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How to Do What You’ve Always Wanted

How to Do What You’ve Always Wanted

    I’m willing to bet that there’s something you’ve always wanted to do.

    It could be that you’ve always wanted to write a novel.  Maybe you want to visit Africa or want to see the Northern Lights.  Perhaps you’d love to open a little coffee shop or brasserie in your neighbourhood or maybe you’ve had brainwave for a neat little product that just might change the world.

    You’re not alone.  We all have things we dream about and things we’d love to do, and it’s rare that these things ever see the light of day.

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    Fear steps in – sometimes in the guise of practicality and sometimes wearing the hat of playing it safe – and provides all kinds of reasons why you can’t have what you want.

    So you persuade yourself that it’s a pipe dream and that it could never actually happen because you wouldn’t know where to start, couldn’t afford it and it probably wouldn’t work anyway.  You lose faith in your ability to make your dream reality, and lose a little faith in yourself in the process.

    The tragedy is that the more you apply a filter to what you wish for and train yourself to think small, the less confident you become in your ability to do anything that matters very much.  Worse than that, you set yourself tiny dreams that aren’t hard to reach, and you reach them.

    But hang on a second. What if those big things were possible?  What if you really could make some or all of it happen?  What if it turned out that you did have what it takes to see something special come to life?  Wouldn’t that be something you’d leap at?

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    Here are my 3 steps to doing what you’ve always wanted to do.

    1. Open it up

    First of all you need to do some leg work.  Investigate what might be needed to get going, look for resources that can inform and help, seek out other people who might have done something similar and talk to those who’ve been there, done that.

    There’s no risk here – it’s simply learning about what’s involved, picking up the key strategies that have been used successfully before and gathering together the ideas and resources that you believe will help you to get things moving.

    Write down all the questions you have about what you want to do and then go answer them.  It’s possible that as you open things up you find that the reality isn’t what you expected and that it isn’t really your thing after all.  That’s fine – now you know.  But the opportunity to answer the questions you have and fill in those blanks is invaluable, and you might just find yourself getting pretty darn excited about what you’re discovering.

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    2. Make your choice

    You’ve opened it up and answered a heap of questions you had – now you need to make your choice.  There are 2 ways to help with this decision making.

    1. Look at what really matters to you, not what doesn’t matter. If engaging with this project is something that really resonates with you then listen to that.  If you’ll grow and get enjoyment out of doing this, no matter how it turns out, then listen to that.  Don’t let any fears you have squash and stamp on what matters.
    2. Consider where your priorities are and what might need to change. You have other things going on (your family, finances, career, hobbies, relationship, etc) and you need to be clear about what’s at the top of your list.  You need to figure out what compromises you’re willing to make in terms of the time and energy you have available, and you need to figure out the boundaries and deal breakers of your priorities.  You might find that your priorities are such that now isn’t the right time to get going with this, but that doesn’t have to be the end of it.  Just figure out what criteria needs to be satisfied for you to start.

    Once you’ve figured those 2 things out, make your choice and commit to it. That commitment is what will carry you through, and it’s an attitude and a way of behaving that shapes your experience and behaviour as you go forwards.

    3. Do one thing

    When you’ve made your choice to start, do one thing today.  Just one thing.  Then do one more thing tomorrow.

    That’s all.

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    Do one thing, then another, then another (no matter how big or small) and you’ll make progress.  By doing just one thing a day you’ll be 365 steps forward a year from now.  Don’t get overwhelmed with the apparent size or complexity of what you’re tackling.  No task is bigger than your capability and you just need to chunk it down into bite-sized pieces and tackle each one in turn.

    And if something doesn’t turn out the way you expected or hoped, don’t sweat it.  You have the next day to try things a different way or tackle things from another direction.  You’ll never be able to control how everything turns out so don’t beat yourself up – just keep checking where you are, making your choice and taking another step.

    These 3 steps can be applied universally to do the things you’ve always wanted.  So tell me, what do you want?

    Image: source

    More by this author

    Steve Errey

    Steve is a confidence coach who helps leaders build confidence.

    How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence New Years Resolutions Don’t Work – Here’s Why 7 Ways to Stop Being Treated Like a Doormat I Like You a Lot How To Muster Your Confidence And Tell Someone You Like Them Stuck in Rewind. 7 Beliefs That Will Help When You Get Stuck

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    Last Updated on July 27, 2020

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

    1. Create a Daily Plan

    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

    Here’s How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity.

    2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

    3. Use a Calendar

    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

    I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

    Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

    4. Use an Organizer

    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

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    These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

    5. Know Your Deadlines

    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

    6. Learn to Say “No”

    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

    7. Target to Be Early

    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

    8. Time Box Your Activities

    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

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    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

    9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

    10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

    You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    11. Focus

    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    12. Block out Distractions

    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

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    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

    13. Track Your Time Spent

    When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

    You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

    14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

    15. Prioritize

    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    16. Delegate

    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

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    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

    17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

    For related work, batch them together.

    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
    2. coaching
    3. workshop development
    4. business development
    5. administrative

    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

    18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

    19. Cut off When You Need To

    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

    20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

    More Time Management Tips

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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