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How do you know what’s the best use of your time right now?
Link your daily behavior to your purpose.
You’ll make better choices and see the value in seemingly insignificant or trivial tasks. It keeps you focused on doing what needs to be done to get what you say you want.
It’s one thing to say what you want, to choose projects that will get you what you want, and set goals that will achieve those projects. But, you still have to do the work. You still have to pay the price by just doing it.
Linking your purpose to your daily behaviors underlines the responsibility and the discipline you need to complete your projects.
Having an overall objective and doing what needs to be done gets priority. You can make your choices about what you are doing consciously, knowing that every little bit helps.
For example, one of your projects in support of your purpose of a successful one-person business may be getting a web site to promote your business.
Choosing to bring your lunch rather than spending eight dollars at the café every day is obviously the right choice. By doing the math, you quickly see you’ll save about $150 a month on lunch. Putting that money aside will get you your new web site that much faster.
It’s the little things done consistently and persistently that make the huge difference in achieving our projects, whatever our projects are.
Even with marketing and sales. New behavioral research has shown smaller tasks done more often are more effective in reaching your goals than larger projects done less frequently. Even if a larger project puts you in front of more people, it still isn’t as effective as more frequent, smaller contacts.
Build in momentum sustainers. If you’re like most people you start out a new project enthusiastically, and then lose track of it in the bustle of all your other obligations.
By building in appointments with people to check in with, and appointments with yourself for review, you force yourself to be accountable. You might want to set up weekly goals for yourself, or make an agreement to accomplish specific tasks by your next check in date.
Additional techniques for linking daily behaviors and long-term projects include:
Remind yourself what to do to support your purpose. Put up reminder notes around your house to keep your purpose front and center.
Figure out how long specific tasks take so you won’t skip out by telling yourself it takes too long or you don’t have the energy. At one point I decided I would get more serious about keeping up my database. I had told myself it was too big a hassle to do and I would wait until I had a lot and then find someone to do it for me. I was embarrassed to discover entering new contacts weekly actually took fifteen to twenty minutes.
Use lost, or fiddle time, to punch a hole in a bigger project. I always take work with me when I go on appointments. I can read an article, review my appointments for the next day, make a quick call on my cell phone in those times that would other wise be wasted.
Build in an artificial deadline and put yourself on a schedule. Play a game with yourself, and even reward yourself, for being a good kid when you’ve done one of those necessary but not fun little jobs.
Give yourself credit for what you have done and the hassles and work it was to accomplish it. I live in a wonderful town. When I tell people where I live, their reaction is usually “You’re so lucky to get to live there.” Luck had nothing to do with it. It’s part of a project I have in giving myself the business and life style I want.
(c) 2004, Pat Wilklund. All rights in all media reserved.