Those of you who have been following my posts for a while will recognise the issues of “busyness” that I often mention. This is where we have never ending streams of email, calls, instant messages… in effect distractions of every hue, that occupy a lot of the day for a large number of people. When we finally look back on the day, we reflect on how much we have done, which is often monumentally different from what we have achieved. We may have done a huge amount, but in reality achieved very little in terms of progress towards the things that are really important to us.
You may disagree, however the question is really about how you measure achievement. Has what you have done actually moved you forward in terms of your ‘big goals’ (the strategic stuff)? If the answer is no, what are you going stop doing and what are you going to start focusing on? In doing this, clarity is important.
As Cal Newport suggests:
Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.
Before we think about how we get clarity, remember that you have to put up with a certain amount of ‘stuff’. There is a certain amount of maintenance to living that you simply have to get on and do.
1) Be clear about your goals
What is it that you want to achieve and when? Your goal might be to work for yourself, get promoted, change jobs, volunteer or simply spend more time with those people who are important to you. Get clear on these goals and make sure they are the ones that are important to you.
2) Break the big things down
Big goals aren’t generally achieved overnight (they a big for a reason). So break the large goal down into smaller more achievable pieces. People often give up on big goals because the magnitude of the task they set themselves is unrealistic. Whereas by successfully achieving smaller goals that take you towards your ultimate goal, confidence improves and so will your motivation to continue.
3) Create a ‘done’ list
Keep track of where your time and energy goes and review it regularly. Be honest with yourself, how much of the activity is simply you giving in to ‘easy’ stuff? How much time are you spending on your big goals? If the answer is not enough time, then make different choices next time. As time goes on, the ‘done’ list will show you how far you have come.
4) Be your own critic
Learn how to identify where you can improve or where things haven’t worked out as you planned. When you tackle these opportunities, you are setting yourself up for a better outcome next time. You probably won’t succeed if you aren’t prepared to tackle the hard stuff like this.
You can have the greatest plan in the world, but if you don’t act upon it, you’ll never see the results. This is nicely illustrated by a recent comment from Kate Tempest:
The difference between a writer and someone who dreams of being a writer, is that the writer has finished.
Having clarity on what is important enables you to make better choices about what to do about the unimportant. If you still need convincing, as yourself this – How am I going to succeed if all of my valuable time is eroded by the non-essential at the expense of what I want to achieve with my life?
Isn’t it time you took action? Speak to a coach and #StartSomething or #ChangeSomething.