Tips on Time #2: The Success Formula: Time on Task over Time

Jul 30, 2020 | The ONE Thing, Time Management | 0 comments

When you are looking to achieve big things in life, you may have a picture in mind of what it will take to accomplish it. You may envision yourself as a Rocky of sorts, training day in and day out for battle. However, dedicating the whole day, every day to your goal isn’t the best use of your time. In truth, success is far more basic than that.  Success follows a simple formula: doing the right things at the right time, over time.

We call it The Success Formula.

The Success Formula

Life doesn’t stop because we’ve determined we have a big goal to reach. We still have other work that needs to get done, families to attend to, and responsibilities to meet. As much as we would like to, we can’t devote every hour of the day to our ONE Thing. So how can we ensure we’re giving it the attention it needs?

By being purposeful.

Break down The Success Formula and you’ll have a plan.

1. Do the Right Things

You know what your end goal is, but are you clear on how to accomplish it? This is where Goal Setting to the Now comes in. Goal Setting to the Now is the process of taking a look at your long-term goals and drilling down what needs to get done and when for each part of your journey. If you need help figuring out how to implement this process, pause for a moment to take a look through our how-to guide.

Start with getting clear about what you ultimately want to accomplish. This may be something you see yourself achieving in five years, three years, or on a different timetable altogether. The important thing is breaking it into smaller and more attainable pieces. We do this by working backwards from the final goal and pinpointing what we need to accomplish at various time intervals to continue to make progress.

What do you need to do this year in order to be on track? What about this month? If you’ve been able to determine what you’ll need to do in the months ahead, use that to plan your coming weeks and days. Without completing These short-term action items, your trajectory won’t be set for the right course.

Say you’ve decided this is your year to participate in a Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or Warrior Dash. That’s right, you’re choosing to submit yourself to ten miles of torture and an obstacle course filled with mud, barbed wire, and potentially some electric charges because, well, it’s fun. You can’t just show up and be mentally and physically prepared. You’ll need to train daily.

But what if you aren’t really a runner and don’t generally lift more than a bag of groceries? How do you start? With the smallest domino.

The quickest way to fail is to ignore your own abilities and spend day one of your training trying to run 10 miles. Believe us when we say that your running shoes will be in the back of the closet before you know it. Instead, figure out what first small step will help you prepare for the journey and start with that. Maybe it’s putting on your running shoes and getting into the mindset by simply walking around the block. Maybe it’s something unrelated like jump roping or completing a chin up. Whatever it may be, start small. Accomplishing that first domino will set you in motion to the next small goal and get you closer to your ultimate goal.

2. Do the Right Things at the Right Time

This is where time blocking comes in. When you time block, essentially, you make an appointment with yourself to be focused on your goal. When you schedule this meeting, you need to treat it like any other scheduled appointment. You wouldn’t call your mom during a budget meeting with your boss, so don’t do it during this appointment either. Committing to and keeping this standing appointment with yourself is key. If you don’t, you won’t make progress toward your ultimate gal.

Carrying forward the obstacle race scenario, we know that in order to go into such a race confident and prepared, you need to find the time to train for it. Whether it’s an hour a day or several times a week, when you make the commitment to yourself to block out time on your calendar to dedicate toward your ONE thing around training for this race, you will keep moving toward accomplishing it.

3. Dedicate the Necessary Time

When you’ve time blocked the time necessary to focus on what really matters and you keep these appointments with yourself over the long haul, you’ll find your accomplishments start to add up. As Gary Keller and Jay Papasan explain in The ONE Thing:

“You do the right thing and then you do the next right thing. Over time it adds up, and the geometric potential of success is unleashed.”

Dedicating time to work on what matters most is a surefire way to create the momentum necessary to knock over the dominoes you need to accomplish big things.

As you continue training for an obstacle race, for instance, you’ll knock over bigger and bigger dominoes as you go. What started off as a time block to walk around the neighborhood has become a time block with increasing distances traveled. What was initially a time block to jump rope or master the chin up has become far more. You’re able to succeed at a higher level, simply because you’ve put the necessary time on the task at hand to accomplish it.

On the contrary, if you don’t allot dedicated time to working on the things that matter most you’ll find you are constantly interrupted and distracted from working on them. For the greatest chance of success, commit to doing what matters most and make an ongoing appointment with yourself to do it.

As you make your commitments to living out The Success Formula, consider becoming a part of The ONE Thing community to get support as you learn to manage your willpower and focus, or begin a 66 Day Challenge to build a small habit that can lead to big results!


This article is the second post in a series on how to use time to your advantage. Click here to read our first post in the series.