Rather than considering what kind of success we want, we should ask, “What kind of pain do I want?” - James Clear.
Consider these two facts; you have a finite amount of years to live. And you have an average of four to six hours of focus time per day. Like money in the bank, how you allocate your time before it runs out is critical.
The painful parts:
- You have to be ready to sacrifice.
- If you constantly choose things you enjoy, your end result will likely not be what you want.
So, where do we allocate our time, and how do we prioritise all the tasks we hope will lead us to our end goal? Well, we start with our end goal, and we work backwards.
This is both complex and scary. And that’s fair, as it’s your life.
How to goal set
Figuring out what you want is hard; once you have nailed it down to something, you get a sense that you have now ruled out all the other possibilities. That feeling is called opportunity cost.
You can have anything you want, but you can’t have everything. So here’s how you pick:
- First, spend some time defining your values.
- Reflect on your last few years and consider what activities filled your cup.
- Write down all the big, macro long-term life goals you have.
- Index step 3 against 1 and 2.
- Refine your list.
- Divide this list into; Work, Personal and Learning.
- Objectively consider where you are, and then work backwards within those categories to set out what you need to work at, cultivate and learn to reach your ultimate outcome.
- Use a spreadsheet, a notebook or your calendar to allocate your time.
People who write down their goals are 33% more successful.
Why is this scary?
Defining what we want puts in plain sight just how far away we are from it. Too far away, and it can feel hopeless. Too close, and we need to question why we haven’t already reached that goal. What have we been prioritising that isn’t serving our greater vision?
Only 8% of people achieve their goals.
You need to get past this. Having a clear north star can become your most powerful tool. Maybe you’re in a job you hate right now, or your pay is terrible, or you are working for yourself with not enough clients. But if you can get out of bed every day and tell yourself that what you are doing may not be easy, but it aligns with your north star, you can get through anything.
A+R pro tips
+ Curate your environment to keep you focused and more efficient. For example, the average person in the UK spends 3.2 hours watching TV per day. Most people have their TV as the centre point of their living room. It’s like the supermarket putting the best sellers at eye level. Consider a small TV in the corner if your goal requires you to spend more time focused on productive tasks. The same goes for your desk; having a beautiful and distraction-free space allows you to focus on what’s important.
+ Time block with clear deadlines for yourself. On a macro level use a calendar, within you day check out desktop apps like Flow. Setting yourself focused time limits for tasks. Work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion - Parkinson's Law.
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Thank you, have a good week, Caspar.
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