I got an email from a friend the other day. I asked him if he wanted to do a freelance project for me and included a PDF of Two Weeks to a Breakthrough since the project related to its launch. It seems that, prior to my contacting him, he had been in a funk - winter blues or something. His words were:
- I'm just now crawling out from under the rock of winter.
- I will endeavor to follow the program and use it to help me jump out of the rut that I've been in lately.
- I think that most of the time, I'm squarely in the stargazer corner of your matrix, but lately I've been stuck in the "stuck" corner. I'm definitely in need of few breakthroughs.
Just a few months ago - last fall - he was excited, optimistic and exploring some new stuff. What likely happened?
Here's what I think happened to him and what I see others struggle with a lot.
- All dream no action.
- All dream wrong action.
- Skewed perception of success.
- Expectations that are misaligned with actions.
I just put up a podcast with Raj Setty over on Management Craft. Raj makes a comment that relates to this struggle. He said something like that we cannot expect to be in the top 1% of success/results if we are doing what only the other 99% of people do.
When I look back at my disappointments in the past, I can honestly say that one of two things are true:
- I did not try hard enough or do enough or do things well enough.
- I had the wrong goal or did not define the goal well.
Sometimes we just need to buckle down and get over all the mind games we play with ourselves and get things done. Get things done!
How much time a day to you let dwindle? By dwindle, I don't mean true relaxation or recreation, which I do not consider to be dwindling. Time dwindled serves no purpose and keeps you from spending the time in a better way. To dwindle means to diminish in size, amount or strength. And when it comes to being goal oriented, dwindling means that you are falling off the chart of productivity.
If you were going to create a pie chart with how you spend your time during the week, what might it look like?
In this example, time dwindled is huge - about 216 minutes per day. If you took just 60 of those minutes dwindled and turned them into focused action, you would be amazed at the results.
OK, you're with me so far, but how should you start? This is another barrier affecting my friend and many others. This notion that we need to spend a lot of time, money, or effort getting ready to start. I suffer from this problem too. I will do many things to get ready - ready - always getting ready.
Here's a tangible example. I have gotten myself in a bit of a pickle. A good pickle, but a pickle none the less. I have too many things going on and I need to get velocity on some things. Here is the short list:
- Consulting client work
- Book due April 1 to the publisher (lots to write yet!)
- Planning my 6 week bike trip
- Two Weeks to a Breakthrough book launch
- My MFA work - reading and writing a bunch
- Getting into shape
- My blogs and podcasts
- A few business books to review
- Home life
I am sure many of you would create an even more daunting list. It's all important and totally doable if I can harness the time I DWINDLE each day. Or just half of it. Here are a few things I can do to enable myself to harness time I would otherwise dwindle:
- Clarify and identify the next actions needed for all these projects.
- Plan my time and keep the promises I make to myself (also from the podcast with Raj Setty).
- Do something in service of each and every project each and every day. The power of doing small daily actions is HUGE! This is both practical and mental. Doing something every day feels more successful and I won't go to bed thinking, "I didn't get it done today!"
- Reduce distractions - become a super star at saying "no."
- Match up activities with my natural energy cycles.
- Share my goals and get help where possible. Would YOU exercise for me? :-) Only kidding.
And just start - START! Stop dwindling and start doing. Think about the time you dwindle each day and start harnessing it to build momentum and success. That's my plan!