Today I’m going to teach you how to get things done. If you follow these seven steps you will not only be more productive but will end each day with a greater sense of accomplishment and peace. You’ll be able to devote more attention to your family, your relationships, and whatever else you hold close to your heart. The key to all this is what I call a push goal.
A push goal is the heaviest weighted goal you have that will help you achieve all the other goals you want to accomplish. The push goal will create a chain reaction, much like a line of dominos, to get you from where you are to where you want to be. Most push goals, 90% of them, are finance related goals because most people need money to be able to do things. This will make more sense in the following steps.
Step 1: Create a list of 10 goals
To identify your push goal, first you need to figure out which goals lie closest to your heart, give you the most passion, and make you happy. Create a list of 10 things you want to happen in the next year. They can be from any area of your life, spiritual to health or even hobbies. Make one of these goals related to creating additional income and improving your financial situation. The finance goal should be something like, “I’m going to save this amount by this date” or “I’m going to generate this much income by this date by doing this”. Once you get very specific about this finance goal, it will become your push goal.
For this step you’re going to need a clean sheet of paper and a sharpened pencil. This paper will become very important, so it needs to be in a place where it won’t get tossed out or lost. Take 30 minutes, look at your push goal, and write down all the thoughts you have related to this goal. For example if your push goal is to start a business you probably have overwhelming thoughts about all that goes into starting a business. Instead of letting those thoughts immediately overwhelm you, write them all down. Write anything that comes to mind, questions or thoughts even if it sounds strange or unrelated.
Step 3: The Break Down
Look at each item on the list and ask yourself, “is this something I can get done in 10 minutes?” If the answer is no you need to break that question down further. Continuing with the business example, one question may be about creating a website. You can’t build a website in 10 minutes but you may be able to do domain name research in 10 minutes, or a Google search for existing businesses in the field you’re interested in. It’s easy to let big tasks stop us from making progress because we don’t know how to start them or they take too much time. Breaking each large task into 10-minute chunks will turn an obstacle into doable tasks.
Step 4: Choose 2 Things
Each day you will pick two things, just two, and complete them. Each task will take 10 minutes and every day you’ll make progress. Take a picture of this brain dump with your smartphone and email the picture to yourself. That way you always have a copy of it on hand, and whenever a 20-minute window opens up you’ll have the list to work from. Picking two things, with a maximum of three, is very important because no matter how busy or chaotic your day was, at the end you can say you did those two things and made progress. Trying to do anything more than two or three tasks from the list will quickly become overwhelming and easy to avoid by doing other tasks. Two things are simple and easy, and done in 20 minutes.
Step 5: Create a system to make it a habit
Many people think a habit is something you force yourself to do everyday until it becomes automatic. The habits that come to mind are things like brushing your teeth or flossing. Through all my research and experience with habits I’ve learned that the key to forming a habit is actually how that activity makes me feel. Brushing your teeth became a habit not because you want to avoid cavities but because you like the feeling of a clean mouth. Activities that make you feel good are ones you’re more likely to stick with. Identify how you feel when you’re working on this brain dump list. It probably feels good to cross off those two tasks per day, and the sooner you feel good about working on it, the sooner you’ll want to return to it the next day.
Our phones are part of our lives. Having a to-do list app will allow you to get into the habit of checking your list every time you check your phone. Place this app on the first screen of your phone and make it the first app you check throughout the day. Put two tasks on this list each day, this is why having a digital copy of your brain dump will help, and complete them when the opportunity strikes. A great app I like is Awesome Note.
Step 7: The Best Use of Your Time
The next habit you’re going to form is asking yourself “is this the best use of my time?” Get into the routine of measuring whatever you’re doing against this phrase. You’ll find yourself getting away from “fiddling” and instead getting more focused. We all have those tasks we use to procrastinate with, by asking yourself this one question you’ll learn what you’re best suited for, and which tasks it may be better to outsource. Early on, put post it notes in the areas where you procrastinate to help you check in and become more productive.
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