Just the other day, I received an urgent voice message. “Hello Jason, I just read your book, and now that I have a clear vision of where I want to be, I have so much to do that I don’t even know where to start!” I hear something like this quite often. Can you relate?
Perhaps you have set a goal so big that it now seems impossible to achieve, maybe you have lost momentum. Or, maybe you jump from one area of focus to the next because it is easy to be distracted by something more urgent. I like to compare long-term projects to a long-distance race. (I’m a triathlete, and during the year I train for races that take between 3-6 hours to complete.)
If you go too fast too soon, you will have run out of energy – and breath – before you reach the finish line. Similarly, while you’re working on a long-term project for weeks – or even months – at a time, you may lose sight of your objective and what is important for you.
If you are like most people, you probably have too many tasks, all to do at the same time. If you were prompted to take time now to write a to-do list, you would likely write down more than one hundred items – like one of my clients from New York did some time ago.
These are tasks you need to focus on, both in your personal and professional life. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you think there is too much to do and not enough time to do it. Because there is!
How can you be productive when you are working on one project and your mind is thinking of what you are NOT doing?
The good news is that there are tactics and tools you can use to overcome this, gain momentum and achieve your goals! People around the world are using these tactics to make a positive difference and create massive results. The strategies found in Your Best Just Got Better help them work consistently, efficiently and effectively.
If you are going to change the way you work for the better, it’s time to get started. The secret to not feeling overwhelmed is to begin by making small choices. Here is how you can do it:
Starting today, think of the next five days and look at them as a series of choices. What can you do each day that will take you closer to achieving your goals?
Next, organize your day into three parts: Morning, Midday and Evening.
What is the time of the day when you are at your best? Decide the kinds of things you will do in each time zone. For example, if you are a morning person and feel energized when the sun rises, it is better to focus on the bigger projects in the morning so you can get momentum. Leave the smaller or simpler tasks for the evening when your energy level is down.
Begin with a commitment to progress on just 3 significant outcomes each day. These are the things you will focus on; ensure that you have tasks, phone calls, meetings and opportunities to move on those three outcomes. You will benefit from the sense of completion you get at the end of the day.
If you want to bring this up one level, call somebody around 2 or 3pm, and tell them how you did during the day and what you accomplished to make progress on one of your bigger goals. It could be a friend, a mentor or a colleague. Take 5-10 minutes to share how you are making progress and consistently achieving your daily goals. (Also, consider listening if they will share how they are driving their projects forward.
This is what Alicia, an entrepreneur from Atlanta, learned about making small choices consistently: “When I was presented with a project to launch our line of products to a brand new market, I felt overwhelmed with the amount of things that needed to be done: research the customers, read about local regulations, contact providers and intermediaries, and more.”
Notice, this project could easily be one that consumed not only Alicia’s time, but also her energy or focus. It is very important to recognize that when you do take on something new, it’s not just time you’re committing, but those other two resources: Time and Energy.
She said, “So I decided to start small and write only 3 things to do each day related to this large project. Whenever I had an “extra” hour, I would focus on this project by doing 3-4 small tasks related to it. 8 months later we were ready for distribution and promotion of our line overseas. Knowing I had daily goals that I could actually achieve each day allowed me to get momentum and make significant progress towards a bigger result.”
Get started today. Take on something bigger, and break it down into smaller chunks of activity. By doing so, you’ll be able to make a continued series of smaller choices and move forward, faster on your goals.
Jason W. Womack is founder of The Womack Company, a productivity-training firm based in Ojai, Calif. He is author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More (Wiley, 2012). He coaches leaders around the world as an advisor, helping them reach their next level of success. Please visit, www.GetMomentum.co for information. And, follow along at www.twitter.com/jasonwomack