It’s so easy to let things slide.
One way to make sure that you advance yourself every year and get better and better as a person, and closer to your own specific goals, is to place a priority on those actions every week.
If there’s something very important to you, that keeps getting pushed off into the future, then make a point to accomplish a baby step on that project every day.
If you’re applying to bschool this Fall, then it’s too easy to say, “There’s nothing for me to do now, since deadlines aren’t till September.” And then you stay a lazy bum all spring and summer, until you go into Panic Mode in August and have a life of h3ll for two months.
Instead, you could be making progress even starting now, by making it a priority to get something small done every week.
For example, identifying your short list of schools, and being clear on the reasons why. This can only evolve through the concerted effort of school research.
There’s lots of steps you can be taking today.
However, today’s post is more general in nature. We’re not talking only about applying to bschool. We’re talking about improving yourself as a person.
Say you decide you want to learn how to program. Now that’s a big goal!
Maybe you get started on it. You take a class and learn about HTML. Or you have this great idea for a website that you actually began working on in college with a buddy, but you both let it lapse when you graduated.
Or you’re a musician, and you love writing songs, but just lately, you haven’t had the time. In fact, maybe you didn’t write one since August.
Or you want to start a blog — or you started one, but it hasn’t been updated since 2015, and you don’t think anyone ever reads it…. And now it’s become like a big downer. A huge ugh. You don’t even want to think about it since it makes you feel like a slug. One more datapoint for how you don’t get stuff done.
But every time you’ve ever made progress on this heart project you’ve got, you’ve felt SO GOOD about yourself.
But maybe it’s tough to get started.
There’s always something else pulling on your time.
Well here’s an idea: (ohnoyeswe’regonnasayit) JUST DO IT.
Meaning, do SOMETHING today – even right now if you can – to advance yourself towards this goal.
Even if it’s just SCHEDULING a time in your calendar for sometime in the next 24 hours where you CAN go do it. ‘Cuz right now, while you’re reading EssaySnark, you know that you really should be preparing for that meeting with your team in 20 minutes, and you don’t have time to do something for yourself at this very moment.
What you can do is set up a reminder in your calendar for later today or tonight (or better yet, tomorrow morning) where you will have the freedom to do it.
And then make it happen!
If there’s something that only your FUTURE SELF will benefit from, it’s all too easy for your NOW SELF to blow it off. Usually your NOW SELF is all about responding to the immediacy, the urgency, the I-just-want-to-take-a-nap-ency. Your NOW SELF is an enemy of your FUTURE SELF. (THIS PHENOMENON HAS BEEN STUDIED! CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE ABOUT A UCLA ANDERSON RESEARCHER WHO HAS SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN OUT WHAT WE’RE SAYING HERE. )
And what happens, when you live long enough, is you start to look back over the years accumulating and you realize, “Dang, if only I’d started this when I first had the idea, I’d actually be done by now.”
Instead, we blow stuff off and blow it off, and we don’t change. We stay the same.
But if you’re interested in getting an MBA, there’s something about you that’s driving you. That wants to be different.
Why not honor that self?
For many people, the most precious time of the day is the morning. If you make a commitment to yourself to do something – ANYTHING – to further your own personal project as your first task of the day, then that’s guaranteed to let you actually make real progress on it over time. You need to be vigilant. Carve out the time. If it needs to happen before you leave the house for work, then find a way to do it – even if it’s only 5 minutes at first. Even 5 minutes is valuable.
The trick is to establish that as part of your routine. If you ALWAYS take 5 minutes, every morning, for two weeks, then you should be able to easily enough expand it to 10 minutes.
If you’re working on something for 10 minutes in the morning, then you’ll be thinking about it on the commute to work, and you may get some spark of inspiration that hits you during lunchtime, and then you’re so excited to implement that idea that you go home from work and you do more on your personal project that night.
Then the next morning, your 10 minutes grows to 15 minutes, and you’re on a roll with it! And you are so jazzed by it that you actually wake up before your alarm the next morning (omg that never happens!!) and instead of going back to sleep you’re wide-eyed and bushy-tailed and you GET UP and you go to work on your big idea.
And voila, in no time at all, you’ve changed.
Now you’re someone who has energy. Who’s inspired. Who’s excited by life. Now you’re working towards something.
One of the hardest parts is GETTING STARTED.
So today is an invitation.
Make tomorrow morning your first day of 5 minutes.
How will you use the time?