The late, great Zig Ziglar highlighted that “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time”. Knowing what goals you intend to achieve for your life and your career, and everything that lies in between, is the foundational requirement for a life of Mega-Productivity.
The scary thing is that, until we’ve undertaken a programme like Mega-Productivity, which asks and demands that we focus on this question, many of us don’t know what it is we want. We may have a vague idea of the level of success we desire in our professional and personal spaces, but we are not able to express our ambitions or intentions in specific terms.
Not having clear direction is like attending a meeting and not having a clue why you are there or what’s being discussed. It’s like agreeing to purchase a business when you don’t know what the company does or produces. Not knowing – with absolutely clarity – what you want, and therefore what steps to undertake to get there, is the number one time waster in Mega-Productivity terms.
So, where do you want to focus?
The best place to start is to consider what it is that you want in your life overall. To help you get started, download the free Life Wheel here. Follow the instructions included. The idea is to rank the different areas of your life as you find them now on a scale of 1 to 10 (one being not satisfied at all, ten being completely satisfied). Then, repeat the exercise, but this time reflect on where you’d like to be in each of these areas in three to five years.
Once you can see your Life Wheel in colour, and the gaps between where you are now and where you’d like to be, you can decide which area of your life is most important for you to focus on developing now.
When you look at your Life Wheel, you may decide to focus on the area that is going to give you the most amount of satisfaction. Or you may decide that you want to focus now on the area that presents the biggest gap between where you are now, and where you want to be. Alternatively, you may decide that the next five years is a great time to focus on progressing your career, and choose to focus there. Perhaps you’ve recently had a health scare, and need to focus on regaining your wellbeing as a priority.
It doesn’t matter which area of your life you decide to focus on. What is important is that you make an active decision.
What specific goals do you want to achieve?
Once you’ve identified the area of your focus, it is time to set SMART goals. This is the process of setting very specific goals that will get you to where you ultimately want to be.
To restate the importance of this process, becoming Mega-Productive is absolutely pointless if you are focusing on goals that will never get you to where you want to be, or don’t have any goals at all, and go where the wind blow you.
SMART is an acronym for:
S – Specific
Avoid setting vague goals. You must know exactly what it is that you wish to achieve. Describe, in as much detail as you can muster specifically what you wish to achieve or experience.
M – Measureable
Your goal must be measureable, and can be so in a number of ways. You could choose to lose a certain number of pounds / kilograms, pay off a defined amount of debt, save a particular amount of money, buy a car or house for a certain value, achieve something within a definitive time period or grow your business by a certain percentage.
Your goal must be written in a manner where you will know with certainty when it has been achieved.
Consider also how you are going to track your progress. Are you going to make use of an App to assist you? Will you record your progress in a diary? Hire a coach? Find an accountability partner? Think through the process that you can utilise to keep yourself focused on the goal. The aim is to motivate yourself to remain highly driven and committed to your goal’s achievement – until it is done.
A – Attainable
Consider what resources you are going to need to achieve your goal. Committing to do something for two hours a day when you are already over-subscribed is a recipe for non-completion. Look at what you want to achieve and reflect on what resources you will need, and who can support you on this journey. Put these resources into play at the beginning of your journey towards achievement and keep them in play until you have achieved your goal.
R – Realistic
The time period you set for yourself must be realistic. In the beginning, instead of setting challenging goals, set goals that you know you are capable of achieving. You can always increase the rate of delivery or the level of challenge once you’re in the groove.
The danger of setting goals that are too demanding upfront is that you throw in the towel before you get into the habit of taking action and completion of daily tasks. Start small – as Lao Tsu says “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
T – Timely
Be very clear on how much time you will need to achieve your goal, and when you intend to be complete. Goals without timelines are simply dreams. If your goal is a really large one, perhaps set interim goals that give you line-of-sight towards achievement.
Map it out and take action
Becoming clear on what you want to achieve is a foundational step towards Mega-Productivity. Congratulations for completing it!
The next steps are to break the large goal down into a list of actions that you need to achieve, and take daily action. Further blogs on this subject are available here to assist you navigate this journey.
Act, act, act. Do what you have promised yourself you will do, when you have committed to do it. Leverage the resources and support around you to get you moving towards your goal, and keep you moving towards your goal.
Read the latest blogs to help you gain increased clarity on your chosen focus area.
Sign up for one of our Mega-Productivity coaching programmes to get personalised help, join the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn community focused on attaining Mega-Productivity, and don’t forget to sign up to receive our newsletter (see the sign-up box on the right) to receive tips and tools directly in your Inbox.