I wrote last week about my realization that I was compromising my goals and my newfound drive to achieve them. Well, it’s been less than a week since that post but the difference is remarkable. I don’t want to be cliched and say that I feel like a whole new person but I can definitely feel the difference in attitudes and how it’s changing my life.
In the past week I’ve:
- Written a new guest post for a major personal finance blogger
- Met with one of the CEO of a company I worked for and I’m now helping him out with his new idea for a company
- Explored a new hiking trail with my fiancée, Julie
- Started training for a marathon
- Learned how to make a kick ass blueberry cobbler
Note that not all of these are career related. Some of these are just a lot of fun, but that’s the whole point. Being driven doesn’t mean you spend your entire life in front of a computer pounding out presentations and business plans. It means you throw yourself into the important things in life, whether work or fun, with everything you have, holding nothing back. It means not doing things half assed, including relaxation. If you’re going to relax, relax all the way and stop checking email. If you’re going to work, work hard and stop wasting time on the little things.
It’s All About Focus
In fact, my big lesson from this week is that drive means focus. It means not wasting time on the little things and focusing on the big things that make a difference. It means not being distracted from the task at hand by the million and one minor issues that crop up during the day.
For example, my previous work day used to be:
- Come to work
- Go through email
- Go to a meeting
- Come back to desk, go through email
- Try to work on project, get distracted by phone or email
- Try to work on project, get distracted by someone coming to talk to me
- Make myself feel useful by working on email
The same applied in my personal life. I would distract myself with cleaning the bathroom or playing with the dog without getting to the really important things, like learning to make the perfect blueberry cobbler with Julie. I would go play a video game instead of going to explore the latest hike.
Get the picture?
Being driven means not letting the little things distract you. It means sitting here and completing this post without letting myself be distracted by the IM chat window that just popped up and getting back to work on it as soon as the person who just walked by and asked me a question walks away. It also means picking out the projects with the best return and focusing on those. For example, I could spend time figuring out a slightly better background picture for this site or I could write a guest post for a top blog that would bring in thousands of new visitors. I could watch a rented movie with Julie and spend two hours watching a screen and not talking, or I could spend 2 hours cooking a cobbler with her and occasionally tossing flour or brown sugar at each other. Rather than just do something for the sake of saying “I did something” I am now picking and choosing my battles, devoting my time to where it brings the highest return.
Will This Last?
Now here’s the question. Will I be able to maintain this momentum? Will it die out in a week or a month? Will I grow bored or tired with being focused and go back to checking email every 5 minutes? Possibly, but I’m trying to prevent that. I’ve sent myself a few email reminders that should spur me on at the right moments and I’ve also added this new mindset to the top of my personal journal.
This is the place where I write down my thoughts every single day. At the very top is a little section which I reread every day and which contains little nuggets of truth that I’ve found to be particularly motivating. I read them because I want to remind myself of what I have learned and why I thought it was important. By reading them again and again, I make them into a belief which will last a lifetime.
What’s the number one thing you should be doing right now to move your goals forward? Why are you reading this post instead of doing that?