Is this going to be the year you maximize productivity and achieve your goals? We have great intentions when we set our sights on achieving something, but unless we have the right tools in our back pocket, these promises we make to ourselves often fall flat. Think of them as along the same lines as resolutions, which according to a 2012 University of Scranton study, many people make but only 8 percent actually hit their goals. Another University of Scranton study from 1989 noted that two years after making a resolution just 19 percent of people had reached them.
Are we getting worse at reaching goals? It’s time to set our sights on making changes that really matter, get control over our to-do lists and start focusing on goals ONE Thing at a time.
Take Action: Using the GPS
A lot of us have so much going on in our lives that it’s nearly impossible for us to obtain our goals. When we let the clutter overcome what matters most, it’s going to be difficult to make any headway. The GPS works wonders because it’s all about prioritizing, which is an essential part of productivity. The basic idea is:
- G – Commit to accomplishing one big goal.
- P – Identify three priorities that will help you to achieve your one big thing.
- S – Determine five strategies that will help you to accomplish your three priorities.
This rule makes it easy to focus on ONE Thing at a time. Everything else, the non-essentials, can wait until the GPS items have been accomplished.
GPS for Setting and Reaching Goals
Moving forward, use the GPS to identify one big goal, three priorities to reaching the goal and five strategies items for each priority. This will help you to break the big goal out into smaller, more manageable steps.
Deciding on that first big goal is a critical step in reaching each milestone that follows. Putting your focus on a goal means taking attention away from something else. If goals aren’t sincerely important to us we’re less likely to make the sacrifices needed to reach them. One way of identifying your most important goals is to break them down into different buckets. These buckets include:
- Professional Life
- Spiritual Life
- Physical Health
- Personal Life
- Financial Life
Find one big thing for each bucket that matters to you and make that your primary focus for the year.
The Focusing Question is a perfect way to establish your milestones and five small steps for each goal. Ask yourself, “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” Asking yourself this question will help you identify which actions will produce the biggest results and decide what needs to be done first.
The ONE Thing resources like the GPS and Long-Term Goals worksheets are an effective way of implementing the GPS. They provide a blueprint for putting an action plan in place for the year and beyond, which the University of Scranton researchers found was a critical component of goal success. Fill out a GPS form for each of your bucket goals and keep them where they are easily accessible.
Using the GPS for To-Do Lists
Identifying goals and creating a plan is the first step. Now you have to take action to make these things happen. Many people use to-do lists to get things done, but as Gary Keller points out in The ONE Thing, the problem with daily to-do lists is that they are like a running stream of consciousness that puts everything on equal ground. There is no prioritization, organization or intent on success. Therefore, they don’t make us more productive. What people need are success lists and the GPS can help move things in the right direction.
Your daily success list should be very short. Only your priorities – the things you must get done that day to help you achieve your overarching goal – should rise to the top. This will make the day more manageable and force you to focus on the things that really need to get done or make the greatest impact.
Make reading The ONE Thing your first goal in order to get more insights on how you can harness the power of focus to make big things happen.