Every person is unique. Has a different vision for life, distinct dreams and desires. We all get motivated by different things too.
What do you see when you close your eyes and dare to dream? Where do you see yourself in the future? What your wikipedia entry will look like for the future generations; after you have kicked the bucket for centuries?
Well, some people never dare to close their eyes and dream. Some do, but their desires always remain wishful thinking. See, they didn’t try enough to figure out how to get there. Or didn’t try to actually get there! Others figured that they need to work hard to achieve their dreams. And end up spending their whole lives being busy, lonely and ultimately never productive, chasing after their tails. The final archetype that is of interest to discuss, is the productivity Jedi wannabe. They know their dreams and goals but keep looking for the philosopher’s stone of productivity, the holy grail of time management that will enable them to never work and be productive! As you can imagine they never get anything done either.
So we all want to achieve our dreams and most likely there is a hell of work involved. How can we do it?
1. Start with the dream!
Close your eyes and dare to dream big. Don’t set limits. Form your vision of life. Find your dreams, your desires and what drives you and give you purpose.
Suggested Reading: “10 First Steps to Make Your Dreams Happen”
2. Convert your dreams to goals and resolutions
Goals are like your roadmap in life. if you don’t know where you want to go, you can never get there. They can give you a clear sense of direction. A sense of meaning and purpose in everything you do. And every step toward them will make you happier and more confident in yourself and what you can do. They are not meant to dictate how you live or what you do in your life.
Do not confuse the sense of direction, with narrow-mindedness. Just because you decided you want to go somewhere today, doesn’t mean you should feel the same way tomorrow. And neither should mean you should shut off your eyes to any other opportunity.
But with that said, as long a goal is active make sure that the actions you take align, and not contradict with your goal!
3. Divide and Conquer
Or as you most likely have heard, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Don’t expect to complete your goals in a day either. You will need to plan longterm and work consistently getting closer piece by piece every day. To do that, divide your big unmanageable goals into small actionable tasks. I suggest that you start your analysis from the end. What you want to achieve? Trace back the steps to where you are now in an abstract way initially. Think what major milestones you will have to complete in order to get to your end game. Then repeat the process and connect the dots. In the end for every goal you should have come up with smaller tasks you can complete at your convenience.
4. Take action
There are many systems that can help you prioritize and organize tasks, like GTD, The ABC analysis, Eisenhower Method, Pareto analysis, POSEC method and countless others plus their combinations. All can work as easily as not work. The key point to remember is that having a task list is to prioritize things to DO, so as long they are done the method you follow is irrelevant. For most people, the best method is the one working for them and they consistently use.
Suggested Reading: “Time Management Tips for Freelance Designers”.
5. The power of habits and recurring tasks
Sometimes setting goals is counter productive. In a sense that goals have a beginning and an ending. Doing something on a regular daily basis, can help us achieve much more!
For instance you might wish to be thinner. You could set a goal i.e. “Lose 15 kg by March 2016” and achieve it. But then what? You might wish to be reading more. You could set a goal “Read 10 novels in 2016”, and then what? Waste your precious time by setting more similar goals?
Prevent problems in the first place, and make your lifelong wishes reality by forming habits. In the case of having a better silhouette you might want to start exercising every day and have a monthly or weekly nutrition plan, that you can be updating at the end of every week or month. In case of reading, maybe forming the habit to read a bit every day. (Even if it’s for just 15 minutes per day that will account to 91.25 hours of reading in a year! Assuming you need on average 3 – 6 hours to read a 300 page novel, that would be around 15 – 30 novels in a year!)
Most people find it hard to form habits though. The culprit is that they try to form too many habits at once. In order to form a habit you need to repeat something for at least 30 days. Or so they say. Tracking 7-8 habits might be problematic. What we need to do is actually form a single unbreakable habit! That is looking daily our habit list and complete all the items there no matter what.
I use Toodledo for my task management. There i have created a folder called “Reminders” which i look daily and it has all the habits i want to form, as recurring tasks. They might be repeating daily, weekly or monthly basis, meaning that each time I mark one as done, it automatically creates another copy for tomorrow or the next time i have to do this task again!
6. Being busy doesn’t equal being productive
People can be busy but not productive for many reasons. Maybe they are doing work that is not really important in furthering their goals. Maybe the tasks they are tackling are delegated to them by their colleagues and they didn’t have the guts to say “no” . Maybe they simply waste too much time and then getting stressed and anxious to finish a fast regenerating pile of mass work. If you are working too many hours and feel that you are back where you started yesterday, you might want to try a time study or analyzing your daily tasks through the Eisenhower Method.
Suggested Reading: “You Were Busy Yesterday, But Were You Productive?”
Realize and start chasing your dreams today! Don’t let them be another wishful thinking or another item in your bucket list. You don’t even have to wait till 2016 to start. Take action and start making them reality now! We all want to achieve our dreams and there is indeed a hell of work involved so dive in and have fun 😉