I look up to and can learn from as they have created a business that does both client work and has other income streams through online marketing in pharmaceutical and medical fields. I have also emailed another entrepreneur I worked on a project with at my previous employer just to let them know I would love to catch up and grab a coffee or lunch with them (one of the original developers of Urchin which got bought by Google and is now Google Analytics, you may have heard of it =). I have posted to Craigslist a job opportunity for someone to help me run AdWords / PPC, SEO, Media Buys and Web Page / Landing page design and Optimization for clients that I have on the side. I will give them a share of the revenue from that and pay them to help me implement projects for myself and teach them how to use these tools to make themselves money. Not a steady salary but a damn good opportunity for them to make money and learn (if you’re not learning while you’re earning you’re missing out on the best part of your compensation – Napoleon Hill). I have dreamed about hiring someone for so long and even just posting the job description on craigslist made it real and feel great to describe exactly what I want. If I don’t get responses on it, I’ll simply change my approach within a week and find a better way to connect with potential candidates. Now I have one lunch date scheduled and waiting for some automated responses from my other contact as well as potential candidates to work on projects with me.

    I did want to comment on Negative Scripts for a moment as well. Just wanted to say how much it pisses me off that people are subconsciously trained through negative scripts to hold back celebrating their accomplishments!

    It’s so easy to join the pity party and sympathize with others to talk about “tough times”. But have you ever noticed it seems more difficult to articulate how well things are going when certain people ask. You tell yourself you don’t want to seem like your boasting or an egotistical narcissist.

    But by holding back feelings of accomplishment and not rewarding yourself with positive emotions you are creating a subconscious negative script. Go celebrate your accomplishments and don’t be afraid to tell people that you are doing OUTSTANDING when they ask. Let them know, you have never been more clear on your chief aims in life and how you are going to get there.

    Otherwise, you have a false positive that holds you back from achieving all the amazing things that are possible in your life. We all need more Ramit’s in our world and less people we hold back from sharing our accomplishments from. They say it’s crowded at the top, in Ramit’s crew, we say f*#k that, it’s crowded at the bottom and we’re going straight to the top!

  236. Ramit, I spent a lot of time on this and attempted to be brutally honest about what script has been holding me back the most. I arrived at two “old scripts” and created a hybrid new script for destroying them.

    Old Script 1: I want to accomplish —> list of impossibly long things in impossibly short period of time.
    Old Script 2: OK is good enough until I figure out exactly what I want to do with my life/time/job. Once I know that, then I can go for it.
    Old Result: Get overwhelmed. Do nothing or worse exhaust myself doing the tasks generating the most “noise” in my life.

    New Script: Underestimate what you will do in a day. Overestimate what you can accomplish in a year.

    Step 0. Prioritize top ‘X’ plans in order of importance. Caveat: Cannot deviate from this prioritization for 90 days.

    Preparation:
    Step 1. Post priorities somewhere visible so I am reminded every morning what my top priorities are
    Step 2. Set one ambitious goal in each category for 90 and 180 days respectively
    Step 3. Establish easily quantifiable and easily recordable metrics in top categories (the more the better but not so many that you are just tracking metrics)

    Automation:
    Step 4. Set brutally realistic attainable goals to be met every day by writing a short list on a post-it note before bed. COVER MY PHONE screen with this note. DO NOT LOOK AT MY PHONE UNTIL I HAVE MADE MEASURABLE MOVEMENT TOWARD THIS SIMPLE GOAL.
    Step 5. Set quarterly check-in calendar reminder. On this day bask in the glory of what went right, tweak what went wrong, re-organize priorities and set new goals if needed.

  237. I have been talking about starting my own business for a year now. I even had a lot of good ideas I would do some day. I spent the last year working a bit for my mother-in-law on the side doing some website and office efficiency work. When I read your email I decided that this is the year of new beginnings. I no longer wanted to look back and say I should have done something. In a little over a week, I have successfully determined a company name, designed a logo, built a website and started talking to friends about some services they could use. My action plan is to take the next action every day. I am big on GTD so I have been laying out all the things necessary to start and working on the things I believe are of the highest priority. I needed a web presence and name to point people to when they asked. My next step is to build a script on the services that I offer and why the customer would benefit from them. My idea is to offer a website with 5 pages of content including a contact form and a google map. In addition I would set them up on google apps for mail and document creation and collaboration. The contact form feeds a google spreadsheet which they can use to track leads. Later this data may be used as a sales tool for follow ups. All this can be used for the cost of a domain name, hosting service and my fixed bid $400 – $900 price based on complexity. I want to give the customer something that they know the end price. The hourly rate is always tough since the customer doesn’t always know what they are going to pay in the end. I have an accountability partner I go to lunch with every week to validate my ideas and to offer feedback.
    Ramit you have really helped me to take action by your hustle idea. This has been the most excited I have been in a while. I read your book and look forward to more action.

  238. 1. Made 3 appointments for the next week
    2. Scheduled an appointment to make the rest of the months’ appointments
    3. Set up a place to capture new/evolving ideas
    4. Added 4 items to idea list

  239. This probably isn’t the sexiest auto-script technique, but I’ve used this for the last 2 days and felt myself becoming much more productive.

    1. Day before @ 4:00 PM on Google Calendar: I schedule 3 events (for 10:00 am next day) that are modified to send me an email reminder at 9:50.

    2. The 3 events are split thus:
    a. Tomorrow’s goal for my start-up. (Very specific ex: email Beth + others to get a MaRS contact)
    b. Tomorrow’s goal for my eBook. (Write pg #16, “How do People know YOU”)
    c. The words “You’ve got it in the bag dude, get this shit done.”

    That’s it, just those two steps. I get up just past 9, and am on my computer by 10. I check my email first thing (a bad habit I know), and the 3 emails have (so far) been the first three emails in my box.

    Not sexy, I know, but it allows me to instantly snap focus on the most mission-critical to-do’s.

    Cheers all,

    Kevin

  240. I almost forgot the most important part:

    I hustled hubby into taking the dog to his standing 9:00 EST play date so that I could attend the webcast :-)

  241. OLD SCRIPT: “This client/boss sucks but I can’t leave because I’m stuck in a contract/this job. This is only going to get worse unless I quit (less money).”

    SHIFT IN THINKING: If you’re stuck in a job/client contract and they are for whatever reason making your life hell, there’s a number of things you can do than telling them off, trying to ruin their reputation or ruining yours. You can suck it up.
    No matter what you do, you can’t change your boss/the client. You have no control over them. You DO have control over YOU. You can:
    -Make yourself flexable
    -Give them the benefit of the doubt
    -They probably didn’t do anything morally, ethically, or legally wrong so really your “bad” situation is a matter of your own selfish preference.

    I’ve worked for a boss who we all thought worked for the devil, but I protected her reputation and made myself flexible – and we now have a GREAT relationship and she has sent me a TON of work. My colleague is still on bad terms and is struggling because she has sent me all the side work instead of him.

    Successful shift in Invisible Script.

    • So I was so anxious to show how I implemented my script automation that I forgot the heading (may be a disqualifier like a high-school test, but I just want to be safe…)

      WEEK 1 RESULTS

      OLD SCRIPT: “This client/boss sucks but I can’t leave because I’m stuck in a contract/this job. This is only going to get worse unless I quit (less money).”

      NEW SCRIPT: “I will continually give the client/boss the benefit of the doubt and protect their reputation to keep healthy business relationship with them AND potentially their network (much more money).”

  242. With a husband, 2 kids, and a growing business, my default was to feel overwhelmed. Now when I find myself getting that way, I just repeat internally, “I have enough time.” It’s just like the Earn1k mantra about having enough time to build that side business (or in my case, that main business) — we all have enough time to do it. That simple reminder about having enough time breaks my panic just long enough to refocus me on the most important activities of the day — for business, I prioritize the revenue generating activities and a balance of short-term and long-term revenue generating at that. I do use the Earn1k Not To Do list as a reminder, (e.g., I try to stop updating my website ad nauseam!). I have landed three very diverse 5-figure deals in the last few months by becoming laser focused on revenue opportunities amidst the chaos. Amidst the chaos, I have enough time.

  243. Wow, that webinar was really eye-opening. The new script that I will follow is linked to a lack of insight I had into what is really going on…

    I have interviewed at many places, and had rarely gotten requests for follow-up. I didn’t think much of it, reasoning (and following the invisible script) that “if they didn’t contact me, there was not a great deal that I could do.”

    Now, I will go back and contact those interviewers (many from years ago…) and ask them what issues I may have had during my interviews—what went wrong, what I could do better. Now, this is embarrassing (especially since I work in a field where “everyone knows everyone”), but it must be done. As I think more about it, THEY know how I’ve screwed up, they talk to their peers (my other potential employers), but only *I* am left in the dark. How dumb could I have been? But no longer—now I will ask, and hopefully apply their responses for future opportunities.

  244. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Previous script: if there’s something that needs to be done, wait till later when you’re in the mood.That way, I’ll be more productive when I get to it.

    New script: List the 3 most important things that come to mind at the start of the day and get it done before I leave the office. Doesn’t matter

    Results:
    - Got my ass off and phoned my credit card company to fix a late fee charge using your script
    - Thought about two old acquaintances from college who happen to be successful. Happen to drop them each an email each and we’re now corresponding.
    - Got this darn script thing done (and finally posted a comment here)

  245. I’ve known I would like to work in the exciting area of Internet startups for a while now, but I’ve done absolutely nothing about it for years. Partly inspired by this new direction for 2011, and having seen a post on HN about Hitelite, I joined an upcoming event. For 2 hours, I spoke with 20+ startups for 5 minutes each and a couple hours later, 4 had indicated they would like to follow up with me. I am now in the process of scheduling phone interviews with each of them.

    If nothing pans out, I will prepare better for the next event on Feb 15th.

  246. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    new invisible script of success: “People will pay me to do what I love”

    automation tactic:

    spending one hour / day networking with people and organizations I would love to write for.

    When I don’t, the husband has been instructed to make me sleep out in the bike shed (in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin) with only a mediocre sleeping bag and one of our wimpy cats to protect me from potential rodents.

    My husband’s a stinker about following through on these kinds of things, so it’s been quite effective so far.

    implementation results:

    See ending of last sentence above, plus…. My piddly little caregiving blog was added to a major columnist’s blogroll this week, and she sent me a personal comment about enjoying my writing. Wahoo!

  247. Previous script “i have too much stuff to do in a day, i can’t focus on my big idea”

    New script “i will do one thing a day”

    Automation: set up an iphone alert for 8:30am in the morning, when i ride the subway, as a time when i will set 1 simple task for the day, that only takes 30 minutes to complete. Set up another alert for 11pm, before bedtime, to review and check the done item off the list.

  248. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    This is a copy of my post from monday – results are at the bottom :)

    “Mallory January 10, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I recently quit my day job to go freelance fulltime. I absolutely love it and am slowly starting to get more clients. My script is:

    I want to have a more professional image.

    Today I bought a domain name for a blog to go along with my website. I would like to start and picked out a great templet for it.

    Tomorrow I will pick out a design for my business cards and send it to get printed. I will also research similar blogs and form a list of ideas for my first few blog posts.

    Wednesday I will take a few hours and update my website to match my blog, make it cleaner and more professional looking. I will also put the blog online.

    Thursday I will spend a few hours writing my first post and a few drafts of future posts (I am not a natural writer so this will take some time at first).

    Friday I will post my first blog post and share it with my clients, friends, and family.

    My automation:

    I will spend an hour every morning (from 9am to 10am) writing posts.
    & Every monday and thursday I will spend 30 mins promoting my blog.”

    MY RESULTS:

    Found a printer for my business cards who will put a different picture of my work on every card, so I’ll pretty much have my portfolio in my pocket at all times! Bonus is its inexpensive too! I’m just waiting for my retoucher to get the images back to me then they’ll be sent straight to the printer :)

    Since monday I’ve spent time everyday planning out my blog. I’ve got the pages down, research done, ideas for posts and a bit of content written, and have the look I want for my website all figured out and ready to be launched with my blog on friday (I didn’t put the site up today as I decided it would be a better idea to launch the new site and blog together instead of on different days).

    Thanks for the advice Ramit :)

  249. Old Script: I want to lose 60 lb in 6 months

    Action Script:

    Weight: 240lb
    Height: 6′ 3″
    Basal Metabolic Rate: 2357.3 cal/day
    Target Weight: 180lb

    To reach my target of 180 lb in six months, I need to lose 10lb a month, or roughly 2.5 lbs a week. I will lose this through a combination of exercise and dieting.

    FOOD (3600 calories):
    I understand my psychology/habits a bit and recognize that I have trouble not eating what I want. To make it easier on myself, I’m going to adhere to what I call conscious eating:

    (1) pre-plan my meals (i.e., lunch meat sandwich, peanut butter sandwich)
    By pre-planning my meals, I can calculate the calories I will consume before hand, much like knowing where my money’s going.

    (2) reduce my meal/snack options
    By having the same meals consistently, I will prevent myself from wandering outside my job to find food, which can lead to overeating.

    (3) keep low-calorie snacks close to my person
    By keeping low-calorie snacks near me, I will prevent myself from going to the snack room or cabinet and eating high-calorie food.

    (4) drink 1 glass (8 oz) of water before eating anything
    It’s been shown that drinking water before your meal will begin the 20 minute “meal cycle,” and reduce your appetite.

    (5) drink no calorie drinks
    I’m not focusing on being healthy right now, so diet sodas and the like are fine. I’m already used to the flavor.

    (6) Have one “let it go” meal a week
    It will feel like I’m treating myself, and it begin to drive the point that having a calorie-heavy meal should be a treat, not a norm.

    By following the conscious eating plan, I won’t be relying on my will power; instead, I will take steps that allow me to be lazy and still eat right. With this and eating 500 calories below my BMR (i.e., 1857.3 calories/day), I will lose 1lb a week.

    EXERCISE (5100 calories):
    I ran an “experiment” last week, by workout as often as possible to see what I’m comfortable with. With that data, the following plan is reasonable:

    (1) Run 30 min/day, 4 days/week (2000 calories)
    I’ve tested this out last week by running 4 days in a row. I’m confident I can keep up this pace, even if I have to runs into intervals

    (2) Bike 30 min/day, 4 days/week (2100 calories)
    Biking is more enjoyable, so I won’t have trouble maintaining this schedule

    (3) Weight lift 30 min/day 2 days/week (500 calories)
    By weight lifting, I increase muscle mass, which requires more energy to maintain. Doing this will increase my BMR.

    Total: 8700 calories (~2.5lb)

  250. Week 1 Results
    Old Script: To be productive I need to have access to the web wherever I am. I need to use willpower to not waste time on the internet and focus on tasks.
    New Script: I will approach the internet the way a guy approaches a mall: know what I need, get in, grab it and get out.

    Automation:
    1. As an experiment, I disabled internet access at my home. Only having it at my work area encourages me to procrastinate less when I’m on.
    2. I implemented Leechblock on my laptop to limit my time on groups of websites that I procrastinate with (food blogs and facebook) and reduce the frequency of email checks from compulsive to necessary.

    Results:
    I got more done on the internet – I finally did the series of web tutorials on Joomla to allow me to finish my business sites. I got more done off the internet – read a couple of books that have been sitting on the shelf for weeks. I don’t know if the non-internet home thing will be feasible long term, but the change in mentality toward it is a good thing.

  251. Script: I want to submit three new patterns to potential publishers in the next three weeks.
    Automation script: I will set aside an hour each day from 7 to 8 p.m. to work on each of my creations. On the seventh day, I will photograph and label the completed piece so it can be submitted to publishers.

  252. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    Old negative script: “I’m swamped. I don’t have enough time to go to the bathroom, never mind bring in more income for my family on the side.”
    New positive script: “My time is valuable currency. I can either use it to help my family or take away from it. It’s completely up to me how I spend it.”

    Goal: Figure out where all my time really goes and fix what’s broken in preparation for introducing new high-value activities.

    With a very demanding full time job 45 minutes away (which I enjoy), and a husband and two small boys at home, my free time is currently very limited. And yet, I have managed to take on nearly all household responsibilities and child care management, and I’m exhausted. With all that I’m doing, adding in something new will mean something else doesn’t get done. I need to prioritize and then delegate, automate, or drop responsibilities to carve out the time I need for the value-add activities (and go to the bathroom).

    –Define the problem–
    Here’s what I’ve done (with the help of extra time from an unexpected snow day today!):

    - Calculated about how much time I have at home during the week (22 hours) and the weekends (28 hours). Total = 50 hours.
    - Listed all of my responsibilities/activities to keep the household running. (Good God)
    - Identified the “Big Wins” from that list, i.e. those things that a) take big chunks of my time during the week and b) are not Mommy-specific or those that I alone possess special skills to do. These are:
    * planning and preparing meals for the family every weeknight, including a separate baby’s meal, and all weekend.
    * tracking food supplies and going grocery shopping
    * laundry for the whole household.
    * cleaning, cleaning, cleaning…
    * researching the sh*t out of every purchase we make. From the $30 humidifiers we bought to the $2500 flat screen. I could spend weeks trying to make a decision of which thing to buy, and then spend another 3 days finding the right retailer with the lowest price. It’s nuts.

    –Brainstorm solutions–
    Here’s what I’ve decided to implement. The ones I’ve marked ** are the ones I’ve already done.:

    - **Create a system with the family for rotating dinner ownership. There are 3 adults living in our house who are all perfectly capable of making dinner. With 7 nights per week, we each get one night to prepare a decent meal. Make one night for leftovers, one night for pizza and movie night, and the other two are the weekend so we will plan ad hoc for who will be around. On Sunday night, I will write up the weekly menu and post it, collect the lists of ingredients, and make a grocery list.
    - Hang a white board in the kitchen. When someone uses the last of something, that person has to write it down. It will be added to the grocery list.
    - Set up and fund a grocery account. Give the debit card to the child care provider to go grocery shopping during the week for the items on the list and use it as a teaching experience for the boys.
    - **Hire a cleaning service.
    - **Meet with the child care provider and give her a daily goal for returning the house to the state in which she found it. (Huge time savings and so much less anger on my part when I don’t walk into to a destroyed house every day.)
    - **Set a time limit on online research. Hubby and I agreed to 15 minutes for every $100 a product costs (roughly). That’s like saying my fee is $400/hour. So, if something costs $2500, I get a little more than 6 hours total to find exactly what we want to buy. $30? Go to consumerreports.org and just buy the top CR best buy. And we’re going to be held accountable by each other.

    –Conclusion–
    Even if I choose to use only 4 hours of my new found time to dedicate to a new venture, it’s 4 more hours than I’ve had in ages and I can use it to start to move in the direction I want to go.

  253. Where I Was At: I’m pretty happy, comfortable and content with my life. That’s a bad thing. I haven’t made any great progress towards my goals and I’ve settled for mediocrity. So, I’m fixing this with a very simple script that is being used in two divergent directions.

    Script: I will spend 10 minutes a day DOING something to further my career, life and/or create my side-business.

    It seems so simple, yet it’s been insanely effective so far. My biggest problem is that I, like many here, consider myself smart and am afraid of failure. The result is I over-think, over-analyze and spend all my time planning and no time executing. I force myself to spend ten minutes doing something, often out of my comfort zone.

    Forcing myself to just 10 minutes, I want to use them effectively so I’ve used various IWTYTBR techniques to do the following:
    1.) Set up an appointment with my company heads and made a presentation on why they need to pay me more. I earned a 20% raise for about 30 minutes of work.
    2.) Started certifications and trainings to ensure I’ll progress even further in my career, so I can earn that 20% raise again soon.
    3.) Set up a few ideas for a side-business. Tore some ideas down, pursued one. I’ve gained two clients and my first “employee”.
    4.) Set up a savings account to start automating my finances so I can spend more time planning my ten minutes.
    5.) Won an iPad from Ramit for this post.

    I could go more into the specifics, the techniques used (Briefcase technique, the book, planning for failure) but I’ll save those for my reply to your congratulations email!

    Oh, and thanks for the help.

  254. Negative Script: “Now that I have a clearly defined goal, I should decide what to do first in order to accomplish that goal.”

    Why is this one of the worst kinds of negative scripts? Because it actually sounds like an incredibly Positive Script ─ but it’s often just a recipe for failure.

    We all know how exciting it is to have a really cool, really specific goal (whether it’s starting a business, writing a book, etc.), and we’re impressed when we meet others who have them, too. Even more impressive: seeing people decide how they’re going to take action to accomplish those goals.

    But how many times have you heard (or uttered) some version of this monologue: “Hey, I’ve got this pretty cool idea for something I want to accomplish. Now I just need to figure out what to do first. Should I do this, or should I do this, or should I do that? Hmmm. Maybe I should read a bunch of books on the topic, then I’ll know what to do first. But wait, which books? Oh, I know what I’ll do! I’ll ask my friends which books I should read, then I’ll know what to do first to accomplish my goal.” And down the rabbit hole.

    This script feels proactive, yet often leads to nothing more than a sad trail of fizzled out, unfinished projects. Personally, I’d been down this road many times. And when things didn’t work out, I’d dismiss solid ideas as deficient or blame myself (“If only I hadn’t been so lazy, I would have come up with a solid plan and gotten things done.”) Admittedly, some of the time, those assessments were spot-on. A lot of my ideas over the years have sucked. Likewise, there were instances when I was lazy and opportunities were squandered. But there have been FAR more times when I would have been successful had I simply tossed the Negative Script and employed the Positive Script below.

    A quick point before The Big Reveal: curiously, it often seems easier to come up with fresh new ideas than it does to formulate a strategy to accomplish any one of the exciting ideas we’ve already come up with. Worse, lack of a solid plan to accomplish a goal often leads to a scattershot approach wherein you quickly begin to feel like you’re flailing around, grasping for a rescue device that isn’t really there [Ramit’s written about this before: the people who hurry and set up Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for their businesses and who start looking into LLCs before they’ve even determined if there’s a market for their product or service, etc.].

    So here it is:

    Positive Script: “Now that I have a clearly defined goal, I will determine what to do first by working backwards from the goal, not forwards to it.”

    This one slight change in mindset can yield huge results, and rather than running out of ideas as to how proceed on a given project, you’ll find your “To Do” list growing rapidly. In fact, it can be difficult to write them down as fast as you can think of them.

    Author Steven Pressfield has a great piece on this very approach entitled “Start at the End” (you can find a link to his piece at the bottom of this comment). While Pressfield’s piece is primarily focused on how writers can use this approach, he notes: “It works for anything ─ novels, plays, new-business pitches, music albums, choreography. It works if you’re Lady Gaga, it works if you’re Mother Teresa. First figure out where you want to finish. Then work backwards from there.”

    [Pressfield articulates this concept better than I ever could, and I highly recommend reading his piece.]

    I’ve used this Positive Script on everything from writing projects to remodeling a bathroom to learning how to play complex jazz arrangements on the piano. And what I’ve found is, the more complex and involved the endeavor, the more likely this Positive Script is to generate results.

    One last thing and then I’ll shut up: I should note that, even after I began implementing this Positive Script, it took me a while to come to terms with how paralyzing the Negative Script I had followed for so long actually was ─ simply because I hadn’t thought of it as “a negative.” Like I said earlier, this is one of the worst kinds of Negative Scripts because it actually feels like an incredibly Positive Script. And even after I started thinking backwards from goals instead of forward to them, I still thought of my former approach as simply “not as good as my new approach.” Because sometimes, for whatever reason, the Negative Script does work (and a broken clock is right twice day, too). Seeing consistent results with this Positive Script eventually helped me realize that it wasn’t a matter of degree. It was a matter of polar opposites.

    Thanks for reading.

    Here’s the link to Pressfield’s piece:

    http://www.stevenpressfield.com/2010/06/start-at-the-end/

  255. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Sometimes we can learn best from our past unintentional successes. This exercise reminded me of an old invisible script that went something like “Oh I could never work out at lunch.” About 8 months ago, when presented with a discount to join a local gym through work, I jumped! What I didn’t realize was how I was going to manage getting there before/after work (as I’ve always done and would always do) with the gym being so far from home. There I was with a gym membership to a gym 30 miles from home, 4 blocks from work. So I packed my gym bag one day, ready for anything, readjusting the script. It felt strange at first. I sweat, I rejuvenated, I showered, and I made it back to my desk without a hiccup. The next day I did the same thing. And the next day too. It began to feel comfortable. Eight months later and I couldn’t think of being anywhere else during lunch. I absolutely love my newfound workout time. I found that even as the frigid temps of winter set in and my 4 block walk seemed like an olympic event, it was automatic. I just did it. An unintentional success. Deliberately woven into my fabric.

    Now with intention…
    NEGATIVE SCRIPT: Private physicians aren’t likely to be interested in considering the role of nutrition in their practice.
    POSITIVE SCRIPT: Chiropractic practitioners are likely interested in enhancing the role of nutrition in their practice.
    AUTOMATION:
    1. Prep: Brainstorm questions. Compile a list of local chiros. Draft email template [Jump]
    2. Execute: Each evening, reach out by completing email template and send to a new chiro on the list. [Deliberately weave]
    3. Assess: After 14 days, review responses, reevaluate methods as needed, and let the automatic behavior of reaching out in confidence take root and grow branches. [Find Comfort]

  256. Life Altering Change: Reduce frequency of migraines

    My script automation isn’t about money. Not yet, at least. At the moment my goal is to reduce the number of migraines I get so that I can go for two months with full paychecks. I’ve had migraines my entire adult life, and they get worse as I age. I have so many I generally count the pain-free days instead of counting the migraines. And in any given pay period I am typically OFF for more days than I accumulate sick time and vacation time, so my paychecks are always short of my potential. Way short. My goal is to go for 4 pay periods with full paychecks, 4 in a row.

    So, this new doctor has put me on a 3-legged regimen: daily medication, deep relaxation, and cardio exercise. This is evidence-based medicine; there are significant studies linking relaxation and cardio with reduction in frequency and intensity of migraine pain. Now, the daily meds are easy to automate – one with breakfast, one at bedtime, and an alarm at 4pm for the 3rd. But the other two . . .

    Relaxation
    I had no good way* to listen to the relaxation mp3 they provided until someone gifted me with a hand-me-down iPhone. Genius! Since it has to charge anyway, the iPhone goes into the clock-radio dock at night, which is conveniently located WAIT FOR IT right by my meditation station, aka my bed. Combine that with a simple alarm setting, and I have now been doing a nightly relaxation exercise for almost 3 whole weeks.

    Cardio
    This was harder to figure out, but in the end the solution was similar. At the moment I can’t do any weight-bearing exercise – torn MCL in left knee, but I’m dealing with that in PT. Wait, in PT they have me warming up for 15 minutes on an exercise bike. Wait, I *have* an exercise bike. . . .collecting dust in the garage. And it’s freezing cold out there! So, uh, duh – yeah, it took me a while to clue in, but I brought it inside this week, and have made it part of my morning routine – make bed, feed dogs, watch Jon Stewart while I ride the bike.

    In the end it was LOCATION that enabled my AUTOMATION – iphone by bed, bike by my TV. I just had to figure out what my psychological barriers were – once I did that the solutions became quite clear.

    Last pay period I was 1.49 hours away from a full timecard. 80 hours, here I come!

    * It’s interesting to me is that I could easily have purchased a cheapo used ipod for ~$30, then the dock, but I didn’t because waaah, I didn’t know if I’d like the form factor, what about other non-apple mp3 players, etc. It wasn’t until someone forced the choice for me, ie, a free iphone, that I made the rest of the solution fit around it.

  257. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    SCRIPT: As a financial analyst who has invested his own money for over decade, I’m ready to launch my own hedge fund. Since raising enough capital is usually the factor that decides whether a fund lives or dies, I will secure $2.5M of commitments from 10 accredited / qualified investors within 12 months.

    IMPLEMENTATION:
    In order to secure 10 accredited / qualified (that’s industry speak for wealthy) that will, on average, commit $250K to my fund, I estimate needing to reach out to a minimum of 100 potential investors.

    The first 6 months I plan to spend identifying these 100 potentials, and depositing goodwill / hustle into these newly opened “relationship bank accounts.” With 26 weeks in 6 months I need to identify, take genuine interest in and deliver value to approximately 3 to 4 potential investors a week. Since I plan to find many of these leads through SEC filings, I should be able identify stocks that these potential seed investors own, perform some unique research on these holdings, and share it with these leads. All the time offering to give follow-up insights if they’re interested, and scheduling lunches with those who are within driving distance (flying distance for the bigger names).

    I plan to spend 1 hour on Mondays researching and identifying leads, 1 – 2 hour(s) on Wednesdays finding something of value to offer to these potentials, and finally spend 1 hour on Fridays sharing value with them (whether through the mail, email, or phone).

    Only after building some level of trust with these individuals over the first six months will I consider pitching my specific ideas and goals with them (unless they personally inquire sooner). The first six months is totally about them and how I can be of help.

    AUTOMATION:
    1) Public Shame: I’ve told three colleagues about my goal(s) and have asked them to check in with my progress once a month. I’ve given them permission to make fun of me if I can’t either verbalize real progress or if I make any excuses.

    2) Monetary reward / risk: Create monthly monetary “commitment contract” on Stickk.com on whether I reach my goals (# of people I need to identify and actually reach out to). If I reach my monthly goal(s), I must use the money on something enjoyable. If I fall short, I must use the money to take individuals who can help me achieve this goal out to lunch or coffee… and it must be spent within the first 15 days of the following month.

    3) I have scheduled into Outlook and my iPhone alarm my Monday farming, Wednesday researching, and Friday reaching-out sessions. Will use followup.cc to remind me to follow-up anytime I reach out to a potential investor by email.

    4) I have already opened up a Zoho CRM account and have begun to build a database of my leads which I use during my scheduled “working the sales funnel” times.

    5) Every Sunday night before the new week starts, make it a ritual to write one thing that was not effective last week, and one thing that worked well … then commit to eliminating the ineffective behavior and replacing it with a new technique. Also, commit on topping and intensifying the thing that did work.

  258. Week 1 Results

    I posted early that I would work on my film plans.

    So I spent the 2 hours finishing the plans, working the phones and scheduling pre-production meetings. The results…

    4 Completed Film Plans
    1 Film Plan pending on a meeting with the onsite contact, scheduled Friday Afternoon
    2 third parties who have begun preparations for their interviews.
    and plans emailed off to Director for approval this morning.
    Satisfaction in a job well done.

    Failed:
    3 Film plans that i didn’t have time to follow up on. Oh well.

    I have to say, it’s a great feeling to finish up like this. Now this still feels like a big effort, but hopefully with practice, it will become second nature.

    Big up Ramit!!

  259. stuff This is a link and more stuff

    Delete Me :)

  260. Fantastic!

    Big picture: I’m going to write a book about motivating from Joy by using the body as a divining rod. Immediate need: to fill my schedule with coaching clients so I can do the work I love and gather research to know exactly what kind of book I need to write for them.

    Monday I contacted 6 people I really like to schedule coaching sessions.

    Results: One person said not now because her plate is too full, but said she really wants to connect with me. I know we’ll get together another time.

    The other 5 replied quickly to schedule appointments.

    Results: I have a full week this week, and only 2 openings next week. I feel confident, motivated and energized because I got some shit rolling. I’m in a great place psychologically to contact 6 more people tomorrow to fill those remaining 2 slots next week and into the next. And as a bonus, unanticipated result of that positive energy, I’ve written more on my blog, engaged more on Twitter and sent an email to my list. By contacting people I authentically want to engage with, I’m creating more value for everyone.

    Boom.

  261. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    Script: I want to move to Liverpool England, even though I’m an American
    BAD Implementation (what I was doing) I guess I should look for jobs on UK job sites and fix up my resume. Look at moving the cats.. pretty much make lists but not move forward, just feel overwhelmed.

    Good Implementation (what I’ve been doing the last 2 weeks) Break
    down each major task into a 15 minute task a day. If I get more than 15 minutes of work done, great. Otherwise at least I moved forward.
    Monday:
    Only look at big or high tech firms since they are the only ones interested in moving people that far. Went on Wikipedia and found out their mini-version of silicon valley. Got a list of companies to apply to.
    Tuesday:
    Two of the companies listed had job postings which required skills that I had, but weren’t in my cover letter
    Wednesday:
    Called professional pet moving service and had 20 minute conversation about moving cats and associated fees

  262. Positive script: I can automate my marketing of my consulting services and create more time and room for other things (building relationships, health and well-being, etc.)

    Automate: Set up my existing database of past clients, current clients, past referral sources, current referral sources to email out excellent informational articles on my services and generate and email out helpful tips and advice to my referral sources on how to build their business.

    Results: I’ve been receiving very solid referrals for the last five years of doing this and my business keeps growing as my database grows.

    Positive Script #2: I can be more creative with automating content and create a more robust online presence.

    Automate: 1.) Create videos of past clients and referral sources speaking about my services, how easy it was, the needs they had before they hired me, the trust they put in me, and the successful outcome and end result. 2.) Create videos of myself discussing my services and the benefits of using me. 3.) Upload videos to be emailed out to entire database. 4.) To me this is most important step although not automated: follow up with phone call to key referral sources to see if they watched video and, if so, what they thought of it and if they can take a meeting with me.

    Results: TBD

  263. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Negative: I can’t utilize social media, I’m a terrible writer

    Positive: I am more influential than I think

    Automation: I will launch a social media campaign promoting my photography services and products by January 30, 2011. Over the next 2 days I’ll research blog platforms and integration with my current website. Will schedule 1 hour daily to develop content and featured products.

  264. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    (REALLY, JUST TWO DAYS!)

    1. Wrote from 9-10:30AM — yes, I lsitened to the Theme from Rocky!
    2. Applied for reduced fees for 2 Writer’s Groups (waiting for result from one, other not approved)
    3. Registered to volunteer for one organization at the national level for networking opps (waiting for membership & assignment)
    4. Applied for scholarships to 2 private Writing Workshops (waiting for results)5. Contacted Department Chairs and professors at 2 college programs
    6. Created list of Top Ten media outlets to ask for informational mtgs.
    7. Sent out emails to former employers for paid PR project jobs (one away, one needs followup)
    8. Joined mint.com
    9. Read ramit, tim and erica
    10. Watched tonight’s class with Noah
    11. Ordered Ramit’s book (I have no shame!)
    12. Created business cards for freelance jobs
    13. Plotted out idea for web-business

  265. I’ve been doing this a little while… based on things from you and others actually… I hope it counts because it’s my one major script right now.. this is pretty personal.

    What didn’t work before: I’m the QUEEN of imposter syndrome – and have a hard time not believing that it is sheer luck which has landed me where I am today. I love my school, but I know if I had not suffered from IS the way I do I wouldn’t be in the debt I am now, would have gone somewhere else for undergrad and maybe grad, would have had more publications, etc. etc. etc. In the last year or so I have been on a rampage against that IS – and one of the first people I found who said things which helped me attack it was Ramit. Which is weird since I’m a research psychologist, who should be getting her PhD in May. So… with that in mind… what I am trying to do now with my life feels like climbing Everest – but in a good way.

    GOAL: I want to teach @ the college level, do applied research, and be with the person who means the most to me… which means moving to no-opportunity-AZ. I’ve been told this is all mutually exclusive. I am going against any and all advice I have gotten about how to pursue an academic career and what truly independent women are supposed to do to be fulfilled.
    SCRIPT: Screw advice that doesn’t suit my goals, I know people need people as much as they need fulfillment. I happen to think finding someone I want to be with enough to supposedly jeopardize my career is WAY harder than creating my own success. So that’s my real script: I am creating my own success.

    Implementation:
    Mondays I review results of automatic searches on relevant sites that deliver postings to me and add them to my job notebook.

    Tuesday I check in with my reviewer (I pick a new one per job/week usually – it’s allowed me to get multiple revisions in) for my application materials and make any revisions. Can I just say how important this has been? For one – different people have helped me stay sane for all kinds of different things I’ve had them review – like helping me keep my first formal teachign evals in perspective when I naturally wanted to go off the deep end and focus on the negative.

    Wednesday I review networking connections I have in the area I will be moving to and write e-mails to keep those relationships fresh, setting them up to send out randomly (that way they don’t know I have my networking on a schedule!). So far this has netted me 2 informal interviews, an offer of an unpaid but prestigious as hell research position (which = University access to the department I want to be in eventually), and I’ve been told I have balls by a department head in a a business department (high praise in my eyes). :D I’m interested to see what keeps happening with this stuff, this week one of my main connections sent me a new connection!

    Thursday I usually write down any new ideas I have managed to come up with for things I can do in the area I plan to live if I don’t manage to land an elusive traditional position. That list is starting to look good. It keeps me going when the agony of this job search and my PhD threaten to bring me down.

    Friday I usually work on applications due the next week – if there are any…

    The weekend is when I try to let go of the hustle and just be sure I’m ready for the week ahead.

    Assessment – I keep my job notebook which has every posting, every application material sent, every contact, etc. in it. Just to be sure I see and remember what I am doing – and what distinguishes this process from ‘luck’.

  266. This morning I wrote another script before hitting the slopes.

    Automate my scripts for Deaflympics this morning:

    “Today I will pratice 3 back to back 540′s I will stop and take a one hitter to improve my technique on one hit to focus on getting better on technique. I will practice all switch riding. I will attempt a 720. I will attempt a switch 540.”

    Week 1 Results: Today I did practice all those, I failed at the 720. I did attempt a backside 540 on the right side wall, that is a bit closer to 720, not yet there but it’s close. I yet have to get my 540s dialed down. I still am going off way too early and hesitating with my speed. I got video feedback again today so I was able to see clearly what my mistakes were. Overall I was happy with my practice today I was not too conservative and I failed some tricks and that means I was pushing myself. Without getting seriously hurt which is a major setback in any way.

    Another script that I am doing now which is related to making money. I am testing out affiliate marketing program to see if I can make money without having to work a regular job and I have committed myself to 30 minutes a day. I track my results day by day keeping record of what I got from each 30 minutes. (I started this last week on Jan 6th).

    Results: I have learned a lot about web marketing and google searches and that there are a ton of products that are selling online that I’ve never heard of. So far I have been able to keep up that 30 minutes. Some days I can work more on it, sure no problem, some days I miss it because of something but the previous day I worked a bunch of hours on it. My tracking shows what I learn each day so that’s a nice review process for me. If I fall behind I can catch up, etc and see where I am at in the course. I can also know exactly if I am getting anything worthwhile out of the course or not.

    My takeaway is that I should do a script every morning before heading out to snowboard practice or the night before and send it as a email to my pager so I can review it while I am on the hill and that is what I did today. I checked that message like 3 or 4 times today.

    Scripts are like goals/beliefs interwoven, and they blend together. Another takeaway is that without realizing it, I believe that I am not good enough to be a champion snowboarder is the opposite of my success script so I actively look at the positive side of every run rather than thinking negative that I “failed” in a bad way. This helps me look at constructive feedback to figure out what I can do better or what I did that caused my failures.

  267. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    UPDATE: Just got a call from my network, talked to a friend who is a CFP about a possible internship with me and the CFP asked for me to call him tomorrow. Sweeeet!!

  268. So the only negative script that keeps running through my head is that I can’t change education by being a teacher.

    A little bit about me

    I have worked in New York City at two schools over the past 5 years. I went through undergrad with the plan of being a teacher, and I plan on doing it until I’m convinced that I can better serve the world doing something else. As a teacher, there is a institutional practice that people sort of ignore what goes on in other classrooms, except for the principal. Principals of course rarely have meaningful discussions about classroom practice outside of bi-annual evaluations unless a teacher has serious deficiencies. Superintendents and other politicians have limited time to try to really see the long term outcomes of their choices, or consider the benefits of considering system wide change. Despite the hegemonic pressure to maintain the current system, I’m passionate in wanting to see things fixed, and have always hoped that in some small way I could affect the education conversation in America. I want to hustle for education, I want to hustle so I can be part of making a better system.

    Now: Week 1 results
    Script “How can I change the conversation about education in America?”

    I came up with the following which is to create a foundation that will one day have enough influence to change the education conversation. Phase 1 will be to start a blog, which may create income for the foundation, and to talk to others about what the future phases should be.

    – Draft the mission statement of “The Education Conversation Foundation” (working name). This non-profit foundation, which I will found, will become the leading organization in education in the 21st century.
    – Talk to at least 3 real people about how to start a foundation.

    - Find (literally) every actively maintained education blog and subscribe to them with my google reader.

    - Choose 3 to email about how I should go about starting a blog (any profits go to the foundation).
    – Set aside $100 a month from now to making this happen from now until I have a grant that funds my salary through my foundation.
    – (Already done) Sign up for a class for a class on WordPress from href=”http://thewebacademy.org/”>The Web Academy

    Let me know what you guys think

    Carl

  269. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: With a few simple changes I can become more attractive to women. In five weeks I will have dates with three different women. I have the same tools as everyone else, but I’m going to maximize them. It is time to stop reading about others meeting women and start living it!

    TODAY:
    ~Make reservations at 3 different restaurants on different days 5 weeks from now
    ~Send my friends an invite to a get-together at my place 4 weeks from now
    ~Make plans to go shopping with my fashionable friends 2 weeks from now (I’ll get them something cool if they go with me)
    ~Make appointment with personal trainer for this week
    ~Put my whiteboard where I can see it and and write goals for each week

    WEEK 1: Body language and posture
    ~Meet with personal trainer and get exercises on how to improve posture. Do everyday while watching TV
    ~Watch movies with alpha males and study their body language
    ~Practice keeping head up and shoulders back in mirror. Practice throughout the day
    ~Make eye contact with random people while running errands

    WEEK 2: Clothing and fashion
    ~ Look through a bunch of men fashion magazines
    ~Write to writers of men fashion blogs asking for advice on one important item to buy
    ~Go shopping with my fashionable friends who are already committed to going with me

    WEEK 3: Approach women
    ~Research seduction blogs about approaching women (use RescueTime to keep it 1 hour/day)
    ~Approach women at the mall, bookstore, cafe, gym, food store
    ~Get just 2 numbers per day. After that I’m done for the day. That’s 14 for the week.

    Week 4: Get-together at my place
    ~My friends already know about it from the invite 4 weeks ago
    ~Invite girls a I met the last week to my place for food, drinks, hanging out etc
    ~Prepare for party: buy supplies, put pictures of me doing interesting things around the house, put other items of interest around
    ~Look like a stud in front of everyone with my new clothes, confident attitude, surrounded by cool people

    Week 5: Dates
    ~Take 3 women who came to my place on dates at restaurants reserved 5 weeks ago
    ~Brag to friends how I DOMINATED meeting women and going on dates

  270. “WEEK 1 RESULTS”
    Original GOAL: Help a friend with is business
    Barrier: I’m afraid to ask because the last time I turned him down.

    My original response was to make a small demo (done) and push the demo to something really usefull (not just a concept)

    Positive script: From this exercise, I realized I just want to do my own apps. Since it’s use the similar language and technology that he use, we might be able to do something togheter starting from there.
    so here the script:
    “I want to do my own webapps, by the end of this week I’ll already have a first version with the model and the basic feature.
    From this I’ll make money, I have a live version working and show him look what I’ve done we could use this and that feature too in your apps. “

  271. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    SCRIPT: 5 year goal “I want to lead a security consultancy firm.” However, to accomplish ambitous goal, I’ll need to start small and build my team slowly. I will do this by first finding at least 1 job per month. To get that 1 job per month, I have created the following automation.

    Just for edification, I did a lot of thinking about how to keep myself motivated, keep myself accountable, and how to know if there are any little rewards that I can claim. I am the most laziest person ever and I usually take the easiest route. Since I know I’m lazy, I created tasks that were simple and easy to do. I also built in a day where I will measure my effectiveness. This allows me to just concentrate on the doing part versus thinking of all the logistics of trying to create a business (like taxes, who to hire, etc). Why worry about that when I don’t even have any paying projects?


    Monday: Research potential projects to bid for. For each prospect, write in notes to try to size up the project (time, complexity, technology used).

    Tuesday – Friday: Send out at least 1 Proposal per day.

    Saturday – Sunday: Fun time with my family.

    Rinse and repeat until the end of the month.

    Tally up my score:
    How many proposals were sent out?
    How many proposals did I get awarded?

    If the number of proposals awarded is zero, then research what the competition is doing differently than I am doing. Otherwise, perform the awarded jobs WELL while still continue to research prospects every monday and submit props every tuesday thru friday.

  272. For 8 years I’ve been stuck in the debt cycle, I just want the burden lifted off my shoulders.

    Script: I want to pay off my credit card debts by the end of 2011 and also have at least $1000 in my savings by the end of the year.

    Automation: I WILL set it up so that each pay day (biweekly), $250 will automatically be allocated out of my Chequing account. From that $250, $50 will be sent into my savings account never to be touched before Jan 2012, the remainder will be used to pay off the credit card debts. Any extra money I may get (income tax rebates, CO-OP rebates or freelancing income) I will put it towards the debt to pay it off even faster!

    Sambath

  273. Original Goal: Help 48 people this year toward their career goals
    Week 1 Results
    Posted on my mirror and repeated aloud, every morning: “I am a creative, energetic career and small business counselor with Turning Points in Career Counseling. I have developed several small businesses and coached clients to double their sales averages. I have received training in Entreleadership and Financial Peace with Dave Ramsey, as well as other sales and goal setting workshops. I LOVE to craft resume’s, allowing my clients individuality to shine through. With goal setting and accountability, I help my clients achieve their dreams.

    Result: Became one of the go-to people in a career workshop (I attended as a participant). In negotiations with two new clients, and added 25 people to my direct-contact network.

  274. WEEK 1

    Focus: I want to obtain a new job in the Hospitality industry

    Old Script: I’m unqualified because I’m unskilled, inexperienced, and a talentless hack in an economy that no one is hiring.

    New Script: I’m not a talentless hack – that’s something that I spit out through despair that has no solid basis in fact. Being inexperienced is natural considering I just finished my schooling and out looking for work. I do already have skills that work well with my industry of choice – great charisma, social skills, willingness to learn about my environments, can always listen to not only my colleages and superiors, but also to my clients, always willing to learn, can learn quickly in variety of tasks, willing to always go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction and much more. Compared to other fields, finding a job in the Hospitalit industry is much easier because there is always a new property opening up every few weeks and recent properties that just blossomed will always need new hands. I have been with FEDCAP for over a year now. Even though that is not a lot of time, I have made a signifcant impression on the community, so much they made a video about me during 2010′s graduatation ceremony. I know my hospitality professor is also very well versed in the Hospitality industry and will be an incredible asset to help find a job for me.

    Automation:

    1) Continue to search out for new hirings and openings for hotels throughout New York City and stay in constant contact with my Job Developer and the FEDCAP community. Ask to produce more copies of my graduation video to show to prospective employers.
    2) Look back at the hotels I did apply for last year, especially those who have just opened up within the last year and return in contact again to see if they are in need of any more assistance.
    3) Research all the hotels throughout NYC and eventually narrow down my search to 10-15 specific properties I enjoy working with in regards to commute, neighborhood, staff, operations, and astethic. Even if they’re full up or not hiring, the precise knowledge of the specific property will lend to questions on any problems they have and any specific quirks I can adapt to. My hospitality professor can help me with this.
    4) Attend to my flaws – call up previous jobs and ask where and what I did wrong. vigilantly practice my interviews with my Job Advisors, even with ones I’m not assigned to, as well as members of the FEDCAP community who can lend me their time. Let them rip them apart, ask questions that catch me off guard. I want to hone my interview skills to perfection.
    5) Share the magic of automating positive scripts with members of the FEDCAP community to see how much of a massive impact I can make with the community.

    I will automate each action, with one of them a day, so I can fulfill all these tasks on a workweek. The exception is the last one, which will be a gradual process over time as I achieve success with this.

  275. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Positive Script: I want to save up enough money to pay for my wedding next year.

    Automation: I want to pay for my wedding by next June. Which means I have to save $10,000 extra by the next June. This works out to about $555 a month for 18 months. On Tuesday, I will work on getting a raise at my current job. Wednesday, I will create a 4-week plan on getting my first three paying customers for freelancing and implement it. Every two weeks I will review my progress and take notes on what went well and what did not. After the four weeks, I will go over my results and repeat the plan. Saturdays will be my “Side Hustle Brainstorming” days.

    Results:
    Monday, I created an ING side account for putting all of my wedding money into and have set up a $100 automatic deposit every month to begin my journey. I will be funneling my hustle profits into this account.

    Tuesday, after asking the HR department about getting a raise, they came back to me today and now I am in line for a promotion! I will be completing the paperwork this week and will get a $100 extra a month!

    Wednesday morning, before work, I used the “How to find your first three paying clients” (http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/finding-clients/) outline my 4-week plan on getting my first paying clients. I love to teach, so I decided to do freelance tutoring for college students. I will be concentrating on the niche of older students (25+) who are starting school later than usual. I already applied to three tutoring gigs on Craigslist. One person has already written back saying that they have found someone, but I still have those two (and all the other potential students) left to hear from. I am also working on refining my email script to send out to potential clients.

    In order to stay on track of my $555 a month while I begin my freelancing side hustle, I have put up a lot of items on eBay and have a garage sale ready for this weekend. I will be parting with a bunch of stuff that I barely use, but will be that much closer to a dream wedding for my fiancee.

    Since I can’t report on my Saturday Side Hustles, I have a few thoughts rolling around in my mind that may or may not be worthwhile, but I wanted to share that I am writing them down as I come up with them and will delve into them further Saturday morning.

    I’m really excited with what I’ve already been able to accomplish! Thanks for the kick in the butt, Ramit!

  276. Wk 1 Results – From in the Disaster Zone – Brisbane (Australia) Floods

    On Monday when I first read this post, it was raining heavily. I decided that I definitely wanted to get involved with automating scripts – I’ve interrogated my negative invisible scripts before and its very revealing – this promised to be a great exercise. Two hours later I was told to get home and prepare to evacuate. Brisbane city is the third largest in Australia. More than 75% of the state (bigger than California and Texas combined) – Queensland – has been declared a disaster zone. If you’d like to help you can donate here: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

    Script chewing away in the background: I am too busy/poor to work on my financial freedom because the details are too complicated.

    Script automation:

    - Spoke with a financial planner about my specific ideas and he and I worked through what details I need to cover, what are the priorities and/or deal breakers, what and who I could hire to take care of the details when things are starting to run well, and what innovative strategies I can investigate to improve my chances of success. We have made a todo list, and he has scheduled several points to check up on whether I have done these things by certain timepoints.

    - Change daily schedule so I do my most mentally challenging work in the morning – whether its my day job or my side business (both of which have their difficult and easy moments), and ensure I have proper relaxation/exercise time in the evening.

    - Getting scheduling tools which work for me – I am a visual person and prefer to work with paper instead of getting distracted on the internet :) – but I always underestimate how long things will take when making lists. Instead I’ve made visual scheduling tools where I do use paper, but can visually see the different time periods each things take.

    RESULTS:

    I’m one of the lucky ones in the flood – in the end we were spared, but many were not – just check your local news – its been all over the place. Despite normally believing I don’t have enough time, I’ve managed to keep tabs on everyone dear to me, help neighbours with securing homes, volunteer to help at the hospital (I am a medical/computer engineer) for the inevitable influx of people from unsanitary flood waters, but have also worked on my own business. I now:
    - have a working structure to implement for the business
    - contacted several individuals to get the quotes needed for me to outsource when I can, and negotiate free things in the interim
    - scheduled key points in my new system to keep my progress on track, while I still help where I can in the community when its best.

    Not all of what I wanted to achieve – but I admit – I was a little distracted the last few days :)

    Please if you are in a position to donate – do – its going to take us 2 years to rebuild the city, and many people won’t be in their own home for weeks – those who are still at home, many of us are taking in flood refugees and helping with the cleanup – unable to go to work. http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

    Cheers :)

  277. Week one results:

    Positive script: I will move forward in my 2 businesses that I’m starting up and take them from ideas and concepts to products that are actively being built (with deadlines). I will also research a job in the entertainment industry in case those two projects fail, even though I have no experience at all in entertainment (i am a software developer), I will present myself as the best possible candidate, EVER. Lastly, I will overcome my addiction to female attention and will only hang out with amazing girls that are worth my time.

    Implementation:
    The two business ideas have stalled a bit. However they are great ideas and can make a lot of money in amazing fields, so
    Business Idea #1: this involves me marketing an ebook that someone else is writing on a completely untouched niche. I have not heard from this person in about a week. I will assert my popularity in his niche by having my east coast friends (he is west coast), dramatically spike my facebook presence with likes and comments, I will mail him a gift to show that I am not a small time operation (most likely a Team USA basketball jersey with his name on it), and, if all else fails, i will talk to another potential writer for the book.
    Business Idea #2: it’s a software design project I am working on with some friends. By tomorrow evening I will finalize the design documents and begin interviewing outsourcers friday. I have never worked with outsourcers before so I will be overcoming a big fear, but it will not be a problem since my design document is incredibly detailed. Once the project is given to the outsourcers, I will drink Pacifico beer while other people do the work for me and feel alright about it. By the end of February, the product should be ready for sale.
    Entertainment Job:
    I will actively research VH1, Bravo and Vice Media – my top 3 places that I want to work for. I already have 3 amazing stories and skills prepared for VH1, I will have the Bravo and Vice versions of those stories prepared by the following friday. I will attend a networking event next week in NYC to get my foot in the door and talk with people at VH1. I will retool my resume of mostly technical work to fit with a channel like VH1, Bravo and Vice, highlighting anything in my life that might be relevant (for example, for fun, I ran a celebrity gossip blog a year ago). the resume retooling will happen sunday, right before the jets woop the pats

    Personal life:
    I will stop wasting my life with every single person of the opposite sex that I meet, I will stop wasting hours and hours prowling bars and dating sites, and spending way too much time just to get my “number” up. I will only hang out with girls that are incredible and worth every second of my time. My lady will enrich my life, and I will enrich hers. Saturday afternoon I will delete every single girls number from my phone that I dont see a potential future with.

    holy shit….. that felt good to get it out of my system, time to rock out with some Vandals covering Queen – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUXyBAsVr6o

  278. Goal: To be more confident around people. Develop better conversation skills in order to meet and befriend interesting people.
    Negative Script: I know I should talk to more people but they would not want to listen to me as I have nothing interesting to contribute and am too nervous in conversations.
    Positive Script (since last 2 weeks): I will utilize all opportunities to talk to people without worrying about their reactions/judgments. Better conversation skills can be built through perseverance and practice.
    Automation:
    • At work, instead of emailing people with requests or questions, make a quick phone call to them and explain my request clearly.
    • Gave $20 to my friend and told him I will take it back from him at the end of the week if I end up talking (brief conversation) to 5 or more new people this week. Otherwise, he can keep the money.
    • Leave my mp3 player at home before starting the commute to work. Instead, call 3 old friends this week during the commute back from work and have, at least, a 10-minute conversation to catch up with them.
    Results:
    Mixed so far. I have not made any new friends, but the psychological boost from striking up numerous conversations is very rewarding. Also, I am getting my $20 back this week.

  279. Backstory:
    I work as a legal assistant, and I’ve always been good at accomplishing tasks and getting results . . . for everybody else. This makes me a valuable employee, but keeps me from leading a life I’m excited about for me. I’m busy, but not always productive, and the outcome of my efforts is often that I feel like I don’t have the time or energy to pursue what I want. I began a daily practice of “eating a frog” each day – by identifying an critical I moved more quickly toward my goals. This has helped me set up automated savings accounts, collect $1,650 in unpaid billing for my side business and the focus has made me a better employee.

    Old Script:
    “I don’t have time to do _______ for me. I’ll do to it later.”

    Automation:
    One of my focuses since I started doing this work is that action is the key to success. As I’ve explored this idea, I’ve started choosing a daily task that will move me forward in some way — these are often things I’ve been putting off for a while — rather than overwhelming myself with my whole To Do list. At this point, I just tackle one “frog” a day. My mantra: How far forward do I want to leap today?

  280. I plan to essentially yank Ramit’s idea of brainstorming weekly on Mondays the people who I need to be speaking to throughout the rest of the week and stop putting excuses in my head about why they probably don’t need to be bothered.

    I also need to develop a website of my own content within the next 6 months. It can’t happen over night, but it has to happen and the summer is my deadline.

  281. Backstory: About 6 years ago I was late to work, starving, driving thru “fast food row” and was COMPLETELY uninterested in anything they had to offer. That’s when I came up with the idea of an all-organic, local food, drive thru restaurant. Two years later I’d spent months with the SBA and years researching only to find out that according to them, I would never get it off the ground because “you don’t have the capital” and “you would have to charge too much.” (Is it me or does the Small Business Administration, well, think small?) Dejected, and feeling like I’d given it the best I had at the time, I shelved the project until about 9 months ago–when I started following Ramit’s blog. Although I’ve never taken his earn 1k class, I’ve watched every video and every blog post that I was pertinent to the skills I would need for my next stepping stone. In fact, Ramit, I feel like your posts have always been timed exactly when I needed them.

    Old Script: “You’ll never be able to pull this project off because you don’t have the capital and you’ll never get the price points low enough.”

    Automation: Using meetup.com, I have found and begun surrounding myself with allies who are excited about my idea and encourage my progress, have researched and established relationships with 4 people who can point me to the products I need and signed up to volunteer at an organic kitchen to round out some skills I think would be helpful. Oh…and when people ask how I am going to get the capital, I have automated my response: “I don’t f*in know yet, but I will get there; watch me.”

    And the best part of it all? I’ve been freelancing my web design and administrative skills to pay for my life while I get this project off the ground :) Yippee!!

  282. WEEK 1 RESULTS

    Script: “I don’t need to research the ideal plan anymore because I know enough to work towards my goals. If I execute, the result will be ideal.

    Automation: Since I spent too much time searching for the perfect plan, the mere shift to living in the trenches instead of behind the office desk, so to speak, changed my entire approach. I made an “Action Stack” document with three bolded priorities for the next 7 months: time with family, medical school application, and fitness. I included four goals under each item such as a targeted MCAT score, how many more clinical volunteering hours I want to log this semester, and bodyweight/bench/squat goals. I didn’t need to spend much time picking the methods to accomplish these benchmarks because I had already spent months researching the ‘right’ plan even though deep down I already knew what I needed to do (e.g. a mixture of Berkeley Review and Exam Krackers books for MCAT study and the Stronglifts routine for fitness goals). I created a simple to-do list at the start of each day and crossed them off one by one.

    I adopted two key mindsets to keep me on track. “I will not miss” and “if I don’t do this, then I won’t do the next thing either.” The former is simply that even if I’m sleepy and not done with my tasks for the day, I HAVE to finish it at all costs. This naturally leads to the latter mindset that if I don’t have the motivation to floss my teeth, then how will I summon the energy to do my astronomy homework? These mindsets solved my past problem of just getting the mundane but important things done.

    Results: I accomplished more in this week than the past few months hands down. I finally got around to sending out my applications to two hospital volunteering opportunities, which involved hustling to schedule a same-day appointment with a new primary care physician to get a TB skin test and have blood drawn to prove my immunity to the chickenpox (the two main barriers previously holding me back was picking one of the three primary care doctors referred to me since my old doctor moved and I was avoiding the needle for the drawn blood…). I will pick up my results on Friday.

    I filled out the ordering form for my MCAT books, completed my apartment conditions form that was sitting around for 5 months. I hit the gym (the Stronglifts program starts you out by squatting the bar, so I previously didn’t want to look like a weakling at my college gym), and did half of the entire semester’s reading for one of my classes. I set aside time to finish the reading and knock out half of another class by Monday. I’m making the investment to get ahead in these two classes now, so I can then have more free time the rest of the semester to study for the MCAT while I passively study for school. I found that studying at the law library instead of the main campus library boosted my productivity multifold due to the noise restrictions and not running into people I know. I also visited my Mom, made a trip to the hospital to see a family friend in the ICU, scheduled a haircut appointment, and bought folders and notebooks to separate out my class work for the first time since elementary school. Also, I was late on a payment for my JC Penney’s card so I called them up (yes, with a telephone) and successfully had the late fee waived.

    I did encounter a problem while I was hustling. I felt like an automaton performing task after task. So then I created the document “Action Stack 2” which listed out my five big priorities for the next five years: time with family, complete NYC triathlon, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, work on my golf and tennis game, and watch the U.S. Open (the tennis one).

    This quickly solved my “why am I doing this?/is this worth it?” problem. When I would get frustrated with a certain task, I’d just look at my long-term goals (both Action Stack 1 and Action Stack 2 are open documents on my laptop at all times) and get back to hustling.

    I’ve learned that building momentum is the juice behind my hustle. I feel like every task I perform makes me that much stronger by boosting my willpower. I’m looking forward to staying on track.

    Thanks, Ramit!

  283. Goal: improve productivity and make progress towards long-term goals, without feeling guilty whenever I’m not doing work, and without using unhealthy approaches such as overscheduling myself to create time pressure.

    Some of the usual approaches to productivity remind me of the following money advice:
    1) Make a todo list/schedule and stick to it = make a budget and stick to it. Nice in theory, but in the real world, your todo list/budget goes out the window once the first unexpected expense or time demand turns up.
    2) Avoid distractions/cut out TV = avoid non-essential spending/cut out lattes. Sure, it gains you a bit of time/money to spend on other things at first, but you’re constantly relying on willpower, and feeling guilty when you slip up. Also useless if I’m one of those people who already doesn’t watch TV!
    3) Track how you use all your time = write down how you spend all your money. Useful to do for a week or so, to get a clear picture of your habits, but ridiculously annoying and time-consuming to do long-term.

    So I started thinking: how can I apply more realistic IWTYTBR-style finance techniques to time?

    General idea: Make time into an earnable, spendable, saveable commodity like money. This will let me apply IWTYTBR psychological techniques for money to time. (Eg. an “automated savings plan” for time, or a “guilt-free spending account” for time.)

    Old Script: I work effectively 2 full time jobs. I neeeeeeeed to spend what little time remains on entertainment/household chores/maintaining a basic level of fitness/not becoming a complete hermit!!! I have no time for big projects such as starting a business. And yet, I have some big projects that are really important to me (get book published, start a business, improve fitness), so I feel guilty whenever I spend time on entertainment/hanging out with friends.

    New Script: Time is money. Time can be earned, saved and spent, like money. If I’ve earned the right to free time, I can spend that time on whatever I want, guilt-free. But I have to earn some “free time” first in order to be able to spend it. And “free time points” can only be earned by doing awesome things that cause meaningful change in my life. (Eg. starting a business, getting my book published, improving fitness.)

    Automation:
    1) Working towards the biggest goals in my life earns me “Free Time Points”. (Calling them “points” rather than “time” makes them feel more like money which is earned and spent, and less like time, which just happens.)
    2) I get a certain amount of Free Time points to spend each day. Once I’ve spent them, more can only be obtained by earning them.
    3) Any activities which are not work, sleep, or things which earn Free Time points require spending Free Time points.
    4) If I run out of Free Time points, I can’t do anything other than work, sleep, or activities which earn Free TIme points, until I get more Free Time points.
    5) Free Time points are awarded for completing goals, not for time spent. (With some exceptions, eg. exercise, where time spent _is_ the goal.)

    This approach will let me apply finance techniques to time, such as:

    1) Increase your earnings, rather than just cutting spending.
    TIME VERSION: do more awesome things that advance my long-term goals, rather than just cutting spending of time on “fun” activities. Ie. earn more Free Time points, rather than just cutting spending.

    2) Use an automated savings plan to save for large goals.
    TIME VERSION: needing to use Free Time points to buy free time means that I can set up an “automated savings plan” for my Free Time points. Eg. half the points I earn for any activity go to a “guilt-free spending” account that I can use whenever you want, and half goes into a “savings account” towards my next weekend away.

    3) Have a “guilt-free spending” account, so I can control your spending without relying on willpower, or tracking every cent.
    TIME VERSION: if I have Free Time points to spend, I can spend them on anything I want whenever I want. But I must have earned the Free Time points first.

    4) Have a dedicated account for learning/business, with some amount per month that can’t be used for other things, to encourage spending on these things.
    TIME VERSION: Encourage the activities I want to do more of (eg. exercise) by awarding Free Time points for them.

    Testing this idea:
    ————————————————————————————

    I’ve had a day and a half to test this so far.

    Subjective effects I’ve noticed:
    1) I’ve been getting more done towards my big goals, rather than just checking small tasks off my todo list and running out of time for the big ones.
    2) I spend less time on “fun” activities, but feel like I have more time (probably because I don’t feel guilty when I’m not working, and being more conscious of free time makes me spend it more efficiently, or choose entertainment activities which are more fun/relaxing).
    3) Whenever I’m doing something that does not earn me Free Time points, I eventually start thinking “is this really what I want to spend my remaining free time points on?” and switching to either point-generating activities, or activities which are more fun and relaxing.
    4) I even managed to make myself go to bed early by deciding to award myself Free Time Points for going to bed before a certain time! This made going to bed early feel more productive than staying up to get a bit more work done! Major improvement for a workaholic like me!

    Objective measurements I plan to do to test the effects:
    1) Compare how much progress I make on my biggest goals (get book published, start a business, improve fitness) this month with the average amount in the last few months.
    2) Test my average happiness over the next month using trackyourhappiness.org, and compare against a measurement I did three months back. I’m hoping that making more progress on my goals and not feeling guilty when I spend time on fun things will improve my happiness.

  284. Week 1 Results

    Goals:
    I wanted to lose weight – told myself never had the time
    I wanted to get the nonprofit my friend started moving – told myself I needed to wait til she got organized
    I wanted to change the scope of my website – told myself i needed to do x and x and x before I could.

    Instead/Automation
    1. I will lose weight. I set a reminder in my calendar. Not only that i put a motivator attached with it. I need to lose weight, get up and exercise. You have to do this for Isabella (my daughter biggest motivator)
    2. Crafted and composed detailed and bulleted proposal to my friend offering to manage a bulk of the organizational details for starting the nonprofit. This is stuff I excel at and will help get things moving.
    3. Starting writing and posting the content I wanted. Updated the header, have the new about page almost done – other stuff is on the scgedule with reminders programmed.

    Results:
    I make myself get u early so I have at least 2 free hours of no baby/husband distractions. I get writing, editing and designing. When the baby goes down for first nap is when I exercise. I try to get hubby to join, but not a requirement. Yesterday I wasnt able to exercise during first nap – potential disaster! But I reset the timer and made myself exercise at 2nd nap.
    Still waiting for response from friend but sent a follow up message on fb this morning.
    Feeling on fire and inspired. I subscribed to comments to keep myself motivated. Hearing other people believe in themselves, surrounded by like-minded people is a key to success :)

  285. RESULTS
    Slightly bummed after watching the webcast tonight (3am in Europe, giving me a total of 4 hrs sleep), today is Thursday, and I’m done for the week.

    SCRIPT
    I’ve just signed my third book deal and this time, I want to enjoy the ride. I will be done on time, with the help of a VA (which I’ll find a way to pay for), and figure out how to get rid of my social media addiction for good.

    IMPLEMENTATION:
    - Monday: Looked around for outsourceable student jobs, found a professor who wanted the graphics of his book redone. I am earning 10,5€/hr from something that only costs me 1€ on GetAFreelancer. I’ll probably get a nice reference out of it, too. (Jeez, this was way too easy!)
    - Tuesday: Found freelancer, hired him. This is how I’ll pay for the VA. Wrote up my own guidelines for the VA and posted a sample project.
    - Wednesday: From now on, I’m using an unlicensed software product for doing most of my work. Mind you, I actually own the student edition (my uni gives it away for 50 bucks), because I’m too terrified of the law, but I can’t use this software without turning off the internet. For this, I use „Freedom“, #1 awesomeness program that has you set a predefined downtime (say: 40 minutes). It’s instant productivity!
    - Thursday: From now on, every Sunday, I set up goals with my VA, and if I don’t send him my results, he deduces money from my Stikk-Account. He reworks the results I send him (not academically, but he does all the boring formatting and stuff), and then mails them back. Every now and then I send him some research requests (product comparisons, find the best book, open source product on,..) that I usually spend hours on procrastinating.

  286. Original Script: If I wait long enough, somebody will notice my financial need and increase my financial aid.

    Invisible Script: Those around me have already written rough, if not final drafts for their potential scholarships during winter break and I do not know which ones I am going to apply for.

    Thursday & Friday: Compile a list of possible scholarships to apply for and print out their requirements. Put their deadlines in Google calendar and set up a 3 month rough draft reminder and a 2 month final draft reminder to give me plenty of time to send my potential essays out to friends and family for critique.

    I just started reading your blog because of the Tim Ferriss 4-Hour Body promotion and I’ve found it pretty useful so far.

  287. I know I’m about 6 hours late on this, and it’s totally my fault…but wanted to post it anyway for some accountability!

    SCRIPT: If you work as an American in international business you really only need to know English since everyone speaks that.

    Actions:
    – Contacted the Latin American Association in my ton and signed up for a $300 7-week course to learn beginning Spanish.
    – Contacted the Goethe Institute in my town to set me up with a speaking partner to work on my near-fluent German (no response yet)
    – Looked for speaking partners on CraigsList for both Spanish and German in exchange for English (3 contacted…zero responses yet).

    Hope to continue to learn and become more effective in my job!

  288. Script: I need to get control of my 401Ks – I have multiple retirement accounts from previous jobs that I have been meaning to consolidate for ….ummm…..well….for several years actually.

    Week 1: Implementation-
    - Monday- I contacted the person managing retirement accounts for my current company and got the necessary information to roll-over my previous accounts and consolidate.
    - Wed- I pulled up all the previous accounts info and emailed the contacts to request the forms to fill in for my roll-over.
    - On Friday I should have all the forms filled in…By this time next week I will have accomplished something that I have been talking about doing for 2 years!
    (Thanks for giving me the kick in the butt I needed!)

  289. Script: I won’t get in shape if I don’t dedicate the time. Getting up earlier simply isn’t realisitic.

    Actions:
    - Set up weekly gym schedule using hours during the business day (in progress)
    - Give schedule to boss, who has already agreed to allow me the time every day. (MAJOR success)
    Note: that last one is another invisible script. Something like “bosses just want workers to work” has been replaced with “Good bosses know that flexibility improves job satisfaction, which improves productivity and loyalty. Good people are expensive to lose and replace.”

  290. WEEK 1 RESULTS
    Script: I will get feedback and exposure on my fused glass pieces from local businesses.

    Actions:
    * For one month, each week I will visit one local design/home decor store and take in some of my best pieces.
    * I will ask for feedback on my pieces including color choice, design, and price range.
    * I will ask them if they sell products from local designers and if they would put some of my products on display in their store.

  291. [...] $(function(){ $("#startbox").html("Ramit is killing it over at his blog. In his recent post How to ace the world's toughest interviews, he says top performers maniacally prepare and hustle in order to land jobs at competitive [...]

  292. [...] See Full Article (function() {var s = document.createElement('SCRIPT'), s1 = document.getElementsByTagName('SCRIPT')[0];s.type = 'text/javascript';s.async = true;s.src = 'http://widgets.digg.com/buttons.js';s1.parentNode.insertBefore(s, s1);})(); [...]

  293. I asked all my friends in bschool if they knew someone who need SEO work. One person did – led to a several thousand dollar project. Eventually ended up making 45k during the 18 months at bschool doing SEO consulting & online marketing.

  294. [...] How to ace the world’s toughest interviews * 3 Case Studies: Ordinary people using extraordinary scripts to hustle * Tonight, a live master [...]

  295. WEEK 1 RESULTS :
    > MY POSITIVE SCRIPT TO SUCCESS : I want to find a great photographer agent (ro rep me precisely on my interior design/architecture/urban landscape photos) in Paris within a week.
    > IMPLEMENTATION :
    TODAY (WEDNESDAY)
    1) Complete the list of Paris agencies I already have = 1 hour
    2) Choose 15 great agencies among this list by actually going on their website which have photographers like me or similar (target my niche. No fashion, portrait, still life…) = 1 hour
    3) Write a short efficient template email in which I can just replace their name / jobs they did that I like… etc. Email include: What I like about them, who I am, what I could do for them, and 3 questions about my carreer with an interview proposal with precise date/time. = 3 to 4 hours
    4) Actually email the 15 agencies. = 1 hour
    FRIDAY
    5) By the end of the week (Friday), call them to ask if they got my email, or if they already answered. During the phone call, rephrase what I said in the email, and listen to what they have to say. = 3 hours
    6) Send a “thank you” email, plus a appointment confirmation.
    SATURDAY
    7) Prepare the interview by drilling with a friend. = 4 hours
    8) Go to the interview with my book
    9) Repeat this cycle from #1), and better #3) according to emails answers and phone calls.

    Things learned: planning in advance forces yourself to do it. It’s automated. Great!! Where I made a mistake is the time to make each target. I calculated too short, so I am late on schedule. But still, I did a lot, and I stick to my plan.
    Thank you Ramit. More results to come.

  296. Just heard on Hardball how Presiden Clinton still studies the world economy ONE HOUR per day in order to be prepared to talk intelligently about it.

  297. Great advice – I’m applying it already!

  298. [...] Ace Tough Job Interviews – by Ramit Sethi , this is a great read, big motivator. Ignore the title, this article applies to more than just job hunting, this is more like the interview skills for life itself. Skip to the end if you want but the whole thing is worth reading In my opinion. Has some great information on the psychology of wanting to do versus actionable steps to done. [...]

  299. I will eliminate the shyness that has been burdening me all my life:
    - Speak three times this year (one down, one scheduled!)
    - Each Sunday, I will meet 3 new people to defy shyness.
    - When that little voice pops up and says, “Hey, I have a comment on this,” I will act on that, not repress it. Must do this at least 2x/week. Increase frequency by a factor of 1 each week (2x the first week, 3x second week, etc.).
    - I will host 50 people at gatherings this year: parties, dinners, and playgroups with our kids.

  300. Ramit,
    Last year I bought your book looking for ways to better myself. I was really impressed with the philosophies and advice you offer. Its an extremely direct approach rather than these other books that instruct you to be more passive about things. I implemented your strategy of doing something, anything, RIGHT NOW, and did a complete 180° from where I was at. I was unhappy with my job, so I applied at 3 jobs a week that I wanted. Some I wasnt as qualified for, but I was thinking about my productivity and drive and really went after positions I knew I would fit well in. I finally got a job 6 months after applying, because I used your strategy of getting to know people to land a spot with the sprint corporation. I have a great wage, awesome benefits, tuition reimbursement (which im taking full advantage of, eliminating my “money for college” excuses) and a thousand times less stress. Its not a position im going to have forever, but its exactly what I needed and decided to get after I read your book. I also set up an IRA, which I maxed out, a 401k which I found a way to contribute the same percentage as my employer matches, got a new car and negotiated a great rate with minimal down, and have a nice savings account.

    I just wanted to share my experiences with you and all the readers, and say that taking action, any positive action, really has results. Stop making excuses and, to quote Phil Knight, “just do it.”

    Thanks Ramit-

    Keith