It is January. Most of my clients are working on annual goals (except those on a different fiscal timelines) and most have pretty big things they plan to achieve in the next twelve months. We are making sure that their goals are SMART and such. But that isn’t what will ensure a goal is achieved.
The reality is that all of us have a lot of stuff to do. It is easy to have very busy days, where we work really hard and are tired at the end of the day, without having the sense that we accomplished anything meaningful.
In some ways, goals that require chunks of dedicated time are easier to manage. Most have hard deadlines that force us to block out time in our calendar to ensure they are achieved.
Yet many goals are achieved by a series of small steps taken consistently over time. These are the ones that can easily get kicked down the road as something to do “tomorrow.” Yet a few simple steps can change this trajectory completely.
Make a list of things you can accomplish in about 10 minutes that are directly related to your goal. The longer the list is, the better.
Example: Your goal is to speak about your work to 12 organizations per year.
Sample 10 minute activities:
- Write one email requesting the opportunity to speak
- Send your email to five people
- Call someone about the opportunity to speak
- Write an outline for your next talk
- Gather pictures you could use in a PowerPoint
Look at your “normal” days of the week. Determine how many 10 minute activities you can accomplish each day.
- Monday – 4
- Tuesday – 2
- Wednesday – 0
- Thursday -2
- Friday -4
Set an alarm on your phone each day as a reminder to work in your Power of 10 Minute projects. For example: Monday, you could set 4 alarms during the workday.
Make sure that each day you pick the correct number of “to-dos” off the list and get them done.
This method will provide the following benefits:
- At the end of each day you can feel a sense of accomplishment for completing your 10 minute tasks.
- You will make steady, measurable progress towards your goal.
- Because each task takes only 10 minutes, you can easily slip it in around the other stuff that crops up.
- Because you already have a list of things to do, you won’t spend your first 10 minutes deciding what you should do.
Try it out! Make your goal for this week to start a 10 minute task list. Add to it whenever you have a new idea. Add or remove things as they make sense. Next week start fitting your 10 minute tasks into your day. Adjust until it fits comfortably (maybe 4 is too many on Monday – your plan, you can change it!)
You may be surprised how easily you make progress towards the things that matter to you.
Charlise Latour a business coach and owner of Accelerate Your Success. She works with each client to determine what their goals are and create a plan so they can achieve them. She is actively involved in Dancing & Singing With The King which raises money to promote dance education including working with local schools to offer dance classes during the school day. This is a natural fit as she is an avid ballroom dancer.