In this post I am sharing a technique I use for myself when I have a goal but my mind is all over the place. Sometimes I find myself really excited about my goals. But because I am a curious creature by nature I get distracted easily when something new peaks my interest. I love to learn so when I find something interesting I want to dive in and learn all about it. This a great problem to have but when I need to work on a specific goal I cannot afford having my mind all over the place like this. It’s a total time suck.
You may be like me and love to learn so you want to absorb whatever you find interesting or you might get distracted by friends, family, work, Facebook, Instagram or Netflix. This list could go on forever. 10 minutes reading an article on Facebook turns into 1 1/2 hours of googling about a topic, watching videos on youtube, or watching a webinar and registering for another webinar blah…blah…blah. It’s exhausting. I would get so frustrated with myself that I would want to give up. Then what ends up happening? I’m back on Facebook or youtube doing the exact thing that put me in this defeated mindset.
I learned this skill a few years ago from a book I read called The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch. The book explains that 80% of our results are derived from 20% of our efforts. To be honest using 20% of effort made this concept so appealing. I had to try it. I have tested this many a times and it never fails.
For my goals I use what I call a “Focus Map” it’s basically just an outline specific to one goal and one goal only but because I limit it to 6 items it forces me to focus on what is important steps for me take right now. Right now being within 30-60 days.
To make the focus map effective and reach your goals you must start with the end in mind. What is the ultimate result you want? That should be the at the top of your outline as the header. Next you want to add 5-10 action steps where you write down specific actions you will take. Number the steps and write the steps in present tense. Include due dates, time, names and as many clear details as possible. Keep your sentences as concise as possible.
The specifics of your outline should be in some type order with something big enough to elevate your efforts in the #1 spot. If you are in a position where you can’t make #1 a big enough thing to elevate your efforts due to lack of funds then your focus map needs to focus on meeting needs first! If any important needs are not met, i.e finances, health, family relationships then goals will be very difficult to meet let alone create. Needs have to be dealt with first and be in a place of stability in order for goals to be reached.
Here’s an example of a focus map.
Goal: Learn marketing to get a better paying job
- Finish marketing certification course ASAP! By 10/10/18
- Create valuable content weekly & share via social media and blog
- Meditate daily on goal, at least 10 minutes
- Create a creative space (get desk, chair, candles, crystals)
- Get a business coach/mentor by Nov 30th
- Join a professional business organization for networking opportunities
The power of outlining your goal into actionable steps allows your mind to focus on a positive thought process without using alot of effort. Action follows thoughts, repeated actions become habits. In the example above if I was to go about using the typical thought process here is how my goal would look in an outline.
Goal: Learn marketing to get a better paying job
- Research marketing certifications and decide which one take
- Read marketing books
- Sign up for newsletter on how to create content for blogs
- Go to Starbucks every Saturday and work on blog
- Register for writing classes
- Get business cards
- Start a blog
- Attend meetup groups
- Update resume
- Make linkedin profile
- Try to meet 3 new people every week
- Eat more fruit
- Wake up earlier to write & look for jobs.
- Make profile on all social media platforms
- Attend job fairs
There are 15 items on this list and in reality the logistics of this list would take 12 months to get done. For me this list would not work. If I don’t see my list dwindling dramatically I get bored and discouraged. If you are looking for quick results you will need to streamline what is the most important and why and focus only on those items until they are achieved.
Which list do you think will be better on your stress levels, keep your mind calm and actually get completed in the next 30 days??
Once you start knocking stuff off that list it really motivates your spirit to keep the momentum going.
The first list has actionable and measurable items that will get crossed off and replaced with new actionable and measurable items. All you are really doing is taking the steps of moving from where you are to where you want to be into bite size pieces for optimum ease and flow.
Always remember that it’s the baby steps (20%) that create the life you want (80%).