Do you do it? I bet you don’t. And if you do. Then, you deserve it. Deserve what? All the success that is and will continue coming to you. Take a moment to evaluate where you are – in whichever realm of life is important to you. Do you like what you see? Whatever your answer, look back. Because.
Your outcomes are a measure of your habits. Postponed.
I’m starting to see some success. I’m finding it easier to sit with the anxiety initiated through the pandemic. I have found creative ways to improve athlete performance from abroad. The athletes I have been working with are reaching new levels of notoriety in their leagues. My business has a solid framework for the spring ahead. Let’s look back. What have I been doing?
Every morning I know what my prioritized tasks for the day are. I call these my Bigs. Get them done and it’s a good day. Get them done consistently. And it’s magic.
I’ve modified my method over time. But here I will share how I do them now. My recipe for success if you will. This is just a guideline. As always, modify to taste.
The goal of Bigs is to start the day knowing, in order of priority, the tasks that must get done. I want three. With one starred as an absolute. The purpose is to separate my ‘must get done’ from my ‘like to get done’. I want to go into the day making sure I have planned out what will have the most impact – for me. I want to know this before I get to my email and texts, where the demands of others are stored. Without premeditation, others needs sneakily supersede your own. It’s a natural phenomenon. Protect it with a plan.
The goal is to get into the day with your Big 3 items listed. So how do we get there?
I suggest doing this the night before. I used to do it early in the morning. But now I like going to sleep knowing that my plan for a productive tomorrow is off my chest. As Julie Andrews sings “Strength lies in nights of peaceful slumber / When you wake up / WAKE UP.” With my list prepared, I can get into immediate action.
Write out your top six things you need to get done. Why six? Why not simply three? Most often the first three that pop up are simply top of mind or what remained unfinished at the end of your workday. This doesn’t mean they are significant. Each day is a new day. Keep going. Once you have six, look through the list and rank the top three. As you scan your list, keep a long term lens. Remember we are searching for the important. We are fighting the tendency to do the urgent.
In fact, here are my Bigs for today
Points worth mentioning:
· My friend and the package I want to deliver came to mind first. Not urgent, somewhat important. It will get done. But this is why we go beyond the first three.
· (3) This is my longer vision Big. Not urgent, but important to me.
· (1) Not directly related to me. But very important for me to complete for my athlete. And time sensitive. This is why it got number one priority.
· (2) The article is more or less complete and I want to get it out there. I made it a top priority big to make sure it gets done.
· These next two are somewhat important. They can get done after completion of my Bigs. If not today, soon. But notice how easy it could have been getting caught up in researching the best facility or having a long catch up.
A note on big vision goals.
When you have a big scary project or goal. Break it down to next actions. What is an action you can complete that will have a significant impact towards it? You can’t complete your book tomorrow. But you can complete the initial draft of your next chapter. You can’t do the presentation that’s at the end of the month. But you can speak to your boss to gain clarity on what is expected of you.
Completing Your Bigs
We have our tasks with the top three prioritized. A quick note, I’m not against completing four, five and six. But be aware. These are the items most likely to distract you from completing your true Bigs.
I make one of my three Bigs specific to a larger time horizon than today. A small chip away at a larger opportunity, bigger project or habit adoption. My current priority as we prepare to come out of lockdown is to re-evaluate my morning routine. Specifically, my meditation. I’ll dabble with a new method recommended to me by a friend. Learning it now, so I can try it out and see if it works for me has an impact beyond today. Therefore, each day should have a big that relates to the progression of this trial.
Tracking Your Bigs Over Time
If something is on your Bigs list for three plus days. Look at it. Ask yourself why it’s not getting done?
There is a reason it’s not getting done:
· It’s either not important. Remove it.
· You don’t want to do it. Delegate it.
· Or you are afraid of it. Make it number one.
Now, I write each days Bigs on a notecard. In the past, I recorded them together in a Google Doc. I recommend one document to begin because it allows you to see what is getting done and what you are carrying over. After two weeks, review. Look for items that always or never get completed. Search for the bigger themes in them. When I first started my Bigs for others always got done. While mine were inconsistent. Within my own, the basketball ones always got done. Other aspects remained inconsistent.
If you’re looking to increase productivity, accountability and impact give Bigs a try. When you do. Be warned. You’ll be surprised how often you don’t go 3/3 to start. But as you continue you’ll gain understanding. Transfer this understanding to momentum and you’ll get change.
Imagine your life if you complete your top three most important tasks each day. In a week, twenty one. A month, ninety. A year, over one thousand. Critical tasks completed. And as you cross off Bigs consistently there is a compounding effect. The nature of your tasks will evolve. The level of your daily Bigs will get, Bigger.