The Benefits Of Living a 24-Hour Life
"People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily” ~ Zig Ziglar
If someone were to point a gun at my head and ask me to choose one productivity tip (just so we’re clear, this is unlikely to happen — but let’s roll with it), amongst them all, this would be it:
Live a 24-Hour Life.
What does this mean?
It means that you should narrow down your focus, to one day at the time.
Even though it sounds obvious, the reality is, that whenever we set a goal, because we are creatures of instant gratification and short-term thinking, we start thinking about all of the things we need to do, and how long it will take us, until we achieve our goal, and this in 99% of the cases demotivates us.
Then, we relapse, and it takes a while before we get that sudden urge of inspiration to try again.
Instead, after you set a goal you want to accomplish, and you know what are the activities that will bring you closer to achieving that goal, you should operate on a daily basis.
What happened yesterday, doesn’t matter. What needs to be done tomorrow, doesn’t matter.
Only, one day at the time.
To make sure that you follow through on your goals, you can find a simple guide below..
1. Focus On One Goal
Not five goals, not ten goals. Just one.
Remember that only 8% of the people manage to accomplish their New Year Resolutions.
We tend to be ambitious by nature and set a variety of goals, for different areas of our lives. But this only results in our focus is spread too thin, and in the majority of cases, we don’t accomplish any of our big goals.
One goal, and beat it into a submission.
Life goes by fast. And if you half-ass it now, it will come to bite you down the line.
2. Determine High Leverage Activities
Out of dozens or hundreds of activities, you can do for each goal, only several of them will bring you the biggest chunk of the results.
Your job is to list down all of the activities you can think of to accomplish your goal, and then put them in the order of execution.
This is what I call a sequence.
It goes a bit against what traditional productivity guys say, and that is to focus on the most important thing in the morning.
True, but it often happens that there is a small thing that prevents you from doing the important thing.
For me, one of the most important things is writing articles.
But when I had a goal of having a blog, writing articles is pointless, if you don’t have your blog. And you cannot have a blog if you don’t have a domain and hosting.
Even though the blog and the articles are more important, I have to do the domain and the hosting first. Otherwise, these important ones won’t happen.
Once you have your sequence, it becomes simple.
You start living a 24-hour life (or 16-hour life, to be more precise).
Every morning you wake up, look at the list and start executing.
Your job for that day, and any other day from that point on is to do the best you can to get closer to the achievement of your goal, and next to that do the everyday activities.
That’s it. Just three things: goal, high leverage activities, and 24-hour approach.
Every once in a while, evaluate your sequence, cross over what was done, and add new high leverage activities, that didn’t make sense to be done earlier.
A couple of other useful tips
1. Stop hyping yourself up before sleep, promising that when you get up, you will rock the day. This just builds up the expectation, which only leads to demotivation if you procrastinate. Wake up, and go from there. One thing at the time.
2. Don’t burn yourself out. In the beginning, people rush into it, but in the beginning when any behavior is fresh, the habit, and by default your goal is unstable. This means that your focus in the first several weeks or a month should be doing as much as you can, consistently, every single day.
3. Focus on one hour at the time. From the moment you wake up, even though your goal should be to do the best you can for the day, your focus should be in the hour that’s ahead of you. Exercises presence, and discipline.
4. Stop rewarding yourself for small completions. Working on your goals shouldn’t be something dreadful, that you have to reward yourself with.
This is probably the shortest article I’ve written. But it’s also the thing that has helped me the most with procrastination, and habit is forming in life.
In the end, remember this:
You have to think about the little things. Things you can control. You can control when you wake up, what you do first thing, second thing and so on. All I think about are those small things. When you do them, that’s it, all other things are no longer in your control, and you don’t have to worry about them…
All of those small things add up, and eventually, they have a compound effect. And each day you will have a sense of accomplishment.
That’s what you are after, not the overnight success myth.