If you want to be successful, then you need to be pretty detailed with the schedule you plan to follow. You don’t have to study and work hard every hour of every day. But, you do need daily consistent effort. If you don’t stay the course and work on your expertise every day, it’s going to take you a lot longer and you’ll probably fall short of your goals.
I’m all about making things easier and more possible for the average person. That means helping you figure out the best possible shortcuts so you can become a successful expert and achieve your goals. Trust me when I tell you that you’ll have better results if you make a commitment to yourself to do a little each day.
My most popular book is 5 Bucks a Day. This details my philosophy for the business-minded of focusing on building up their business just $5 a day at a time. I’ve based this philosophy on the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”
You can’t eat the elephant all at once— it won’t work. You can’t become an expert in a day— at least not a very well-rounded one. But, you can do it little by little. Those day-by-day activities really add up, even if they only take place for a short time each day.
In high school or college, you may have fallen into the habit of trying to cram for a test all at once. You know that isn’t ideal. You know that you might remember just enough information to past the test, but not to have a mastery of it.
Here, today, you’re not trying to cram for a test and you don’t have to study or do anything that you don’t like. That’s the beauty of this! You get to choose your topic. You get to choose the topic that means the most to you and that you truly want to become an expert in.
There’s no reason to ‘cram for the test’ because this is your life and you’re now choosing the direction it goes in. It can be hard to break those old habits, though. Life can get busy and the activities you need to do to build to the expert level might fall by the wayside.
That’s why you need to create an easy, bite-sized plan for yourself. When you have a daily plan where you only have to do a little bit at a time, it gets a lot less overwhelming for you. It gets pretty exciting, actually.
Getting Started With Your Plan
There’s no one here to dictate your schedule— you only have to do what you want to do. So, now you get to decide. What do you need to do in order to become an expert? I’ve given you the pieces I suggest, right here in this book. Now, you just need to examine it, choose the parts that are right for you, and create a schedule for yourself. For argument’s sake, let’s say that you’re going to spend an hour a day on expert-building activities. What do you plan to do for that hour each day? Switch it up— vary it. Make it fun for yourself.
I recommend that you plan to study for X hours every week. This is where you read and absorb everything you can get your hands on. Don’t think of this as studying for a test— think of this as gathering materials that really interest and delight you and that you’ll want to read anyway— especially because you have such strong goals and passions in mind.
I also recommend that you practice for X hours every week. What can you do to put what you’re studying and learning into practice? Can you run a case study where you try different things? Can you get out there and apply what you’re learning in some other important way?
Also, plan to interact with others for X hours every week. This can be online or offline— do what works for you and what fits into your schedule. You can work with other experts or other learners, or both. Get a coach or a mentor if that will help you— someone who will help you stick to your schedule so you can achieve your goals. Sometimes, it’s hard to stay on track when you’re the only one driving yourself. It gets a lot easier if you have an accountability partner. Announce your goals to someone else who can help you stick with it.
This may be something you want to save for a couple of weeks after you’ve gotten your momentum. But, you should consider setting aside X hours each week to teach, write, or produce in some way. You’ll learn a lot by teaching. There are people out there who know less than you do and who will want to learn from you. Teaching in some capacity is a great way to propel yourself to expert status— both in your eyes and the eyes of others.
This will also give you excellent feedback as to your own progress, because almost certainly your student(s) will ask questions, perhaps questions that you haven’t thought of, and you might have to research for the answers to them. That’s another way where your expert status will zoom upwards quickly.
There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know the answer, but I’ll find out and get back with one”, and doing that.
There may be other things you want to plug in on your path to becoming an expert. Brainstorm and figure out what this means for you. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that you get really excited about this process. Finally, this isn’t just something you’re planning to do, this is something you’re actually doing!
Some people want everything laid out for them. I purposefully gave you the flexible version first. You can literally make your schedule into anything you want it to be. But, I realize that some reading this will want something more concrete— something that you can start with until you’re comfortable making your own schedule. So, take what’s coming next with that in mind. I’m going to give you some examples of what you can plug and play into your own schedule.
For example, you may want to study for 30 minutes a day. This means reading, or watching, or listening to material that will enhance your study. I really recommend 60 minutes, but 30 minutes is good enough for a start. So, that means you should have 30 minutes X 7 days on your schedule. Adjust if you plan to take a couple of days off.
You may want to work with an expert 3 hours per week. Drip those hours throughout your week or spread them out as you see fit.
You may want to practice for 30 minutes a day. Have 30 minutes X 7 days on your schedule.
It all comes down to one of my favorite topics, which is incremental progress. Each day you are doing at least one or two things to move you forward towards your goal of becoming an expert on your topic. One, two, three steps forward, and before you know it, you’ve gone a long ways, and it will seem almost effortlessly.
It can really help you to put the specifics of what you plan to read, study, or do on your schedule. That can really help you. For example, maybe you read Book A for the first week and Book B for the second week. Maybe you do Practice Type A on Mondays and Practice Type B on Tuesdays. Again, do whatever works for you. You’ll be a lot more likely to stick with it if you’re very specific, however.
Don’t forget to schedule time in where you teach or produce. Again, this might be something you hold off on until you feel more comfortable. Just don’t feel like you have to be the top expert in the world to start writing or producing, however. Remember that as long as you can help people who are newer than you, then you are more than ready to create something that will help them learn. Writing and producing will help you and it will help the people you’re trying to reach. Maybe you want to write or produce for 5 hours each week. Work in chunks or sprinkle that time throughout your daily schedule— just get it on your schedule somewhere.
As you’re doing these things, you need to have solid goals and objectives in your mind. Don’t put something on your schedule just to put it there— put it there because it will help you achieve your goal of becoming an expert. Put it there because you’re very clear about how it will help you. This is all part of having a solid plan that you follow through with, a little bit each day.
You can adjust the schedule up or down as you see fit. Maybe you’ve only scheduled one hour a day on expert building activities because you think that’s all you have time for right now. But, once you get started, you realize that you love your topic and your progress so much that you want to ramp things up. Add another hour on there and see where that gets you. Up to a point, the more you do each day, the better your results will be.
It might also be the case that your eyes are bigger than your stomach. You think you can get 5 hours of work and study done each day. In reality, you just can’t. You find yourself getting stressed out or even shying away from your expert building activities because it’s just too much. It’s okay to admit that there is just too much on your plate right now and that you need to scale things back. You absolutely can get 30 minutes or 60 minutes done on this each day, no matter who you are or how busy you are. You have time for the things you make time for. I don’t care if it’s 10 minutes a day— you’ll get a lot further that way than you would with zero effort because you’ve overwhelmed yourself.
It’s hard to stick to, but slow and steady really does win the race. Create a schedule, right now, that will work for you. You can consult the sample 30-day plan I’ve included for you at the end here. It’s time to get excited, because with a little bit of daily effort, you’ll find that you can quickly become a top expert much more quickly than you ever thought you could.