For some people, it’s comparatively easy to accomplish whatever they’ve set their mind to. They’ve learned, practiced, and implemented high productivity habits. And for others, it can seem like their list is so long, their need to great, that they’ll never get it all done in this life time. And so they give up. Only to try again. Only to give up. And then try again. But it’s often because they shoot too high, with a too aggressive time frame, and without consistent action. I’m here to tell tell you that, in fact, it’s absolutely possible to break this cycle as well as to actually accomplish whatever it is you’re looking to do.
The way to success is through focus and consistent action.
Focus- First you must focus on only one or two intentions at a time. If you’re trying to accomplish too many intentions at anyone time, you’re going to spend too much time, action and mental energy trying to keep everything in the air but too little time on each intention to ensure it is accomplished. Instead, with an unwavering focus on the one [or two] intentions that are the most important to you right now, you can not only devote the necessary time and mental energy to get a top priority for you done, but the sense of action and completion will sustain you in the time to come- when your energy or gusto temporarily abandons you.
Consistent Action – This is an equally important factor in accomplishing anything. Sailing through in the first few days or week is easy with the original energy and enthusiasm helping you to focus on the top priorities. But by creating space, perhaps 30 minutes three evenings a week, to action and getting something definitive done will help create a new habit of productivity that will help you knock down each task along the way.
I know you want to get everything done right now and have it all accomplished. But that kind of all or nothing thinking keeps the tasks unaccomplished and your ability to get things done diminished. Get clear and break it down to do-able steps, and STRETCH out your time frame for accomplishing it. Hey, you haven’t been able to accomplish it..what’s another 2 or 3 months to actually accomplishing what you’ve been trying to…for years maybe?
Once you’ve gotten an internal commitment to focus on just one thing and outlined the time you’re going to devote to taking consistent action without excuses, then the following 10 steps are a great action plan.
1. Identify Accomplishment/Destination. Write out the accomplishment you’re ready to tackle. Writing it out on a piece of paper [or laptop] is important for both clarity in understanding what you’re trying to achieve and for claiming your accomplishment, even before it’s achieved.
2. Identify the 10 most important tasks. Write out the 10 most important tasks that you need to take to get this accomplished. There may be more but focus on just the 10 most important tasks to get done right now for that task.
3. Prioritize. Prioritize the next three tasks, of the 10 listed in Point 2, that should be done first. By trying to get all 10 important tasks done, before you built your up your productivity habits, you will probably end up with another failed effort because the list is just too huge for you now.
4. Break it down to bite-size pieces/do-able tasks. Break out each of these three tasks into three little tasks, so that you have a total of 9 tasks to accomplish. By taking the most important three tasks and breaking them down further, you’re teaching yourself about what it really takes to get big goals accomplished. It also creates a do-able action plan that allows you to both actually get lots accomplished and get a sense of accomplishment.
5. Map it out on a 30-day plan. Create a new document called your 30-day plan, with 2 columns. In this document, put the nine tasks down in the left hand column and the dates by which you want to have each task accomplished- in a realistic timeframe.
6. Stay focused. Work just these 9 tasks. Don’t try to start new tasks. Don’t add to your list. When you feel like you could be doing more or different tasks, come back to this list and remember this is the plan.
7. Knock’em each down. Take consistent action. Work each of the 9 tasks, one after the other. Remember the time you set aside and respect the intention and commitment. Work for the 30 minutes on the nights you said would.
8. Enjoy the accomplishment. One of the most important parts of getting anything done is to acknowledge how far you’ve come. Step back to enjoy the sense of both moving forward to your goal, as well as the sense of accomplishment. What can you do to notice what you’ve gotten accomplished? A daily accomplishment list? A weekly one? No matter what it is, be sure to take in the smell of success!
9. What are the 10 next tasks? Now that you’ve gone the three most important higher level tasks accomplished, what are now the 10 most important tasks? [Hint: they may have changed now that you’re down the road a bit]. Return to Step 2 and continue down the following steps.
10. Rinse and Repeat until done. Continue getting 9 tasks per done as your focus. Keep your focus like a laser on just this month’s 9 steps. IF, and that’s a really important IF and quite a conditional one, you’ve truly respected your 30 minutes, three times a week [or whatever time you committed to set aside], and you’ve found it relatively easy to set it aside, you can also consider expanding the time devoted to this task by 5 or 10 minutes. But be sure to drop back if you find yourself less willing to devote 40 minutes rather than 30.
Productivity, like weight training, is a habit and one that takes practice, in small chunks, to get used to and to make effortless. By getting clear about the one thing you want to accomplish, the concrete next 9 tasks to work on in the next month, and taking consistent action, you will soon be a productive champ!
What methods have you used to successfully get something accomplished?