Hi everyone, it’s Stephen and welcome to Week 5 of our reset course. This week we’re continuing with the ‘mindful action’ module and turning to the ‘doing’ step of our plan-do-review cycle. Last week, we talked about how to properly plan our goals, and this week we’ll go through some tips to help you complete those goals.

We can plan and dream as much as we want, but actually following through and doing our goals is the only way we’re going to see any change and improvement. You can have all the best will in the world, but without action, you’re never going to make any progress. As author Steve Maraboli says, “Take Action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention.”

However that’s often easier said than done – but the following tips, along with the final video of the course on ‘reflecting’ will help you put yourself in the best position to achieve your goals. 

Schedule time for your goals

Having something written down on your to-do list for the day doesn’t mean you’ll get it done… Often it’s in the back of our mind all day, but we procrastinate, it gets to 9pm and we still haven’t done it, so we just put it on to the list for the next day… and then the next day… and then the next day…

Or, even worse, we beat ourselves up about it. We get frustrated that we’ve not done what we set out to that day and get annoyed at ourselves for not having the self-discipline or motivation to just do it. But, we don’t make any changes and, shockingly, the same results happen the next day.

When put this way, it seems obvious why it’s not working, but it’s also a thought process that a lot of us default to. Obviously, this thought pattern isn’t helpful, we need to take charge and move towards a more proactive approach. 

So, instead of falling into the “Oh, I’ll do it later” mindset, the first tip is to schedule some time during your day where you can focus on the task at hand. And don’t just think “Oh, I’ll probably start it at 10am”, make sure you write it down, or put it in your calendar, or set an alarm to remind yourself.

If it’s something that requires a bit of sustained effort or concentration, then try to schedule it for a time of the day when you have more energy. I’m a morning guy, so if I schedule something for the morning, it’s going to give me the best chance for success. If I schedule something that requires a lot of cognitive effort and concentration straight after lunch, though… I’m definitely not going to be at my most productive… and will probably just want a nap… 

You don’t have to schedule your whole day, but if you’ve set out a specific time for a specific bit of work, and write it down, then you’re more likely to get it done. 

Chunking & Pomodoro

We work better and more productively when we focus on one task at a time, or one type of task at a time – managing your schedule in this way is called ‘chunking’. The advantage of chunking our time is that our brain isn’t jumping around or trying to multitask, we get into a certain mode of thinking and are able to tick off those to-dos a lot faster than if we were constantly jumping around. 

Often, if you have a number of things on your to-do list then group them into themes, obviously, put on an appropriate playlist and get going with “life admin hour”, or “house chores hour”, or “personal finance hour” and start ticking those tasks off.

The pomodoro technique has helped me massively when having to work from home during lockdown. Essentially you set a timer and focus completely on a single activity, or type of activity, until the time is up and the alarm goes off. Then you have a quick break where you step away from the activity and do something else. The default time it suggests is 25 minutes work, with a 5 minute break – then taking a longer break after a few pomodoros. 

Setting a timer with an alarm is one less thing to think about, it means that I’m not always thinking about the time, or checking my phone and I can genuinely focus fully on my work. 

Remove Distractions

This leads me on to the final tip – and that’s to turn off distractions. For me I work so much better when my phone is on silent, over the other side of the room, when I don’t have my emails open and when I’m not watching TV. 

It might feel odd to begin with, but after a couple of pomodoros you’ll get used to it and you’ll be able to look back over your day and be amazed with the amount you’ve been able to achieve. 

I’ve actually taken the no distractions thing further and now always have my phone on silent, don’t have any emails notifications and have limited the amount of push notifications I get right down to only see the things I find valuable. And you know what… I feel a lot better, have more energy and am able to get a lot more done. 

So, those are some tips to get you started with your goals. The worksheet will go into a bit more detail about how to put these into practice, and remember, don’t worry if you’re not getting this perfect first time, in my opinion, the most game-changing tool we have is coming in the next video. So… stay tuned…

Were any of these techniques new to you? Have you tried any of these techniques? Which were the most helpful? Let me know in the comments section, or in the Discord server. And if you have any suggestions for future topics, let me know. 

Next week is our final week of the course and we’ll be looking at how best to reflect on our goals and progress. I hope to see you there, have a good week everyone.