I’ve got loads of big goals and ideas. I’ll bet you do, too. It’s part of being creative. But, as my ever-growing pile of “big ideas” reminds me, “Dreams are fun, but tasks get things done.”
So, here’s a simple way to turn big goals into tiny tasks that keep you organized, productive, and consistent.
Step 1️⃣: Pick one big goal by asking two simple questions
- “What am I excited to work on right now?” And then…
- “Of those things, what will make the biggest impact on my life, right now?”
Maybe you’re different, but I’ve found that my most productive periods happen when I’m working towards one big goal. I like to sleep. I’m not that organized. I’ve got a lot of hobbies. And I enjoy seeing my wife and kid. Working on more than one big thing at a time means I never build momentum.
So, that’s why I recommend figuring out one thing to focus on from your pile of big ideas. I call this your Big Goal.
But, how do you pick just one idea to work on? That’s question #1.
“What am I excited to work on right now?
Why? Big goals take a lot of work. But, if I’m excited about something, I don’t need a lot of motivation or discipline to keep on task. So, if I’m picking a goal to focus on, that’s the pool of ideas I want to work from.
But, how do you know you’re excited about something? Well, I think it’s the old Justice Potter, “I know it when I see it.”, but if you need some help, here are a few excitement signals you can look for, to know you’re excited about something:
- You find yourself reading and watching everything you can about a topic.
- You would happily do it for free or for zero recognition.
- You find yourself staying up way past your bedtime to work on or learn about it.
- You’ve Got a hunch that accomplishing that big goal could lead to a life-changing opportunity or would make something else you care about a lot easier or more certain.
Now that you’ve got a smaller list of things that make hard work sound fun, it’s time to pick the one thing by asking,
“Of all my exciting ideas, what will improve my life the most?”
So now that you’ve got your big goal picked out, it’s time to go from dream to actionable tasks.
Yes, that means for 7 days you only get to work on your big goal, anything that will have a massive, negative impact on your life if you don’t do it (like going to work and paying your bills), and nothing else. I’ll bet you 100 internet points you’re surprised by how much you get done. And if I’m wrong, I promise you can start working on your novel, your billion-dollar business idea, and your 500lb deadlift, simultaneously, again next week.
Step 2️⃣: Break down your big goal into smaller influencing goals and tiny tasks
By definition, a big goal should require a lot of different actions to accomplish. I can’t even think of a big goal that can be accomplished by “Idea > Single Action > Success”.
So, that means you’ve got to break down your Big Goal into tiny tasks you can work on right now…
What’s the difference between a Big Goal, Influencing Goals, and Tasks?
Big Goal 🐋 = Long-term outcomes you can influence via strategy.
Some examples would be to make a million dollars, write a book, get jacked, get married.
Influencing Goals 🤝 = The shorter-term strategies that influence your ability to hit the Big Goal, but aren’t directly in your control or can be completed in one sitting.
Examples would be to get on a podcast, get 100 email subscribers, add 30 lbs to your squat.
Tasks ☑️ = Daily and weekly actions you can track and are more or less 100% in your control. If you want to have this action completed, you can decide to do it right now. And once you’re done, the task is completed.
Some examples would be to send out a resume, make a cold call, go to 3 group activities, do 3 sets of 5 squats @ RPE 8.
Double-check that your tasks are super-duper small, easy, and specific by asking, “Can I divide this task into smaller components?”
If a task is absurdly simple, that’s ok!
Always remember, when you effectively break down your goals, simple tasks, repeated over time, will equal incredible progress.
Simple Tasks ⏩ Completed Actions ⏩ Momentum and Progress
If you’ve never thought about goals this way, give it a try with something you’re working on right now.
Work, home, creative, kids, it doesn’t matter. The cool thing is that this works for anything. Good luck!