After reading a number of books on personal development I would like to consider myself beyond a beginner in the space, but far from an expert. I am a student who never stops learning. One of the earliest things you learn when reading about achieving a goal is to write it down. The problem is that is not of itself going to get you to complete the goal. You need to create a game plan to achieve it and spend time doing it.
Every Sunday I try and review my weekly goals to measure what tasks were completed, half completed and not done at all. I then write my goals for the following week, these goals are based on my monthly goals that are subsequently based on my yearly goals. With the goals set out for the week, it is up to me to break them up into daily to-do lists.
The daily to-do lists are where things break down. Life has so many distractions not to include that new tasks get added to an exhaustive list of actions. How on earth does one get things done? I am going to give you my strategy to deal with this that can be adapted to your own life.
Layout the list on a sticker note and stick it on your computer in your office
I have recently started to put a sticker note on my computer screen where I can constantly see it so I am aware of it, but it’s not distracting from my existing tasks. I think it’s so important to place your to-do list in a frequent place you will always review it. For me, writing it in a notepad might mean it never gets seen. Be active in where you place it. I was listening to a Tim Ferris podcast recently where he interviewed Poker legend, Phil Hellmuth. It was here I learned that Phil places sticky notes in his bathroom mirror and he achieved many long-term goals from it.
Prioritise the most important tasks
So you have now written your tasks down, great, but the problem is getting them all done. You see I think that is a problem with most people when setting goals they believe that they are going to get them all done. When was the last time you got 100% in a test? I would say a long time ago or never. You should expect the same outcome with goals in that if the day ends you shouldn’t be upset if you didn’t complete the entire to-do list.
However, what you should focus on are the most pressing tasks that you need to do. One way of doing this is saying the following ‘ What would I have to get done today to make this a productive day’. Once you answered that you have realized your most demanding task.
Focused periods of time to get tasks done
To produce great work you need to have large blocks of time devoted to the task in hand. With a lot of distractions, this can sometimes seem like an impossible task. I came across the ‘Pomodoro’ method that focuses on 4 x 25-minute slots of time where you focus on one task entirely for those 25 minutes. So it works like the following:
First work on one task for 25 minutes then taking a 5-minute break do this 3 more times and take a 25-minute break. I use the Google timer on my computer browser to make sure I stick to this and so far it has been working well.
So I guess a way of concluding this post is to highlight that writing down a goal is one aspect of getting it done. It requires a lot more in terms of good execution to get it done.