Don’t look back at your past, you can’t change it. Don’t look to the future, it’s not here yet. Instead focus and enjoy the present, because it’s all we got right now.
This is something I have to remind myself from time to time. The importance of cherishing the moment and doing what you can do right now. I look back to the time when I was just taking life week by week and not planning any longer beyond that.
Same old story
It was the same old story every week. I was waiting for the weekends to come, telling myself that I was going to accomplish so much since I didn’t have to attend classes and would be free. I told myself I would finish 10 to 12 planned tasks over the weekend but I always ended up only doing 3 to 4 tasks.
It was the same routine. Waking up later than I would like to, started the day by enjoying it first. Playing games, watching shows. The actual work only begun after lunch. Even when I was “working” I was easily distracted. Opening tabs to check on social media or using my phone when I was supposed to focus and concentrated.
By the time it was mid day, I was already demoralized as I felt that the day did not go as planned and that it was unproductive. The rest of the day would be spent sitting around thinking negatively and continuing to procrastinate, with a few more half hearted attempts at trying to get work done. This was “the weekend” that I was looking forward to.
Where are you headed without a plan?
I don’t know if you see any similarities in your weekends. Do you also tell yourself that you are going to do better next week, but nothing really changes? Can anything change if you don’t know where you’re going? Will anything change unless you have a clear picture of the goal in mind?
I came to the realization that planning while it might seem mundane and time-consuming, it’s a key step in order to get you where you want to be. You can’t skip it!
I know planning is time consuming and it doesn’t seem important but a good plan can give you motivation, purpose and a goal to chase for. Here’s what I recommend
- Long term plan
- Medium term plan
- Weekly tasks and daily tasks
Long term plan (maybe 3 to 5 years)
Decide on what you want to achieve at the end. Your goals can vary and there doesn’t need to be a minimum number of goals. The only thing criteria for your goals is, it has to be things that you truly want!
Just follow your heart’s desire but try to be as specific as possible. For example, reaching the position of director in your current company or saving 500k in 3 years. It can even be goals that are slightly different from the ones normally chosen, such as
- Having 5 good friends that you trust and can count on
- Giving a presentation in front of 200 people
- Volunteer in an organization of your choice for 8 months
One additional advice I would like to offer is, remember why you chose your long term goals in the first place. Perhaps write down the reason next to every long term goal that you chose for yourself. That way you will always be reminded of the WHY when you’re doing it.
Medium term goals
These should be your goals for the next few months. I recommend a timeframe of 6 months, so you can review your performance every 6 months to see if you are making progress. The main focus of your medium term goals will be on to do what you can within the next few months to move you closer to your long term goals.
- Start and aim to give a presentation to 70 people
- Aim to volunteer at an organization for at least 2 months
You want it to be a smaller, easier and scaled down version of your long term goal.
Weekly and daily tasks
For your weekly tasks, I suggest setting maybe 6-8 tasks a week. These should be geared towards helping you reach your mid term goals.
For the daily tasks, I suggest setting 3 daily tasks for yourself everyday, these are 3 tasks that you will focus on and make sure you complete every day. These 3 tasks should be focused on helping you achieve your weekly tasks.
Now for your daily and weekly tasks, the number of tasks you should attempt depends on each individual. Some people with more responsibilities and less free time might aim for 1 tasks daily. Some people may find that they have a lot more time currently and can attempt up to 5 tasks daily. It defers from person to person and how “difficult” each task is. So think it through on your own and decide what works best for you.
Your daily tasks help you hit your weekly goals. Your weekly goals move you closer to your medium term goals and finally your medium term goals will let you achieve your long term goals!
Just take note
Your long term goals need not be fixed. Perhaps you always wanted to write a book, so 1 of your long term goals is to write your own book. However after trying it for a few weeks, you realized that it is actually very different from you expected and you realized it was more of an idea that caught your fancy at that moment.
Just change it then! You are not obliged to do it unless you truly want to. Of course I am not saying give up easily, but know what you want and don’t afraid to drop it if it doesn’t feel right.
To sum it up
Sometimes you set goals for yourself, you tell yourself you’ll work on them the moment you get a chance. But without a proper plan, without a proper breakdown of how you are going to achieve it, you’ll lose motivation quickly.
While working on your goals, you may find that you will have “bad” days, days where you might be unproductive. Don’t focus on them, don’t focus on the negatives. Tell yourself to do what you can do, with what you have right now.
Always remember, “Don’t think of the past, you can’t change it”. Focus on the present and you’ll be able to achieve the future you have planned for yourself.