Bite-size your to-do list

To-do lists are important in your life.

Whether it is measuring yourself against your self-improvement goals, imbibing a good habit, or to stay motivated in your life, goals help you stay focused.

We have previously seen how easy it is to maintain To Do lists. All it takes is a few pieces of paper to write down stuff that you need to do. Else you can take the help from technology and promote more efficient use of resources.

Either ways the end goal is being tracked.

Or, is it?

Problem of distraction

You will often see that it is easy to get distracted.

You move away from the path that you have planned for yourself. Each day you procrastinate, you move further away from the path, and it becomes so much more difficult to get back to it.

This lack of focus results in a more demotivated you. You will gradually ignore the goal altogether. You will learn to get out of that zone by telling yourself that the goal was not practical, and it is not your fault that you were distracted.

But you don’t go back to immediately revising the goal. A goal-less, drifting life has more attraction since you think you have the “freedom” to do anything in life. So, you remain goal-less for sometime.

You do see the fallacy of such an action though. So you set new goals for yourself to coincide with the new year or any memorable occasion.

But, now the mind seems to have a mind of its own. You learn to device new ways to avoid thinking about goals altogether.

Getting back the focus

Seems familiar?

I have gone through the phases too. And, I learnt a good way to avoid that situation. The answer is pretty simple, really.

Have long term goals by all means. But always bite-size it for the goals to be effective.

Goals are meant to be achieved. Have goals that are ambitious, or audacious. Or it may be more nuanced goals regarding your finances or knowledge. Quantify them, set timelines for them, and keep them secure.

As a next step, bite-size them.

If you are not achieving your goal in one week, plan to split them in to activities and tasks for the week.

By doing this exercise you will automatically align yourself to your goals. You write down activities that are achievable for the week. These activities will contribute towards the overall goal, but do not appear significant by themselves. Let’s take an example:

BIG goal:

Earn $500 per month from my blog within one year

Smaller activities:

  1. Create at least one blog post per week that is not less than 1000 words
  2. Comment on at least one external blog on related topics
  3. Write at least one guest post every month on a PR3 blog

You will see that while achieving $500 per month gets you a high, you cannot achieve them immediately. So, I decide to split those activities that are achievable on a daily /weekly basis.

to-do list

Big goals provide an incomparable sense of achievement, but those are too few and far between. You need these mini goals in the meantime to keep your focus and motivate yourself to move towards a bigger goal.

Ticking off those smaller activities give a profound sense of purpose in life. You know that each and every time you tick-off an activity – you have moved towards your goal. You have the satisfaction of achievement today rather than waiting till the end of the year.

Reassess and recalibrate

Do not be afraid to reassess priorities as time passes by. In spite of best your intentions you can have a goal that is too ambitious, or your life may undergo a change for the better.

Reassess the bigger goals by taking the earliest opportunity. While you check off the activities every day, set aside a weekly time to validate whether the smaller activities are adding up to the bigger goals.

Continue on your chosen path if they do. Refocus if they don’t.

Tools

I use Asana to split the tasks into weekly, daily and even hourly activities. Asana makes it easy to create recurring activities that can be “ticked off” as done. And, the tool automatically creates the next instance.

You can also use any other To-Do list software too. But, do make sure it has the ability to check/scratch out the done tasks. There is nothing like the satisfaction derived from physically marking something as done!

 

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