My husband had ordered a book The Power of Less by Leo Babauta. Ironically, he ordered two copies by mistake. So I grabbed one. I wolfed it right down thinking it was just the medicine required.
I’m a pack-rat by nature. My natural inclination is for more, not less. (My husband is the minimalist.)
Babauta recommends getting rid of the clutter, but doesn’t tell you how (you’ll have to read my book for tips on that—Coach Yourself to Success).
He recommends focusing on one thing at a time. Thankfully, he gives specific instruction on how to do that. His main point is to never have more than one big goal going on at a time. That goal should be achievable in a 6-12 month time frame. In my case, that would be writing a book.
If your goal takes longer than a year to complete, then you need to break it into smaller segments. In addition, you can have a maximum of three projects going on. The caveat is that one of the three projects must be supporting and related to your big goal. A project is defined as something that would take at least a day or more to complete. But it isn’t as big as the big goal. In my case, a project might be to interview clients for the book or read a book for research, or draft a chapter.
My problem is that I’m always tempted to put more than one goal, and more than three projects, on at a time. Babauta says this dilutes the power of your focus—a very good point! So until you finish all three projects, you can’t add in any new ones.
I like the rigor of his approach. And I will try it out in real life to see if it is actually practical. I suspect, depending on your job and the nature of your work, you may need to adapt this to your own situation.
If you can get away with only doing one thing at a time, it is the best way to finish.
I have to agree. Two weeks before I left England I got it into my head that I should get the first draft of my book done. (My original plan was to write it in Wisconsin). By giving myself permission to focus intensely on this one project I got the entire rough draft done! Of course, it needed more work over the summer. But I started the summer with a really solid draft to work on and refine. And boy was I glad. Once I arrived in Wisconsin I really felt like sitting on the beach drinking margaritas. I slipped into holiday mode instantly.
This strategy requires that you say no to lots of things. You need to focus on your one big goal and the three projects. (Remember that one of those three projects supports your big goal.) He gives some good tips on how to tell your boss that three projects is enough. And, he gives some good tips on managing your email. For example, only checking it twice a day and never checking it before you work on your big goal.
Overall, The Power of Less is a quick read, concisely written and a great reminder to focus on one thing at a time and get rid of all other distractions. By the way, Babauta has six kids so such a strategy is essential or I could imagine he wouldn’t get anything accomplished!
Even if you only have half an hour a day for your big goal, you’ll get there in the end. I know an author who wrote her book every night for half an hour while her son was little—it was all the time she could spare and had the energy for. She finished the book in one year! Think about it– in one year from today you could have a book or some other big goal accomplished. But just pick one big goal and stick to it like glue!