Many a times, accomplishing a target seems cluttered with too many open details. How to start, how to proceed, and how to keep going are the questions that continuously remain unclear. Here is an exact formula to successfully attain a set target.
- Draw the roadmap backwards: Take a paper and pen. Sit down and make a roadmap with explicit details. Start from the end and divide the path into stages. Write down the actions necessary to go from the second last to last step. Repeat the same for all previous steps. In parallel, you can also write the resources and contacts that will be required for each stage.
- Take massive action: This is the simplest part of the formula and yet most people never understand it. Average quantity of action results in average results and extraordinary amount of action results in extraordinary results. Assume that a given objective takes 1500 hours to achieve. An average person working on it for 1 hour each day will finish it in 1500 days, or a little over 4 years. And that too if the motivation and the needs surrounding it remain the same. An extraordinary person devoting 5 hours to the same will be done in less than 10 months. And will be ready for the next challenge with a sense of accomplishment.
In reality, there are various kinds of failures, setbacks and unexpected hindrances along the way in any project that always result in more time and effort as compared to what was planned at the start. Only undertaking massive action cuts through this resistance in an appropriate amount of time. I learned this lesson from the book The 10x Rule that is always worth remembering: the biggest enemy of massive action is NOT no action; it is average action.
- Protect your NOW: This is the hardest part. Once steps 1 and 2 above are checked, ask yourself this question periodically (say, every night): have you been busy or productive? Sometimes we are taking a lot of action but that is not singularly focused towards an objective. At other times, the actions are more administrative rather than important. For example, send that email, order something, most frequent of all: Google ideas 3 and 5, etc. Use a notepad (either actual or in the computer) to note down these tasks as they come up, but do not move away from the actual work. The lesson to learn is that do NOT log how much time you worked; log what the actual output was.
Similarly, guard your time from anything inessential such as social media, emails, messaging apps, etc.
Basically any kind of ‘updates’
- Waste the actual time spent on them.
- Keep you hooked with anticipation, something periodically interrupting the brain to go for that new little entertainment which prevents complete mental focus on the problem at hand.
- The problem attentive state of mind also gets partially, if not completely, replaced by that content.
Therefore, it is best to fix times, say 3 or 4 times a day, for that purpose. Do not let your mind distract from NOW.
Through this method, things might seem slow at the start but suddenly one day you will look back and find that much of the work has been done. This sense of accomplishment will create a positive feedback loop to keep you going.
With the experience of massive action for a few goals, you will slowly identify patterns and learn how to work smart in addition to work hard. And that my friend is a very lethal combination.