Happiness and success are both subjective. There is no doubt about that. Despite having vastly different standards, few would be bold enough to call themselves happy and successful in life. So many of us set out to accomplish great deeds, only to be floored by the numerous meticulous tasks and ended up scurrying back with our tails between our legs, defeated.
Our goals became but words on a document. We keep telling ourselves “I will do this some time later”, then completely forget about them a few weeks later. Olin Miller had it right –
“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”
It is time to change, and there is no time better than now. But how?
The Westenberg Framework
Jon Westenberg is an entrepreneur, comedian, and writer. He also launched a coaching program to help people build their roadmap in life. Earlier in September last year, he introduced his life-changing framework in his article How To Invest In Yourself on Medium. With four simple steps, he set out to become more productive, efficient, and regret-free.
Let’s get a summary of what you can do!
Step 1: A list of 100 things
In the first step, he said with much conviction –
“It’s not a bucket list, it’s not things I wish I could do — it’s things I really am going to do.”
Put down 100 things that you wanted to do but are not completely out of reach. It can be anything. From “finding a company” to “going surfing in Montauk” to “replacing the furniture at home” – it’s up to you. Just remember, these are things that you will eventually tick off your list. These are things you have always wanted to do but just never really had time for. This is a plan instead of a mirage.
Then, divide them into three categories:
- Things that I need skills for
- Things that I can do immediately
- Things that I need time for
Tip: As you would see in this excerpt of my list, there are things that lie in between needing skills or time. Just think of it this way: the things that need time are those that you already have the ability to do but either takes a long time to complete or cannot be done right now.
There, the first step – done. Not bad, right?
Step 2: A skill chart
There are things on your list that you would need to acquire certain knowledge before you can complete them.
If you want to build a mobile app, you need to know how to code. If you wish to make a cake for your mom on her birthday, you need to learn how to bake. If you want to write a poem to propose to your girlfriend, you need to master rhyme schemes, meter, and imagery.
To keep track of the skills you need to learn, create a spreadsheet and put down the following into four columns:
- A column that lists the skills you have to learn
- A column for Research
- A column for Action
- A column for Progress
Research and write down the things that you need to do to learn the skill in the “Action” column. Then, in the “Progress” column, estimate how far you are from learning the skill. For example, one of my goals is to relearn the piano after dropping it for five years. The “actions” I would need to complete in order to achieve this goal are things like learning the music theory, practicing the method books such as scales and sight-reading, etc.
Personally though, I merged the “Research” and “Action” column to save time. When you completed one task, simply add an asterisk (or any way you would prefer) to said task in the column.
There is just one thing to note here: be honest. You may start slowly, but the pace will pick up as you get more used to the methodical approach towards learning different skills.
Step 3: Immediate action
You will have things on your list that can be accomplished right here, right now. Yet somehow, you never got to do it. Be it painting your room another color, or getting a new keyboard for your computer, these things are easy.
So make a plan and get them done.
They might be easy. They might be meager. They might not hold much significance.
But accomplishing simple things like writing in the journal every day gives me the drive to tackle the more difficult tasks, such as studying literature and writing a book. That’s because every time I completed one of these tasks, it gave me a small sense of achievement, and as the list of completed things grows, so does your confidence.
Step 4: The things you need time for.
Finally, we have come to the things that would take relatively more time and patience. It may be learning how to play Mozart or Beethoven. It might be writing a book. Regardless, it requires the one thing you lack the most: time.
“Our schedules are already filled to the brim!” You protested vehemently.
The way to tackle this is surprisingly easy. Spend a day taking detailed notes of how you’ve spent your time. You will notice that a lot of your time is wasted on things that are not particularly helpful towards completing your goals. I realized, halfway through, that I spend more than 2 to 3 hours scrolling through Facebook mindlessly on a regular day. Are you doing the same thing?
Work to make it suit you.
Like I said earlier on, this is merely a framework. There is no need to follow it to the letter. Feel free to edit and customize it to suit your needs. But don’t stop there. Take initiative to make your life as enjoyable as possible, because –
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
― Mae West
Featured photo credit: Aeipathy via aeipathyattire.com