The Simple Approach for Killing Goals Despite a Hectic Life
“You don’t set out to build a wall. You don’t say ‘I’m going to build the biggest, baddest, greatest wall that’s ever been built.’ You don’t start there. You say, ‘I’m going to lay this brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day. And soon you have a wall.”
— Will Smith
It’s easy to feel run down when you’re a grown adult with a 9–5 job and a plethora of responsibilities.
You get home at night, you’re exhausted and can’t muster up the energy to do much.
The thought of being productive, like working towards a desired goal, sounds a bit like carrying five bags of groceries to the 10th floor with a five-year-old screaming at you. OK. Maybe not that dramatic, but it definitely feels overwhelming when you’re already working a lot.
Still, thoughts of improving yourself by reading up on trends, teaching yourself the latest software or learning that one skill you always wish you had, crosses your mind a few times.
Well, with the right approach you can still work on your skill set and learn new things, even when life gets busy and hectic.
The trick is to narrow down the steps into manageable bits that don’t exhaust you.
Our natural inclination is to think of tasks from the starting point to the end, and envision the total workload needed to achieve the end-goal. That’s not very motivating for most, in fact, it’s overwhelming.
But something changes when you approach it from a different perspective.
Instead of killing your drive by thinking of the total effort it takes to reach a goal, like getting 10,000 followers on Twitter, think of how you can divide that workload into small, manageable bits.
If your goal is to increase your following, spend 10 minutes in the morning interacting with your followers, retweeting, following relevant users or scheduling tweets for later. Try that again later when you have a short break.
If you’re trying to become an Excel whiz, grab a book that teaches you the shortcuts and formulas, and then dedicate 15 minutes on your lunch break to go over lesson 1. Then do the same again later, when you can spare a little time.
It’ll surprise you what you can get done with focused effort for short intervals.
By going with a method that’s manageable, you’ll be much more consistent.
It’s easy to find one day every once in a while to work on something you desire. Doing that consistently, however, is often unrealistic and ineffective in the long run.
I’ve tested the method of breaking my effort into bits on many goals.
A while ago I couldn’t draw a stick figure right. I’m not exaggerating. I always had this fantasy of being able to pull out a notepad and within five minutes sketch out beautiful faces or amazing objects.
What held me back from learning how to draw was thinking of how little free time I had to work on it and how far away I was from being able to do that. It was overwhelming.
Then I started spending 15–20 minutes before bed drawing. I started with simple lessons, which quickly evolved into complicated drawings.
By week 3 I was drawing objects in 3D using shading techniques I didn’t know existed. All I needed was to break the steps to reach my goal into small, manageable bits that didn’t overwhelm me.
Imagine what you could achieve in a month or a year with that approach on your own goals.
So, here’s my challenge to you: pick a goal, two-three time slots of 10 minutes every day and work towards something that you’re passionate about. Even if you don’t achieve your goal during the first month, I guarantee that the results will surprise you. Besides, trying something new when the old isn’t working won’t hurt.
I’d love to hear your ideas. What approach do you use to reach your goals? Let me know on Twitter!
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