Getting closer to your goals, one day at a time requires some planning…
But when it comes to our to-do lists, far too many of us become undisciplined yes-women and yes-men. We complete easy tasks as we attempt to feel productive, instead of actually being productive. In actuality, the tasks we do are rarely the ones we should be prioritizing, or doing at all.
A System To Prioritize Tasks
Goals are great for providing targets to strive towards. To make sure your actions are aligned with your aspirations, I recommend following the APP system: this aligns your macro goals with your micro tasks.
Awareness Goes a Long Way
Usain Bolt’s incredible speed wouldn’t break many records if he wasn’t sprinting towards the finish line. In the same way, our ability to wipe out tons of tasks in a day doesn’t do us much good if those task don’t bring us towards our goal. This is why the first step in the APP system is awareness. To prioritize and accomplish meaningful tasks, you have to find out what you’re running towards.
At the very top of your task list, create 3-5 medium term goals for yourself. Try to avoid creating more than five goals at a time, as progress towards goals typically requires a lot of time, and time is limited.
Prioritization is Key
“What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
This is Gary Keller’s famous focusing question from his book, The One Thing. It asks people to consider what is the most important thing they can do to accomplish their goals. As you concentrate on this focusing question, you’ll find many tasks come to mind.
Certain tasks (buying things, going places) can feel very important, but are they are necessary for you to become the person you want to be? If tasks are not tied to your goals, toss them out. This is the most painful part of your process, but also the most important.
Progress Gets You Where You Want to Go
Benjamin Franklin is famous for asking himself every evening, “What good have I done today?” Asking that question does two crucial things. First, it makes you take a good look at your day, allowing you to plan future days more effectively. Secondly, and most importantly, it makes you note the progress you’re making towards your goals.
Being goal-oriented often means looking into the future and acknowledging the distance that separates you from your goal. This can be hard to handle sometimes. By taking a moment to look backwards and reflect on what you’ve accomplished, it can raise your morale and strengthens your belief in your ability to accomplish your aspirations.
If you’re looking to prioritize your goals and take important steps towards realizing them, a trusted business advisor can help.