Pre-S #2: Plan Your Year is now available. Check it out here.
Today I want to share with you a simple-yet-powerful structure for attaining your goals.
And what’s special about this little process is that it’s free from any particular productivity system, app, or methodology.
It’s as simple as this:
- Define an outcome you’d like to see happen.
- Think of one thing you can do to make progress toward that outcome.
- Do that one thing.
- Repeat steps 2 & 3.
That’s it. You’re looking at the fundamental formula for planning and accomplishing.
Here’s why this little process works so well:
You’re taking one big thing, and breaking it down into something small and simple that you can do today in incremental steps.
You’re taking a goal, and your then moving on to focus on the system that will get you there.
Contrast that against something that is more common: coming up with an idea or a goal, and then instantly thinking of all the big hurdles and “unknowns” related to that goal, and then quitting before you even get started.
How to Eat an Elephant
You’ve no doubt heard the adage: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
It’s important to focus primarily on steps 2 and 3 — identify the one thing you can do to make progress and then go do it.
But instead, many people focus mostly on step #1 — the goal itself. I’m all for having clear goals, but staring deeply into the eyes of those goals will not make them come about. You’ve got to take action.
If you remember from last week we talked about the two camps of goal setting, and why it’s so important to focus on the system that keeps you moving and taking action.
When you’ve identified one single action and one single result, then the focus is no longer on managing your tasks — the focus is now on doing them.
There’s nothing wrong with systems and methodologies. In fact, once you have the wisdom and the skills to identify the most important thing to do next, then you can use any system or methodology you want. Use whatever makes sense for your personality type and your work environment.
Once you have the wherewithal to define what meaningful productivity looks like for you, then your productivity tools become a slave to your priorities, not the other way around.
Next we’re going to talk about how to lower the barrier of entry to your goals so you can finally get started on them. It’s a little something I like to call “activation energy”.
And in the meantime, you may be interested in my brand-new workbook: Plan Your Year. It’s simple and will help you get a clear, birds eye view of your year so you can focus on what is most important.