James Clear

“If you want to summarize the habits of successful people into one phrase, it’s this: successful people start before they feel ready.”

JAMES CLEAR

Theodore H. (@theodorexh) - Profile Photo

@theodorexh

Time Management

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

It's where your brain specifically seeks the hit of dopamine you get from crossing off small tasks and ignores working on larger, more complex ones.

Track your metrics on a calendar

Pick a metric (or two) that makes sense for you and then track how many days you hit it.

Your calendar becomes a large, visual reminder of your progress (and also brings in the power of streaks).

It keeps you motivated and productive.

You become more purposeful about the work you do. And that can create the kind of meaning that so many of us search for in our daily work. You also have more insight into the value you’re creating.

Break out large tasks

...  into smaller pieces and visualize them.

When you’re facing a large project, your first step should be to break it out into smaller goals. Then, break those goals down into smaller tasks. The more chances you have to feel like you “finished” part of it, the more motivation you’ll get from your progress.

Why we feel busier than ever

... but feel like nothing gets done:

  • Our days are filled with meaningless, busy-work (like answering emails).
  • We’ve lost the ability to set meaningful, effective goals.
  • We don’t set in place methods for tracking progress.
  • We’ve lost the ability to handle uncertainty.
“The more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run. Whether they are trying to solve a major scientific mystery or simply produce a high-quality product or service.”
“Most of us make advances small and large every single day, but we fail to notice them because we lack a method for acknowledging our progress. This is a huge loss.”

Out of all the things that can boost our mood and motivation, the single most important is making progress on meaningful work.

Just like we love crossing small tasks off our to-do list, being able to see that we’re even one step closer to a big goal is a huge motivator. The problem is that these “small wins” are hard to measure.

... and start every day at zero.

Rather than simply looking at your overall progress on a project, set smaller daily quotas.

If your goal is especially complex, a quota can be easier to hit than a goal. 

Write in a diary

... for 5 minutes a day.

At the end of each day, take a few minutes to write about what you worked on. Make sure to note both your “small wins” and any setbacks.

At the end of the month, flip back through your notes and see how far you’ve come. It’s amazing the clarity you get from seeing the progress you made over a longer period

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RELATED IDEAS

The Worst Offender In Your Lack Of Focus

Lack of self-efficacy, that is your confidence (or belief) in navigating a challenging situation and shooting down potential obstacles is a fundamental reason for the inability to focus.

  • Coined in 1977 by psychologist Albert Bandura, self-efficacy is different from confidence, as it relates to a particular task or topic.
  • High self-efficacy results in less stress and depression and almost guarantees your personal accomplishment.
  • A low self-efficacy results in procrastination, failure and blame games.

4

IDEAS

Habit tracking

Is a simple and effective thing to do if you want to stick with a habit for good. No matter the format (calendar, journal, app), it provides immediate evidence whether you are making progress or need to change course.

Being purposeful with your day

Time management is about taking control of the time you do have available and using it optimally for productivity while creating balance.

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