In the last lesson, we talked about eight foundational habits that get your energy right every day.
Today we're going to talk about daily practices for productivity that keep you aligned and make the most impact. Aligned action is 10x more powerful than aimless action. The exact steps I'm going to share with you are ones I've taught clients. I love seeing the light change in their eye when it clicks. As if someone handed them the keys to newfound empowerment and freedom. I hope these spark an ah-ha moment within you, too.
Before we jump in, I want to clarify what aligned action is versus aimless action. Aligned action means your every move is connected to a future vision. The only reason you take an action is because you see its purpose in fulfilling the bigger picture. It's like understanding that certain threads weave together to create a tapestry.
Aimless action focuses on one object or outcome without any connection to something bigger. It's like throwing those individual pieces of thread to the wind instead of weaving them into something more cohesive and meaningful.
Now let's jump into a process you can take yourself through to become more meaningfully productive:
Where Do You See Yourself Growing in Three to Five Years?
I know. Who knows, right? If you're the more spiritual sort, you might be thinking, "I want to stay open and flexible." You can stay open and flexible and still have some idea of where you want to go. They're not mutually exclusive.
So what do you see yourself aiming for in the next 3-5 years? It's ok if the vision isn't super specific yet but pick something. Whether that's to be a published author and public speaker on large stages. Or getting a certain promotion at work and starting a new business venture. Think of something that stretches you that you would like to see in that time frame. If you can't, then stick with a feeling like "I imagine myself feeling bliss every day, smiling from spending more time with my family, and glowing because I'm healthy and fit."
Allow yourself to be curious. You may feel resistance towards this because of current circumstances or fear. Trust the process. And I'll let you in on a secret...you can tweak and change this 3-5 year vision at any point it doesn't feel aligned to who you want to be.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy told me that he has a 5-year vision, but every year he seems to change things about it because who he wants to become evolves. In reality, who you are now can't think or act at the level the you two years from now will be thinking and acting at. It's almost like you have to evolve to the next best version of yourself, and then that version will decide what to focus on for the next best version and so on. But the act of having some idea and taking action allows you to start and see what's aligned or not.
It's impossible to have everything just right before you start taking action. In a previous lesson, we talked about the importance of identity. So know who you want to be, align a vision with that, start, and then if things don't align like you thought or your identity aspiration evolves, then let this vision evolve with it.
What Do You Want to Get Done in the next Year?
Now that you know what you're aiming for in the next 3-5 years, what could you accomplish or achieve this year to get you a step closer? The one-year vision is something I learned from Brendon Burchard who calls it his battle board. In an example he gave of his own plan he wanted to be a well-known authority in the motivational space (something along those lines) in 5 years. So he worked backwards from there and had projects planned for each of those years leading up to the 5th that would solidify his goal.
The first year he had a book and video content planned. The next year he had plans to create memberships and sales funnels. They year after that to do a media push and make connections. The idea is you plan which projects to work on, and as the years progress, the programs or initiatives from the previous year still work for you. They still are running and creating sales or brand awareness while you progressively create more. By year 5, he reached his goal.
Bringing it back now to your next year. Whatever that 3-5 year vision looks like, pick however many projects per year you want to focus on from year 1-5 or 1-3. What would be important to start this year, then the next year, then compounding to that end goal?
For a client of mine, she wanted to have a certain amount of income per month, freedom to take time off, and to simplify her life. So for her battle board, her one year plan, we broke down how much she wanted to bring in for each of her businesses. What that looked like per month. We also added a good, better, best number. That if she reached x amount that would be good. If she reached x2 amount, it would be better, and so on. That way, the pressure is relieved a little. We kept going for all parts of her life then wrote down immediate actions she could take.
Think of the major things you could finish this year to contribute to that vision. For me, one of my battle board goals is to write a book. First, part of how I identify is as a writer. Second, I felt inspired to write it for many years. Third, it will serve as a great foundation for my 3-5 year vision, part of which is to have published a book.
One disclaimer I want to make is that it's easy to overwhelm ourselves with too many things. We may start off excited about 5 things only to realize our max capacity is at 2-3. I honestly would pick 2-3 major goals per year, then shelve the rest. You'll notice a huge weight lift from your shoulders when you do. You can accomplish much more focusing on fewer things. The beauty is that doesn't mean you never can do whatever you shelve. Keep a projects list of every idea you think of but don't have the capacity to execute right now. Then reference that list when you're ready to take on more. The ideas are there, ready and waiting so you can feel peace of mind.
Create a 90-Day Vision
What could you aim for every quarter to get to the one year vision? Say your goal was to make $100k. You decide to aim for $25k every quarter. Great. Then what could you aim for every month?
The goal here is to get your vision broken down as small as possible so that way, the end goal not only seems tangible and doable but close. You know what the immediate next steps to take right now.
People often get tripped up over the big long-term vision and feel overwhelmed at what to do first. By breaking things down, the vision becomes more real. Every great work of art started with one word, one paint stroke, one feeling.
Which brings me to our next step...
If All Else Fails, Promise to Yourself You'll Win the Week
This is a tip I learned from Brendon Burchard as well, and have used it ever since. Think about it... If you can't win your week, how on earth could you win your month, year, or life?
If you're feeling overwhelmed and like you can't even grasp thinking further than a year or 90 days, then start here. Start with your week. Every Sunday, or whenever, schedule the week ahead.
Because this is such an important piece of being productive, the next lesson will focus completely on how to schedule your week. So make sure you listen to that next.
But now, let's get to the last tip for being mindfully productive.
Read Your Goals Every Day
Not reading your vision or goals is probably the #1 reason people become unfocused and directionless. Stay plugged into the power source of where you're going. That means visualizing and reading your goals every day.
For the longest time, I had a small piece of paper propped up on my desk that showed my goals for that month. So whenever I'd get distracted, or tempted to, I'd glance over and remember, "Oh, yeah. That's where I'm heading." This is a great practice to start. Now, I write my ten creation goals every morning during my morning routine. Which we talked about in Lesson 4. By writing them, I revisit my vision and stay more focused.
I hope these steps help inspire you. Just know that being specific doesn't eliminate the ability to change. You can always check in with yourself weekly or monthly to see how things feel. Does your vision feel aligned? If it doesn't, then change your direction.
To be honest, most of us have NO CLUE what it is that actually makes us happy. If we did, then the whole self-help and therapy industry wouldn't exist. The act of moving forward self-educates you on what you actually want and don't want.
Dr. Benjamin Hardy says that desire isn't inherent to who we are. It's usually trained by how we were raised, who we're around, and other beliefs we hold. But if you focus on your identity and who you want to become, you can train your desires. So I encourage you to consistently check in with who you want to be and not be afraid to change what you're doing if it doesn't feel right.
Alright, in the next lesson, you'll learn how to win your week through a few organization, scheduling, and recovery tips. See you there.