RPM Planning For Creatives
The RPM Planning System is my secret to getting more done and achieving more in my professional and personal life. The system guarantees results.
Years ago I was listening to a Tony Robbins talk tape, and in it somewhere it had a number you could call or a website you could visit to talk with their team.
I was looking for answers. How to start and grow a business. How to find more success. How to get more control over the results I was experiencing around my work and my finances.
I got on a call, and while I couldn’t afford the coaching, the kind person on the other end of the line offered to send me some of the tapes that I didn’t have access to.
She literally told me to copy them to my computer and then send them back so I wasn’t charged for them.
Well, I took full advantage of the opportunity, ripped the audio to my laptop, and saved them all to dropbox for safe keeping.
The saleswoman suggested I start with a set of tapes called Time Of Your Life.
A ten-day program on productivity? That’s what she thought I needed to work on?
Turns out she was right, and the RPM system taught in that program has accounted for a massive chunk of the projects I’ve been able to accomplish over the last 10 years.
RPM – The Rapid Planning Method
Tony’s signature productivity program is known as RPM, or the Rapid Planning Method.
RPM also, however, stands for Results-focused, Purpose-driven, Massive action plan.
He’s getting a lot of mileage out of that acronym…
The goal of this productivity system is to help you get the results that matter most.
It’s not a to-do list.
It’s not about “getting things done”.
If you’re someone who wants to create, make, or produce – whether it’s products, or artwork, or creative projects – this is what RPM is best suited for.
While I can’t walk you through every step of the process (get the tapes for that) I do want to cover two parts that have played a massive part in my being able to start two businesses and a new blog this year, write every day, and survive the insane year this has been financially.
Let’s start with the three aspects of the philosophy, and then how to apply it to your weekly and daily planning.
The biggest shift you’ll make using RPM is from thinking about tasks to thinking about results.
Tasks are what you do every day, results are what you want long term.
I don’t know about you but I don’t get up in the morning excited about a long to-do list. I do, however, get extremely excited about making progress towards the big outcomes that I want in my life.
Shifting from “what do I have to do today” to “what do I want to achieve today/this week/this month/this quarter/this year” is massive, and is the first step.
You begin by writing down some results you want in both your personal and professional life. 5-7 each is a good number.
Maybe you want to lose ten pounds. Strengthen your relationship with your partner or kids. Get an extra month of expenses in savings. Grow your revenue, or increase profit margin, or create a new product.
Write them down. These serve as the results that you’re going to work towards and that will inform what you choose to do on a daily basis.
Once you’ve got your list of 10-15 results you want to achieve and before you start diving into action, we need to add in one extra step.
Not for arbitrary reasons. But because the difference between those that get a ton done and accomplish their goals is rarely because of how hard they work. It’s the reasons behind the goals that drive them to continue on whether it’s easy or hard.
With each one of the results that you’ve written down, take a few minutes to write down the reasons that result is important to you.
Some questions may help:
- What will it mean to get this result?
- What will you become when you reach this result?
- What will this help you do?
- Who will it serve?
List out as many reasons that can inform the purpose behind the goal.
Only then can we shift into taking action.
Big goals are achieved by taking the appropriate level of action. Just today I had a phone call with someone who was asking me about what it would take to 10x my business – 10x more leads, 10x more value per customer, and 10x more revenue.
I was surprised that it wasn’t going to require 10x more action. It wasn’t going to take 10x more time.
It mainly requires thinking 10x bigger. Thinking about leverage. Thinking about the people you work with and the systems that are working in the background.
Massive action doesn’t always mean more time or more effort. It is more of a shift in mindset.
What this looks like is listing out all of the different ideas that will help you get closer to the result that you’re after.
This is where we can look at a weekly and daily practice of implementing this RPM system for your creative life and business.
Weekly RPM Planning Session
Each week, take 30-60 minutes to revisit your goals and the results that matter to you. Make any additions or take out any that aren’t serving you anymore or have been achieved.
Take a look at the results that you want to accomplish and pick a few that are most important to you for the week ahead.
Add to your list of reasons and expand the purpose that’s driving you to get that results.
Then write down all of the big actions you can take this week to get that result.
Do this step for each and every result that you want to work towards this week.
Then, to take it one step further, roughly map out your week. Pick a day or a block of time during the week that you can devote to that result. I’ve found it more effective to put all of the actions for one result into as few chunks as possible, rather than work on every results every day of the week.
Being able to go deep on something each day will get you more progress than spreading those tasks over the whole week.
Try to get one or two blocks of a few hours into your schedule for the week. Getting them into your schedule or calendar before the week starts will prevent other tasks or invitations from holding back your progress.
Daily RPM Planning
Each day – and it doesn’t matter if it’s first thing in the morning, or at the end of the day in preparation for the next day – take 15 to 20 minutes to revisit your plan for the week and get more detail on the work you want to do for the day.
Schedule when you’re going to work on your project. Write down the people you need to communicate or follow up with. List out any other actions that will help you get the result you’re after.
I’ve started using Roam Research for this (in the past I’ve used both Evernote and Notion, but have landed on Roam as my current favorite in the last year.), in conjunction with a physical planner. I get up early and my morning routine is about an hour of prayer & meditation, and then 15 minutes of RPM planning in a physical planner.
When I get to the office I put my tasks from the planner into Roam so that it lives on my second computer screen all day. I can then tick off the tasks that I’ve accomplished and capture new ideas or tasks throughout the day, and then more easily copy & paste anything that needs to be done tomorrow if I didn’t get to it today.
The Results Speak For Themselves
When you’re constantly reviewing your high level goals and results for your life and business, you can’t help but focus on them and make progress. Exciting goals turns into exciting days working towards them.
In 2020, despite a global pandemic, I was able to start two businesses, create two of my own courses, film and produce four (and soon six!) courses for other creators, start a new blog, film a season of a television, produce two separate documentary projects, and more. In my personal life, I’m spending more time with my wife and kids, we’re in a position to finish the year with more money in savings than we’ve ever had in our 11+ years of marriage, and we are looking forward for everything to come in 2021.
Whatever system you choose, the important principles are to focus on the outcomes first and let the tasks be determined within that context, and to revisit your goals and results often to not only measure them but to keep them top of mind.
Doing so will help you get whatever you want from your life and business, which is a pretty great way to live your life.
Want help? Check out the different ways that I can help you reach your goals in 2020 and beyond.