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Three Basic Steps to Get Your Desire with the Least Effort

Three Basic Steps to Get Your Desire with the Least Effort
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Desire

How can we get what we want? The book Simpleology contains five laws to help you get what you want:

  1. The Law of Straight Lines: The shortest path between two points is a straight line. If you want to get a particular result, take the fastest and most direct route. Don’t add any extra steps.
  2. The Law of Clear Vision: In order to hit a target, you need to see it clearly. You must have a clear vision of exactly what you want in order to get it.
  3. The Law of Focused Attention: In order to hit a target, you must focus sufficient attention on it until you hit it.
  4. The Law of Focused Energy: In order to accomplish something you must focus sufficient energy on it until you have done so.
  5. The Inescapability of Action/Reaction: There are two things from which you can never escape: action and reaction.

All these laws are useful. After spending some time to ponder them, I think we can summarize them into three basic steps you should do to get your desire with the least effort:

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1. Know exactly what you want

While I’m sure most of us have an idea about what we want, I don’t think many of us know exactly what we want. For instance, if you want to have your own business, do you know what kind of business you want to build? How will it look – in detail – several years from now?

To know exactly what we want, a helpful practice is visualization. We should visualize the situation we want to achieve. Imagine how it looks, how it sounds, and how people’s life is changed by it.

Knowing exactly what you want will help you determine whether or not something you encounter could help you. If you don’t know what you want, it is much easier to get distracted by irrelevant things along the way. But if you know exactly what you want, you will see clearly whether or not something is relevant.

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2. Always follow a straight line

Do only the things that bring you closer to your destination. Do not waste your time to do extra things which will make it longer to reach your goal.

This, unfortunately, is easier said than done. Without realizing it, you might have some habits which do not bring you closer to your goal. There might be things you do, perhaps even daily, that take you away from your goal. They make you follow a curved line instead of a straight one.

For instance, maybe your goal is increasing the amount of your saving by, say, 100%. However, you still spend $5 daily to get your favorite coffee and snack. If we assume that there are 30 days a month, $5 daily will become $150 a month and $1800 a year, a substantial amount. As you can see, this habit doesn’t help you reach your goal.

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So, in whatever you do, it is wise to ask: "Is it a straight line?" And when the answer is no, you should stop doing it.

3. Sharpen your saw

While doing things which brings you closer to your goal is important, you will waste a lot of time and energy if you do not do them with a "sharp saw". It’s dangerous to be busy; we may work too hard trying to make things happen without realizing that our saw has become blunt. In such situation we could work very hard but accomplish very little. You might then be surprised when someone else – who seem to work less than you do – surpass your achievements.

A good way to know whether or not you have a sharp saw is by watching yourself. Can you accomplish much in a given amount of time? Does your creativity flow well? Are you now in – or close to – your peak performance?

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If the answer is no, then you need to sharpen your saw. The action you should take depends on your situation. Perhaps you need to take some time away from your work, or perhaps you need to learn a new tool. Examine your situation, and do what it takes to bring you back to peak performance. The time investment to sharpen your saw is well worth it. With a sharp saw, you will be able to achieve more with less time and energy.

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Donald Latumahina

Donald Latumahina is the founder of Life Optimizer, a self-improvement blog to help people reach their full potential.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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