Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day we lose sight of the bigger picture – of our vision for our lives, our mission, our purpose and our long-term goals. These things are all important to us, otherwise we wouldn’t have them. Here are 10 quick ways to focus your attention back on your purpose and goals in life.
We are big fans of using both morning and evening rituals here at Asian Efficiency. One of the simplest ways to focus in on a particular goal or your longer-term goals/purpose in life, is to make it part of your morning and evening rituals.
All this means is adding one line-item that says: “Goal: Travel to 50 different countries”. Obviously, replace the goal with your own goal or goals.
This means that every morning and every night, you’ll be reminded about what is important to you. You can also combine this with…
Also known as “daydreaming”, the “envision film” or just visualization.
You want to think about your goal and step into it, and get as much sensory detail as possible. This means:
- Feeling and touching.
You want to soak in every aspect of your goal as if it were real in front of you right now. This will help align your focus, your body and your attention on what it is you’re working towards, and make it both possible and real to you.
Write down your goal on a piece of paper, in a mind map, on a post-it or in Evernote. And carry it around.
Whenever you have a spare moment – waiting for a train, bus or people to arrive – pull it out and take a look at your goal and remind yourself that it’s important to you.
If you align your primary focus with your goals and purpose in life, you get to reap the benefits of spending most of your time actively engaged in the pursuit of your goals.
This is also known as “living your goals” and is a very powerful way to get to where you want to go without too much extra effort.
You can get what you want faster by either working towards it, or by clearing any obstacles that are in the way.
Make a list of all the things that you’re doing day-to-day that don’t align with your goals. Then make a decision to eliminate, delegate/outsource or refine them into manageable processes. This can be things like laundry, cleaning the house or even spending 1-2 hours cooking a day.
Streamline your activities so that your attention is really focused on what is important to you – your goals.
6. Do It Daily
“Success is the accumulation of small advantages over time”
This tip is simple enough – spend 30 minutes every day working towards your goal. 30 minutes is not that long and something that almost everyone can set aside. It is however, long enough that over time, it will make a considerable difference, so block off some time and commit to it.
7. Mentally Deconstruct
This was a technique taught to me by a rag-to-riches business mentor who shall go unnamed.
What he used to do was as he went to sleep every night, he would deconstruct his entire business from beginning to end – from where he sourced his product, how it moved through his logistics chain and all the way until its delivery to his customer. By doing this every night, he learned about and understood his business inside and out.
We can do the same with our goals. Start with end, and work out way backwards to the present day (and perhaps even in the past), seeing the steps we’ve taken towards achieving them.
8. Physically Deconstruct
Just as you can mentally deconstruct your goals, you can also physically deconstruct them into smaller pieces.
How does your goal relate to shorter-term milestones and actions? How does it relate to what you have planned for this year, this month, this week, or even today?
If you systematically break down your goal into smaller and smaller outcomes that are readily actionable and easy to attain, you’ll be guaranteeing that your goal is within reach and just a few steps away.
For more on how to systematically do this, see Agile Results.
9. Make Room
Sometimes, we have so much other stuff going on in our lives that it’s harder to see the bigger picture. If you have an overflowing inbox, or lots of small 2-5 minute tasks to complete they need to go. Either dump them if they’re not important, or spend 1-2 days just clearing through all of them.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll have more energy, attention and focus to place on your goals.
10. Ask the Right Question
A great question to ask yourself is this: “Is what I’m doing right now taking me towards or away from my goal?”
This is a quality question that filters out all the noise, excuses and anything else that can otherwise distract you from achieving your goals. Ask yourself this question at least once a day, if not more.
Where To Go Next
If you need help clarifying your goals, we published an article a while back on finding your purpose.
We also recently published an article on alignment, i.e., how to be productive every minute of every day.
If you’re after more advanced materials, our Premium Newsletters address the subject of goals fairly often. In particular:
- Volume 1 Issue 1 – Putting First Things first.
- Volume 2 Issue 1 – Take No Prisoners.
- Volume 2 issue 6 – Private Insights into Goal Setting.
- Volume 3 Issue 1 – Focus and Maintenance.
How Productive Are You?
Take our Productivity Quiz to find out. Learn the tactics and techniques that will work for you.