Image by: Anthony Quintano
By William Scott
I’ve come across so many people throughout my life that have confessed me their multi million dollar ideas, but they all seem to share the very same problem.
Every time one of my buddies blows me away with one of their revolutionary ideas, I just can’t wait to ask the big question: when do you start? Unfortunately, their response has never changed:
“I don’t have time for it.”
Here’s the thing. If you’re constantly fantasizing about the same thing over and over again, chances are your “dreamer you” is trying to tell your “lazy you” something: “go for it!”
Granted, 24 hours a day is not a huge number to live by. Heck, a third of those hours go over the cliff when we sleep. Mix it with work, school, and traffic, and we barely have any time left to brush our teeth. Time is money, and we really can’t afford dreaming.
Or can we?
It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way
I’m here to show you the other side of the story. We will identify and destroy every little thing that is making your day seem shorter than a 140 characters tweet.
Oh, found them…
That’s right. The only thing separating you from the big guys is not a difference in hours per day, but rather in motivation per day.
Are you already drinking margaritas while watching the sunset in that Caribbean island you recently owned? No? Then you shouldn’t be wasting your precious hours on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook until you can actually get there.
You can customize the old “just one more beer” myth (which BTW, has helped us fool our ladies an astonishing ZERO times throughout history) and try to convince yourself that it’s “just one more video”, but the problem is procrastination has no limits!
There will never be too few ESPN Top 10 videos, or Area 51 stories, or The Walking Dead memes. As long as you have something valuable to do, they will always come back looking for you. And guess what? You will always be there for more.
No, you don’t have to delete all your social media platforms. But you do have to follow some simple steps in order to maximize your time and achieve your dreams.
Although getting rid of your procrastinating habits is the first step you need to take if you want to see a true change in your life, it is the last step in my conceptual guide to success.
Over multiple trial and error experiments, I’ve come to terms with a method that has proven to be the most effective one. The best way to achieve something, anything, is to start with the big picture, and continue all the way down until you get to the smallest of details.
1. Set your goals
2. Plan ahead
3. Manage your time
4. Get it done
Set Your Goals
You need to be clear in knowing what you really want. Be specific. Don’t worry about how difficult it might seem, how far away, or the many ways that it can go wrong. Focus only on that one thing. Visualize it as a reality.
What do you see? What steps did you have to take in order to get there? What was the process? Now start working your way back until you get to this moment.
I’ve learned the hard way that if you don’t have physical proof of your plan, it won’t last a day. When you finish gathering all the information from step one, you need to write it down. Not on a fast food receipt, not on your hand, write it BIG.
Get a whiteboard and some markers on your nearest Office Depot, and write down the most important steps you need to complete in order to get where you want to be. Number them by priority. Let them be there. Put the board in a visible place where you know you’ll have to read the steps every day, even if you get tired of doing so.
Now, you need to set deadlines, specific tasks, things to buy, places to visit, people to meet; everything you need in order to complete all the steps from your whiteboard. Organize these new data on a notebook or agenda, and set them in a chronological order. The advantage of an agenda is that you can quickly see both the big picture as well as the detailed plan of any specific day or week.
Manage Your Time
Here comes the fun part. Believe me, a lot of times I’ve found myself in a position where I’ve completed the first two steps to the very last detail. Everything. And that alone is just not enough.
I once made a huge chart of my workout routine and taped a copy of it on my bedroom’s ceiling for extra motivation. I knew how many pounds of muscle I wanted to gain per month. I knew how many days I was going to exercise per week, as well as how many days I was going to rest. I even had a check-box for every repetition of every different exercise so I wouldn’t miss anything. Guess what? I never started it.
The problem is, everything comes down to just one huge little thing: your present day. You can’t just tell yourself you’re going to stop procrastinating and start making the most out of your free time. That’s like giving candy to a baby and telling him not to eat it. There’s just no control. I know you’re a full grown man, but in terms of time management you’re pretty much like that baby.
In order to set yourself some limits you need something that rules your day. You have to give that something the power to control you. You need to accept the fact that you’re no longer the commander in chief. If you really want to achieve your goal, you’re going to have to obey your new boss.
That boss is nothing more than a simple schedule. Your schedule doesn’t need to be an anarchist; it can even be a flexible and fun one. The only reason for existence of your schedule is to put a tangible limit to what once was an uncontrollable waste of time.
By timing your daily activities, you’ll see how easy it is to fulfill all of your responsibilities while finally getting those extra hours you needed to play golf with your clients. And don’t worry, you’ll still have time to watch those funny cat videos on YouTube, what you won’t have is half a day to do so.
With the help of your schedule you are going to be able to eliminate one by one all the small, and not so small, tasks from your agenda. Eventually, you will start checking off the steps from the annoying whiteboard that greets you every morning.
And without even noticing, one of these days you’re going to see yourself on top of your mountain, only this time it will not be a dream, but a reality.
Get It Done
Start. Get up and start. This goes both for your conceptual plan and for your physical actions. Get your board, get your agenda, create your schedule, and START. You’ve wasted enough time already up to this point, so there’s no better day to start creating your dreams than today.
It might sting at the beginning, giving away all that free time. But remember, you’re not giving away anything. What you’re doing is transforming all the nonsense from your life into the things you truly want. The moment you accomplish your first goal, you’re going to realize how stupid those YouTube cat videos were.
Do you have any other ideas to stop procrastination from limiting your true potential? How do you keep motivated from start to finish when pursuing a specific goal? Tell us about your own experiences on the comments section bellow and don’t forget to share!