Small Pieces, Laser Focus, and Self-Appreciation

One of the greatest challenges we have in achieving our goals is getting distracted by what’s around us.  There are uncountable ways to get distracted in our own minds and with the fast paced world surrounding us (emails, phone calls, self-doubt, fear and so on).  Here’s a simple formula for fixing this problem:

  1. Break each goal into smaller pieces.  What can be done today, right now?  It is easiest to view each step in the goal as an iteration that can be quantified, completed, and analyzed.  Focus on attaining your goal through achieving small steps in the march toward an end point.  Another metaphor is to see yourself walking through a forest – see the passing of each single tree as a significant accomplishment in your journey.
  2. Use laser sharp focus on achieving the one small thing you set about to accomplish for that moment and then allow all other activites around you for that moment to fall into your peripheral vision.  This means you notice them but don’t act on them.  If you did act on what you see in your peripherals then you’ve shifted your focus from your initial intention.  If you feel yourself shifting your focus from your singular goal for that moment take a deep breathe, let the anticipation of the peripheral activity go with the exhale.  Then refocus on the goal.
  3. At the end of each day, write down your accomplishments for the day.  We tend to be hard on ourselves, not giving ourselves credit for the small things we accomplished.  This is a good way of affirming what you are doing and feeling progress despite the long march ahead.

I use all of these tactics throughout my day.  Though I don’t have hard figures to back this up (for example, I can’t tell you that I’m 25% more efficient than I was before based on some measurement) I can tell you that my stress level has reduced significantly.  Of these three, the last one – giving myself credit for my accomplishments however minor – has made the most impact.  It makes me feel good about what I did and encourages me to do more the next day.  It’s important to love yourself… even in business.

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