How can we tell the difference between what is important and what is urgent? It’s not an easy task, but there are a few things that will tell you.
Let’s say you have decided to do something that will take you a step closer to your goal, something important to you. Whatever pops up in your mind will be all the urgent things you could do instead. All of these things will seem relatively easy to do compared to the important task you initially set out to do. You will also be more inclined to do these mundane things since they’re so easy to do. What you don’t realize is that you’re wasting your time.
Brian Tracy wrote an awesome book called Eat That Frog that talks about this. He says to do the difficult things first and then tackle the easy stuff. This way you will always be working towards something better without wasting too much time.
Every single moment will present you with other things you could do instead of focusing on your important task. It will take a huge amount of willpower to plow through and get going. As I’m sitting here, a ton of new ideas keeps coming up and I really have to fight them off to keep writing. I’ve set my goal for today and I will keep going until I’ve reached my target.
What I sometimes do is I write down my ideas in my notepad I keep right next to me so I don’t forget them. Other times I just let them go because I know that I will remember them later if they are important to me.
How can you keep your focus when all of these great ideas keeps popping up?
Here is a short, but awesome plan you can set up and use on all your projects.
- Set a goal
- Split up your goal into smaller pieces
- By month
- By week
- By day
- Or even by hour
- Begin taking action
Set a goal
A goal can be anything. The important part is for you to get a clear picture of your goal. If you’re not clear about where you want to go, you will end up somewhere else and you may not like it. By having your goal clearly in your mind you are presented with the first possible step forward automatically.
The best part of having a clear goal is that it becomes a possibility. It becomes something you can actually do, have or be. When you keep your goal in your minds eye and keep it there for a prolonged period of time, it becomes a reality for you. You will begin to feel it with all of your being and as you expand, so will your ideas and life.
What was once a dream suddenly becomes your life and it feels amazing. Sure, it has taken a lot of effort, but you will realize that it has really been effortless. You passion has driven you and it shines through everything you do.
There are different thoughts on goal setting. Some think that you should aim high. So high that it scares the shit out of you. Like the quote says If your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough! Other people think that by aiming high will, at some point, discourage you and that aiming a little lower will allow you to grow over time.
Both are valid and I urge you to give both perspectives a try in your Life Lab.
Split up your goal into smaller pieces
A lot of professionals tells us that a good way to split up our goals is by going backwards. Think of your goal and then break it down into pieces until you end up in the present moment. You will then have your first step right in front of you.
The main thing to do right now is to actually take the first step. Like Tony Robbins says Take Massive Action! It took me many years to really understand this concept. My resistance was so strong that I was unable to shift into this new paradigm. I also want to say that I think Mr. Robbins is wrong. The reason I think Tony Robbins is wrong is based on my own experience and resistance. It is impossible to Take Massive Action when you honestly don’t know what to do.
This is why it’s so important to break things up into smaller pieces. Your goal, in reality, consists of small actions taken every day on a consistent basis. Also, a small task is much easier to tackle than trying to do everything at once. Remember, you cannot do everything, but you can do anything you desire.
I thought that to Take Masive Action meant that I would have to lose everything I had and that really scared me. I wasn’t ready at all because I was so impatient. I wanted instant success and if I couldn’t get it, I would not start.
To begin, do what you can with what you have right now.
Begin taking action
Whatever you do, as long as it’s something towards your goals, no matter how small it is will be more than 90% of the population. This means that your small step today is 100% more than what your friends and family are doing.
I was always comparing myself to other people and their success and that halted my progress for many years. It made me see only my shortcomings. It dragged me into a darkness that was my reality all my adult life.
The smaller the steps you can break your goals into, the easier it will be to actually do them. For example, I wanted to write this book for so long, but it seemed an impossible task because I only saw the finished book in my head. How the hell can I write a whole fucking book? It must be at least 400 pages or 100.000 words. Yikes! No way was I ever going to do that. A few years later I came to a realization that I didn’t have to write the whole book at all.
My main goal is to write it, but my daily goal is to write 2000 words. I can even break this into even smaller pieces by focusing on writing just one paragraph. One sentence at a time. One paragraph at a time and before I know it I will have written my 2000 words for the day.
The funny thing is that when I have completed my goal, writing becomes even easier. I felt it yesterday when I hit my target. A relief blew over me and writing became effortless. I only stopped because I felt satisfied and exhausted at the same time. I’m new to this, so getting those 2000 words down takes its toll.
When I read No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert Glover I saw that I was not the only one struggling. He wrote that he came to a realization that didn’t have to write the book and that gave him the permission to relax. That’s what I experienced yesterday.
By allowing yourself to fail you will take away a lot of pressure. Less pressure makes your day ten times easier. When you understand that you don’t have to do a task, even though it is important, it will make the task more enjoyable. If you’re not enjoying what you are doing, find another important task you enjoy and then do that instead. Don’t fall into the trap of doing the urgent stuff. Keep your focus.
The program I am using to write this book has a feature that highlights the paragraph I am working on and is dimming everything else. It also works in full screen mode that also takes away any distractions going on on my computer. Using it in dark mode makes it easier on the eyes and enables me to work over longer periods of time. I will provide a link to it at the end of the book.
One major resistance I’ve experienced throughout the years was the urge to be perfect. If I couldn’t make what I wanted to do in a perfect manner, I wouldn’t do it. Perfectionism is an illusion.