You know how I typically spend the first 300 to 500 words of my "Stuff To Read" posts filling you in on what has been going on with me? Yeah I am going to forgo that today because, well, there just isn't much to tell you. I have a lot of projects I am working on for the website, FTS Insiders, and for my in person training business Revolution Strength & Conditioning and none of them are really at any kind of completion point or nearing launch.

Instead I want to make a point, by sharing a story, telling you something I do each day, and why I think it's important you take the strategy to heart. I promise I won't hold you up to much from getting to this week's list of stuff. Just hear me out and you will learn something really beneficial.

A question I have gotten asked a lot since graduating from college in the last week is "What are you going to do today?" or something along the lines of "What are you going to do with all this free time?" I know for must trying to figure out what the heck to do when you're not in class some 20 hours a week and studying for another 10 hours, but for me it really hasn't been heard.

Like I said I have and have had all these projects I have been wanting to invest my time and energy into both from my online brand and for my in person business, but with the demands of school these projects had been shoved kind of low on my priority list. But now that school is finally over I can give these things my all.

However this kind of presents itself with its own unique set of problems related to self-management, self-organization, and productivity. I feel these are all things that come naturally to me after growing up with a mother who ran us on a pretty regimented and busy schedule, but I have a strong opinion on the fact that you don't need to reinvent the wheel when you want to learn something. Instead of going through all the experiences and trials to find the answers you can just go learn from people who have been there and done that and are where you want to be. In other words "stand on the shoulders of giants."

For this particular topic my go to "giants" are Tim Ferris and Craig Ballantyne.

Why?

Well there are both super successful in areas where I want to have success: business, writing, and fitness. Plus they are incredible productive and get a ton of shit done on a weekly basis both professionally and personally. Most people might think there somehow special or unique, but while I do believe they both have their own individuals skills that they leverage I truly believe that excellence and success are the output of a certain set of habits and behaviors, both mentally and physically.

And after listening and reading just about anything I could get my hands on that either of them wrote, recorded, or spoke I have come to see some commonalities. These commonalities don't just span these two individuals either. From listening to Tim Ferris's Podcast with a ton of interviews with world-class performers from a variety of industries certain behaviors and habits stick out.

In my opinion there is one that sticks out more than all the others.

I was actually telling my mom and business partner Dane about this one behavior on Wednesday at the gym. I was telling them that I thought the thing that separates a lot of successful people from unsuccessful people is their affinity for making a plan, preparing for that plan, and executing and sticking to the plan.

Some successful people do it on a macroscopic level and others do it on a microscopic level, but almost all of them have a plan, they all spend time preparing for execution of the plan, and then follow through on executing the plan. The method, tactics, and strategies for planning and preparing vary from individual to individual, but they all do it.

And in particularly the most productive of these successful people plan their next day ahead of time in almost a scripted fashion. They know what they will do every day minute to minute and hour to hour and how these tasks move them closer to their overall goal and destination.

This behavior of planning and preparing can be applied to any kind of goal and it is almost always one of the defining characteristics at the successful and unsuccessful. For example if you want to deadlift 500 pounds than you need to plan your training cycle, prepare your body for training by eating well and sleeping well, and you need to execute your training plan. If you want to lose body fat you need to plan your meals, shop for your ingredients, cook the food, and eat the food.

I have found that planning and preparing each night for the day ahead makes me way more productive, happy, and in charge of my life. I script out my day in my iCal so I know exactly what I am going to do and when I am going to do it. Not to mention it helps you prioritize the things that have the largest impact on what you want to accomplish and allows you to forget about the small meaningless tasks that just eat up your time.

It may take some time to get in the habit of planning and preparing and it will take even more time for you to figure out what routines and habits allow you to get the most done, but with trial and error you'll discover what works for you and your goals.

Granted a whole 5,000 word essay could be written about this, why it's important, and how to go about it, but since I am already at a 1,000 words I should probably shut up and stop trying to tell you how to live your life and get to the real reason you came here today.

1. Want to Get Better and Feel More Comfortable Squatting? Do This. by Tony Gentilcore

This is a really great piece for those of you including myself who despise squatting, but want to be better at it and some day not feel like punching ourselves in the face every time we see it in our training programs.

2. Three Important Life Lessons From The Avengers by John Romaniello

I love pieces like this and they are actually my personal favorite to write. I think there are so many connections we can draw from experiences that are seemingly unrelated to another topic or conversation. I think I enjoy them because these connections between seemingly unrelated topics are often the principles that we can pull out and use to guide our lives and decisions.

3. Is It Your Duty to be Muscular by Bryan Krahn

Woman get all kinds of support about body image and self-love, which is AWESOME and definitely needed, but no one ever talks about these topics as it relates to men. Just like there is a stereotypical and coveted "hot body" for women the same goes for men. And it does just as much damage mentally and physically to the male gender as it does to the female gender. It just never gets discussed, well, because that wouldn't be "manly." Good points made here in regards this, but his last sentence is the best!

Update:

I didn't get a chance to read this before I put this post up, but this shit deserves to be on the list and would have been if I had checked my Facebook earlier today, but that isn't part of my script today so I'll just place it here.

4. How Toxic Hostility is Killing Us: Yes, This Is Relevant To You. So Read It. by Tony Gentilcore.

This! Yes this! Read it and share it will all your friends. Do it! Do it now! Well I mean after you finish reading it that is.

Happy moving and heavy lifting!

Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training