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thinking alone

At AE, we don’t believe in work-life balance but in something much better.

The short version is: there’s no such thing as work-life balance. It’s a myth.

When people say they want work-life balance, what they are really saying is “I want to be happy at work and at home, and be in control of how I spend my time”. It usually means having multiple goals at once and feeling confident that you can achieve them all.

The productivity nerd in me goes, well…how do we make that happen?

That’s where I want to introduce you to a simple tool you can use today.

You probably have 3-5 goals at any given time. You might have one or two goals you want to have accomplished at work, and then a couple for your personal life.

When most people say they want “work-life balance” what that would look like is that they can accomplish all of their goals (without having to endure any form of stress and anxiety).

That’s where the big work-life balance myth comes in.

You cannot accomplish all of your goals at the same time without enduring any form of stress.

To put it another way: if you want to accomplish more than one goal at a time, be prepared to make (significant) sacrifices.

The ugly truth is, most people don’t want to give up things to accomplish a goal. When you want to get fit, you have to be willing to change your schedule and give up certain foods. When you want to save money, you have to give up certain things you want to buy or cut down on things you’d normally spend money on.

In my experience, when you want to achieve a new level of growth, in the short-term you usually have to give something up in order to grow. And not everyone is willing to do that.

That’s okay. Luckily for you, we’ve figured out a way for you to accomplish all of your goals without “sacrificing” anything.

All you have to do is implement this tool that we use and teach all of our private clients.

The premise is very simple: out of all the goals you have, be prepared to postpone all of them except for one goal. In other words, you have to be willing to focus on just one goal at a time.

When you have more than one goal, your chances of achieving any goal decreases exponentially.

I was working with Jaime (not real name) 1-on-1 as part of our private coaching. She worked a 9-5 corporate job and was happily married with two kids. It was mid-2016 when we started working together because she felt stuck on achieving her goals and she knew she needed help.

This was her list of goals:

1. Make an extra $100,000 in my side-business
2. Read more books
3. Lose weight
4. Have a great relationship with mom and dad
5. More free time for myself

Are you seeing what I’m seeing?

The first thing I noticed was that she had too many goals. There’s no freakin way a normal person can accomplish all that in one year.

(I think you can actually do it, but more on that in a bit.)

Second thing: notice how the last four goals are really vague. What does “lose weight” mean? Is it a couple pounds/kilos? Is it fitting in your jeans from college? Is it visibly seeing your abs? Is it weighing 90 lbs?

When your goals are vague, it’s easy to feel like you can never accomplish your goals….because you can’t measure success. It feels like you’re trying to hit a moving target.

Having a great relationship with mom and dad is a great goal, but again very vague. How do we actually know if we’ve accomplished it?

Same goes for “more free time for myself” and “read more books”?

We need to make it concrete and measurable. That’s usually the easy part and what I spent time on working with Jaime.

The hard part is deciding which one to focus on…and which one to ignore for the time being.

When I first told Jaime that we could only work on one goal, she immediately fired back at me that all of her goals were important to her.

I told her that it’s very unlikely that she’ll achieve any goal because she was unfocused and her goals were vague. She was scatter-brained, had 5 goals at the same time, and wasn’t laser-focused on getting just one goal done at a time.

I’m fairly confident that if she solely focused on her side-business, she would make more than $100,000 that year (which we ended up choosing as the goal to focus on).

I’m sure you can relate. You probably have a bunch of goals you want to achieve. How do you know which one to focus on first?

When everything looks equally important, that’s a sign that you’re missing a clear priority system. I taught Jaime a simple tool that allowed her to see which goal was most important to her.

Now I want you to have this tool too.

We call it the Wheel of Life. Use this tool today and you’ll instantly know which goal you should focus on first.

Zack's Wheel

It’s all explained in today’s video. It includes a free worksheet that you can download and use right away.

Download the worksheet PDF.

This video is part of our Finisher’s Fastlane course, but today you’re going to get access to one of the most powerful tools we teach our clients.

Watch the video now and download the worksheet (while it’s still available). Don’t wait until the time is right. Watch it right now and get clarity on your number one goal.

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Last Updated: March 30, 2021

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Thanh Pham

Founder of Asian Efficiency where we help people become more productive at work and in life. I've been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, and The Globe & Mail as a productivity thought leader. At AE I'm responsible for leading teams and executing our vision to assist people all over the world live their best life possible.

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  1. Thank you so much for this advice. I will begin immediately to implement your teachings. I am a 75 year old woman who still have dreams, desires and goals to achieve. I want to Finish Strong in the last miles of my life. Thank you again and again!

  2. As for determining your score, given the goalposts of 10 being mega-satisfied and 0 being hyper-UNsatisfied I usually start with the first number that pops into my head and then asking myself higher or lower, if an obvious answer from my mind isn’t forthcoming, then I pay attention to my gut and my mouth if i feel “weak” or “wobbly” or “coming apart” in my gut then the answer’s likely “no” if there’s a slight uptick or inclination to smile the answer might be yes. A lot of the time I fill these out as a spectrum, because it’s likely to vary given the type of day you had, the time of day, what’s going on in general. An example might be for Fun&Rec, my answer might be shading in between 4 and 6 because I get some me time, but not enough and the quality isn’t great either. If other details occur to you, scribble them in there cos that’s extra data. Also, though you’ve got 8 criteria there, there might be something that occurs to you as a separate area, and though it’s likely to fit in to one of the other criteria that might also be THE thing that you need to focus on. The exercise as it is is just the start, and then it’s up to you to use it as far as you can and make it work for you. Using all the data comes up, trying to sort it in the order that feels right will give the answers you need. Until the next time you do the exercise. The vid doesn’t state how often you should take the exercise, but an obvious answer is every time something feels wrong, otherwise set an arbitrary time, do it when the time comes and then decide if you should do it more often or not. The narrator mentioned Jim Rohn, Jim Rohn once also mentioned keeping your old goal lists, might be worth keeping these Wheel’s and reviewing them, maybe every time you do them, maybe not, just see where you’ve been and where you might be heading. I remember Tim Ferris mentioning that he spends 40% of the first 6 months of his year doing this sort of “meta-work”. You’ll probably not be able o give this sort of stuff the same priority, but it seems like it’s worth doing something. And to paraphrase Jordan Peterson, better to do this badly than not at all. Also some Mark Twain; The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

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