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Do You Have a Big Mission?

Do You Have a Big Mission?

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” ~Eric Hoffer

People get up every day and go to work. They do their assigned tasks, collect their pay, and head on home. Tomorrow, they will do the same. For most folks, this is just a routine that keeps food on the table.

But for an elite few, something else is driving them. They look to make a difference by what they do, and they choose what they do based on what will have an impact. They may, at times, forgo pay to make this happen, although making it happen may actually result in very great financial reward.

What we have here is the difference between having a job and having a mission.

Why Have a Mission?

A mission spares you from expending yourself all over the place just doing things. It focuses you on BEING. You are moved to take on inspired action in support of your mission, and you stop wasting your time, effort, and resources on anything that doesn’t. It stops all the confusion and frustration.

When your mission is big and clear, you have staying power and don’t feel compelled to give up easily. You don’t have to make it on mere willpower because the mission is compelling to you.

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Your mission makes for a compelling story for others, too. People are drawn to you because of what they see in you, and that connection makes it feel right to work with you.

Is a Mission of My Own Really Necessary?

You may be wondering if you really need a mission. After all, you may just want to have a job that takes care of you and your family or to do a little good in the world.

You may already be associated with an organization. You may be thinking that they have a mission and that it should be good enough for you.

But without a vision of your own, something happens along the way. You feel unfocused and undirected. You find yourself doing, doing, doing, but nothing ever seems to get done. Things aren’t closing or opening.

You may have chosen to work in a particular organization because you found their mission compelling. Their mission inspired you, and you wanted to be a part of it. You are even happy to share their mission with others.

But it’s not yours.

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So ask yourself these questions:

What do I want to do that is big?
What do I want to do for my community?
What do I want to do in this world?
What is it that really gets me going?
What is it that wakes me up early on Monday morning?

There is no getting around answering these questions if you want to touch a lot of lives and make a big impact. You need something bigger than yourself.

Your mission is like a prerequisite since it comes before everything else that you intend to create.

What Exactly Is a Mission?

A mission boils down to this: what is it that you want to do that is bigger than yourself? What makes another person want to engage with you? Even more importantly, what makes you happy to serve others?

The answers to these questions provides you with focus and clarity. They make everything flow: every conversation, every opportunity, and every connection.

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You get to discover who you really are.

People lose their own way when they just buy into someone else’s mission or even an organization’s mission. What ends up happening is that they promote that “other” mission and then forget how or even if it connects to them.

Getting a Mission of Your Very Own

Okay, we have established the importance of having a big mission. So how do you get one?

There are four steps. Each is important, and they must be approached in order. Follow this blueprint and you can build a big mission that will energize you and inspire others.

The first step is to give birth to your DREAM. Your dream keeps you connected emotionally.

Once you have a dream, you can now funnel your passion or DRIVE into it. Drive keeps it alive.

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Once your dream is energized, it needs structure. A dream without structure is just a fantasy, but a dream with structure is your VISION. This is where you apply the laws of physics, economics, and human nature to your dream to turn it into something real.

Finally, you need a means to bring your vision to the world. That means is your VEHICLE. The vehicle might be something as organized as a business or as organic as a movement.

When you bring together DREAM, DRIVE, VISION, and VEHICLE, you have a mission.

Make It Big

Your mission may not be as big as world peace or the end of poverty. But whatever it is, it will be big for you. How big it feels is how you will determine whether or not it is worthy of you.

Starting a community garden may be big for you. Running for president may be big for you. It is yours to choose.

This is not the time to hold back. A mission will be larger than you. That is one of its best characteristics. Make it something you are proud to be associated with. Honor your big mission and it will honor you.

More by this author

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple:

For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

“You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

Successful people who love it

Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

Before he started using the technique, he said,

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“Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

“It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

“Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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“Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

Conclusion

One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

Reference

[1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
[2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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