Do you ever look at your daily agenda and feel a sense of dread?
There are so many things to do every day. Big projects and small projects. Business tasks and personal tasks. Meetings, emails and action items.
The more you check off, the more that seem to pop up the next day, or week.
You can feel, if you don’t pay close attention, that you are just going through the motions of life, on an endless hamster wheel of activity.
Sometimes, you are.
What, exactly, is on your to do list?
Where and how are your deepest priorities reflected in your daily activities?
Where does writing your first great novel fit in?
Where does meeting your business hero fit in?
Where does starting that business, moving to Thailand, buying a house for your parents fit in?
Big goals, tiny actions
Sometimes, we have the opportunity to take a big chunk of time to do something totally different with our lives, like a personal sabbatical. This way, we can batch big goals, and make a lot of big progress in a short period of time.
For most people, the pace of life/family/bills does not allow for such luxury.
We fit in big goals in the cracks of light that shine in our busy lives.
We learn to get up an hour earlier in the morning, and write before the house wakes up.
Or stay up late at night when everyone else settles in for their favorite Netflix show.
We send a batch of emails on the train ride home from our job in the city.
If you never take the time to break down your big, important goals into small daily actions, they are not likely to ever get done.
But if you do take the time, you will be surprised at what can flourish.
Which seeds to plant?
Not all activities are the same.
Of all the steps you can take toward your goal, which are going to have the biggest impact?
If you need to get more clients, small, consistent actions could be something like:
- Sending one email of introduction to a new connector each day
- Creating one piece of content every two days — a Facebook post, a blog post or a short video
- Pitching a talk to a local organization or association each week
- Meeting with a new business connection in person once every two weeks
When you look at the effort required to do this each day, it really doesn’t take a lot of time.
But the cumulative effort will have huge implications down the road.
Your phone will ring consistently.
You will learn of new opportunities through a healthy referral network.
Your book will get written.
Take time to make time
Look at your schedule this week. Do you see an hour slot that is free?
I know you may be tempted to check off a number of items on your current to do list.
Instead, take out a piece of paper and make a list, answering these questions in one column:
- What am I dying to create, but never find the time?
- What one thing will make a huge difference in my business (career) if I could just find time to do it?
- What is going to bite me if I don’t make time for it?
- Which relationships am I neglecting, and why are they important to reignite?
Now for each, in the other column, answer these questions:
- What are three small actions that I could take for each of these important parts of my business?
- When could I fit in a small action each day?
- Of all the things on my “important” list, which are important to do first?
Plant seeds every day
Once you have your answers, pull one small activity from this list every day.
Every time you do this activity, you are planting a small seed for the future.
It may feel inconsequential in the moment.
Do it anyway.
Your daily seeds will lead you places you never thought possible.