Today I have had one of those days. A “To Do” list of various marketing projects that needed to get started and no motivation to do so. Now as a professional organiser who helps others with time management you would think I would have this down pat. But no, I too am only human and sometimes I can think of a 1,000 other things I could be doing such as popping a load in the washing machine, making a cup of tea, the dog needs walking…
Then magically into my inbox pops another gem from Zen Habits. It’s like he is reading my mind. It go me up and raring to go so I thought it may also help my loyal readers – so I thought I would share:
Before you can achieve something in life, you need to decide precisely what it is you want. It could be you intend to stop smoking; improve your fitness; give up gambling; get a new job, or whatever.
Once you have a clearly defined idea of the what, why and how long of your end result, you can break down the entire process. Here are a few tips to do this:
1. Pinpoint the steps involved. Let’s say, for example, that your end result is to get a job as a teacher in 5 years time. Ask yourself what individual steps are needed to get there. Are specific qualifications and experience required? How can you gain these skills? What can you do to study or re-train? Come up with all the steps you can think of. The purpose of this exercise is to flesh out what is still a large aim into smaller, detailed steps. Each one represents a stepping stone towards achieving your end result.
2. Create a pint-sized action plan. Think of the steps as actions. Once you understand what actions are needed to achieve your end result, you can pull these together into a plan.
3. Set mini targets and daily/ weekly tasks. When you create your action plan, work out a series of targets you believe it’s possible to reach on the way to your end result. Decide what you need to have done in six, three and one months’ time to achieve your end result. Then break it down into monthly and weekly chunks, and from here you can set yourself simple daily and weekly tasks that are easily reached.
4. Keep on track. If the mini target for a given week isn’t achieved, don’t despair. The small-scale approach is so flexible that it allows you to make instant changes. On a weekly basis, ask yourself what happened and whether you could do anything differently? Carry over the shortfall to the following week and tweak your daily and weekly tasks accordingly. Keep on completing these small-scale tasks and meeting the mini targets, and the end result will be well within your grasp.
5. Forget the long-term. Get into the habit of ignoring the end date, and try to stop dwelling on what’s to come in the future. Don’t worry – you already considered the overall task and how long it would take when you set the mini targets and the daily/ weekly tasks. Now you can put the long-term view to one side, and really pay attention to achieving these smaller, shorter-term targets and tasks.
6. Adjust your steps. Along the way, you might find that what you’re trying isn’t as effective as you hoped. Or, other factors – such as job and family commitments – could affect your focus. Be ready to tweak your targets and tasks, when necessary. It’s perfectly ok to revisit and revise them to ease the load. Better to pace yourself than be stressed out.
7. Celebrate the little wins. One success leads to another, so use all your wins to spur you on. As each milestone is passed triumphantly, it’ll boost your motivation and you’ll gain a renewed confidence in your abilities. Reward yourself with something which makes you feel amazing – a new pair of jeans, a trip to the park with your kids, a relaxing homemade spa day. Treat yourself to anything which reinforces your resolve to reach the end. It needn’t cost a penny.
8. Resist the urge to supersize. It’s human nature to want results fast. At times, you might be tempted to rush at things and bite off more than you can chew, ending up back at square one. If you’re tempted to give up, refer to your ‘motivation bank’ of reasons why you want the end result. Be determined and concentrate on only the current stage of your journey, and not on what’s next. Reflect on how far you’ve come and what a waste it would be to throw in the towel.
Read more of the article here: http://zenhabits.net/small-scale/