The “Baby Steps” Method for Achieving Any Goal

Baby Steps
The Baby Steps Method or the Cargo Ship Method – whatever you call it, it works.

I am convinced that steady, regular effort in pursuing a goal trumps occasional outbursts of activity, however big, any time.

Take the cargo ship analogy: A typical containership travels at around 24 knots (44.4 km/h). That doesn’t seem like much, but consider that the ship is traveling every hour, day and night. At 24 knots, that translates into almost 1065.6 km – more than a thousand kilometers – every day!

You can apply the same powerful principle to achieving any goal in your life. I call it the Baby Steps Method, and it’s very simple. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Define your goal in writing
  2. At the beginning of every day:
    • Review your written goal
    • Decide on a specific “baby step” – however small – that you are going to take towards the goal today. Optional: Write it down, too
    • Do not go to bed without completing your daily step.

Let’s break it down.

Define Your Goal in Writing

For best results, your goal has to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Written down, preferably by hand
  • Spelled out as if you have already achieved it.

For example:

I have launched a blog with at least 30 articles in it.

I have learned German to the level of comfortable verbal communication.

I have increased my income X% to $Y per month.

I am a believer in Psycho-Cybernetics, and I think that formulating your goal like this helps set a firm “goal image” in your mind that it will work hard to achieve.

Note that some people also recommend setting a deadline for your goal.

Review Your Written Goal Every Day

Nothing special here – just pull up your written goal (it helps if it’s written on a 3-by-4 card) and re-read the goal to remind yourself of it. This also helps to conjure up and further cement the “goal image” in your mind.

Decide on Your Daily Baby Step

I really like this part. The important thing here is that your daily “baby step” doesn’t have to be big. For example, if we take the blog goal above, some daily steps could be:

  • Register a domain name
  • Come up with a list of the first 10 articles to write
  • Write 1 article
  • Get hosting for the blog
  • Install WordPress

For the German language goal, how about these:

  • Do research on the German courses available in my city
  • Read 1 news article in German
  • Listen to a German podcast for at least 15 minutes
  • Watch a German movie
  • Do the course homework

You see that the steps above are of varying complexity. Buying a domain name is a 10-minute task, whereas writing an article is perhaps a 1-hour one. It doesn’t matter; what’s important is that you are taking measurable steps towards achieving your goal every day.

You may optionally write down the baby step you are going to take that day to further reinforce your commitment.

Don’t Go to Bed Without Completing Your Baby Step

As you might suspect, this is the crucial part. Remember that by deciding on the day’s step, you are making a promise to yourself. I don’t like breaking promises, so taking my daily step is a question of principle for me.

The good part is that, again, you don’t have to choose a big, hairy, intimidating step for a particular day. As you progress, you will feel more comfortable with taking on bigger steps, but it’s perfectly fine to stay small for as long as you wish. The method will work regardless.

Also, you won’t stay small forever anyway. As you begin to see your progress, you will naturally get the courage to try bigger daily steps and be inclined to challenge yourself for more.

Does it work? You bet it does! The blog example above is actually a real goal I set to myself a while ago with a tutorial website I was launching. My typical daily goal was to write just 1 article, and boy was I religious about it. Sure enough, the website was launched in no time.

Try it yourself, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly those baby steps add up.

Why Defining Your Product Through Someone Else’s Is a Bad Idea

iPhone Killer

A while ago, I’ve come across a piece of advice for crafting a startup elevator pitch. The author suggested that you should strive to convey your idea in the simplest way possible, and the preferred way to do so was through a product or service that the listener would already know. E.g. “My startup is an Airbnb for boats”, or “a Facebook for VCs”.

There may be other situations you may find yourself defining your product through another, a more well-known and established one. Right after the iPhone came out, the competition furiously tried to catch up with Apple, and every month, a new “iPhone killer” was announced in the media.

I think that you should never try to define your product or service through someone else’s. Moreover, if you can define it like this, it probably means that it can’t be as disruptive as the original. Here’s why.

“Product X Killer”

Claiming that your product is a killer of Product X is too limiting. Facebook was a MySpace killer, and iPhone was a Nokia killer, but they were also much more than that.

If your product is much more than just “a Product X killer”, don’t do it a disservice by labeling it so. And if it’s not, you have a bigger problem on your hands.

“The Next Product X”

Almost by definition, this label means that you don’t have a disruptor. “The next Product X” implies an improved version of the original, a 2.0 so to speak. Is that really how you make a disruptive product? No – Airbnb never was a “next” something, and neither was the iPhone. So please don’t do it either.

“Product X for Market Y”

My problem with this label is that disruptors tend to be domain-specific and simply transplanting the idea to another market is no guarantee of success. It also signals lack of originality.

There’s an exception to every rule though. I guess you could say that LinkedIn is “a Facebook for professionals” – both very successful businesses – but that only proves the point.

Bottom line: Try to find ways to describe your product or service that don’t piggyback on big flashy names.

How to Make a Change That Sticks

calvin-and-hobbes-resolutions

We’ve all been there. A new year begins, and you make that big New Year’s resolution of yours – say, to start going to a gym. Everything goes great for the first few weeks, and you feel really proud for yourself. The mere thought of having instituted this change in your life makes you smile. You tell friends about it. In fact, you feel so elevated that it’s almost surprising how easy the change was.

Then, something urgent comes up and you skip the gym once. “No big deal,” you think to yourself, “I’ll make up for it. Then again, my going to the gym is a done deal by now, what could possibly happen?” Then you skip once again, and again, until you’re back to square one.

Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times. – Mark Twain

Indeed, it’s easy to bring a change in your life. What’s hard is to make it stick. And here, I have a piece of advice that has helped me a lot throughout the years.

The advice is this:

After making a life change, avoid dwelling on it as much as possible.

Don’t be carrying your new way of life like a big flashy banner in your mind. Don’t be mentally patting your back for it or telling friends about your new positive habit. The more you do any of this, the smaller the chance that the change is here for a long haul.

It works, even though I don’t have a precise explanation why. That said, I do have a few ideas.

The Satisfaction of Advance Praise Undermines Your Motivation

In one psychology study, researches found out that announcing your goal to others may actually decrease your chances of achieving it. The praise and attitude change that you receive after the announcement are similar to those you’d have received if you actually achieved the goal, which undermines your motivation to work on the real thing.

I think that this applies to praising yourself just as much. Let your satisfaction come from the positive consequences of your life change, not from patting yourself on the back for merely initiating it.

Dwelling on a Change Inevitably Brings Up the Old Ways You’re Changing

We should not concentrate upon the undesirable feeling, even to the extent of driving it out. – Dr. Maxwell Maltz

To every positive change, there’s a flip side of an undesirable habit or a way of doing things that you are trying to fix. The flip side to going to a gym is the couch potato lifestyle. The flip side to saving more money is being a spendthrift. And so on.

Now, the funny thing about habits is that the more you concentrate on eradicating one, the more you bring it up in your mind and the more ingrained it becomes. In Psycho-Cybernetics terms, the bad habit becomes a “goal image” shown to your mind over and over.

You want to avoid that as much as possible, and the way to do it is not to overly dwell on the bad habit you’re trying to fix. Inevitably, this also means not dwelling on the new way of doing things you’re starting.

Save Your Enthusiasm for Later

Embarking on a change is often easy. The mere excitement of finally doing things differently is enough to get you going. The challenge begins later, when the excitement wears off and the risk of slipping increases.

Your drive and enthusiasm may not be material qualities to conserve and set aside for later use. But could it be that not thinking too much about your new life change helps you achieve just that? What if, by not dispensing all of your excitement in the beginning, you get the strength to carry on with that gym when the going gets really tough?

As I said, I really don’t know. But I do know that the less you think about your new life change, the more the chance of it sticking, and that’s really more than enough for me.

How to Fight Digital Distractions

Dilbert - Digital Distractions

We live in the age of distractions with all kinds of notifications, messages and alerts attacking us day and night. Today, your attention is a commodity that gets acquired and then sold for a profit by businesses like Facebook and Snapchat.

Achieving your goals in life requires immense focus so it’s very important to minimize the impact of the distractions on your productivity. The three main digital time wasters of our time are:

  • Email (compulsive checking thereof);
  • Social media;
  • News.

Here are some simple approaches that I’ve developed over the years to fight those.

1. Decouple work email from personal

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes get the urge to check work email when I’m at home or doing other things. Like with any other distractions, you want to make the act of checking work email as conscious a choice as possible, and install as few hoops to jump through to make the process less automatic. The purpose of those is to make you stop and think, “Do I really need to do this now?”

To accomplish this, I keep my work email out of the Mail app on my laptop and phone. If I need to check work email, I actually have to open Gmail in a browser and log in with my username and password. Which is not a problem to do once every morning when in the office but often not worth it to get a random work email fix at home.

If you are afraid to miss a critical work-related email, get strategic email forwarding in place. I forward emails from Amazon and Linode to my personal inbox so I will know if a problem with our server infrastructure comes up.

2. Keep the time wasters out of your phone

I use Twitter and Facebook but I keep the apps out of my iPhone. They make it just too easy to pop the social network and then wonder where half an hour of your time went. Instead, I only access both via my laptop browser, and I log out of Facebook after using it (see the next tip).

3. Log out when you’re done with it

This again has to do with making the distractions harder to tap. Once I’m done with checking my Facebook feed, I actually go and log out of Facebook. This way, I have to log in again if I want to check it next time. Making Facebook checking a bit more complicated than just typing “facebook” in the browser really helps to spend less time on the social network.

(Another benefit is that by logging out of Facebook, you are supposedly minimizing the amount of tracking that Facebook can do with their Like button all over the Internet.)

Oh, and I also log out of my work email as I leave the office.

4. Fetch, no push

Combined with app notifications, push email is the biggest enemy of your productivity. For a mere mortal, it’s just too hard to fight the urge to open that email immediately after it arrives. Even if you don’t have email notifications on, the increased count of unread emails on the Mail icon makes the best of us anxious to check it.

Take back the control and disable push email. Go for “manual fetch” where you actually have to tell your email app to go and download new messages.

5. No notifications by default

Do you really need to receive push notifications from that travel app that you use twice a year? How about browser notifications from that recipe website? Heck, do you really need to be instantly notified once a new article comes up on TechCrunch?

Your default answer to all notification requests on your phone and in your browser should be “Disallow”. Only in the cases when there’s a legitimate reason for an app to send you notifications (e.g. a messaging app), should the notifications be allowed.

Otherwise, you will drawn in notification spam sooner than you’ll notice it.

6. If you have to be checking the news, at least try to make it useful

I’m not a big believer in the value of news in our lives. That said, the mix of fear, excitement and easy explanations for what’s happening around us makes them such pleasurable fast food for our brains! No wonder it’s hard to keep away from them.

But if you are going to indulge in some news checking, at least try to make the process more useful for yourself. What I’ve recently done is switch from my regular mix of WSJ and TechCrunch to Spiegel and Heise Online to improve my German. Now I really have to struggle through the news articles but at least I know I’m learning in the process.

7. Schedule a “Do not disturb” mode on your phone

At 10 PM every night, my phone automatically goes into the “Do not disturb” mode with no audible notifications. So even if some rogue app wants to steal my attention during my quiet time, it will only be able to do so if I actually turn on my phone. Again, it’s all about claiming back control.

If I had to sum up the above tips, they really boil down to two main points:

  1. Realize that you are in control of how you spend your time and what digital distractions you allow to interfere with your activities.
  2. Just stopping to indulge in favorite distractions is hard. Make the job easier for yourself by minimizing the temptations and by installing roadblocks to make the indulging as much of a conscious choice as possible.

Good luck! Now let me check my email.

Adopting the “No Excuses” Mindset

The One Minute Millionaire by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen ends with a notion of “no excuses”. Mark and Robert give a few examples of people who succeeded against all odds and say that if they made it, then you really have no excuses for not living a happier and more fulfilled life.

I’ve read the book a decade ago and the notion of “no excuses” has been one of a few powerful things that stuck. Accepting full responsibility for your life’s outcomes is incredibly empowering, but it can also be tough and stressful.

As with many things in life, you have to give up certain habits and ways of doing things if you adopt the “no excuses” mindset. And let me tell you, the choice doesn’t seem all that obvious at times.

No Excuses Means Accepting Full Responsibility

What “no excuses” really means is that you accept full responsibility for your life’s outcomes.

At this point in time, I don’t think that this has to be taken literally – after all, we as humans tend to underestimate the role of chance and luck in our lives (if you’re not convinced, check out Fooled by Randomness and Thinking, Fast and Slow). Instead, just like with never giving up, the idea is to accept more responsibility than you normally would.

This idea in and of itself is very powerful. If you are largely responsible for your life’s outcomes, than achieving all of your dreams is within your reach.

Also, if you accept full responsibility, you naturally stop blaming others. Why? Because by blaming, you accept that other people and circumstances have some control over your life, and that’s inconsistent with having 100% responsibility on your part.

Excuses Are Comforting

So what are you to lose if you accept the “no excuses” mindset?

Ten years ago, I’d never thought I’d write this but – a certain amount of excuses may actually be a healthy protective mechanism. If you always blame yourself for not achieving things in your life, you may be putting way more psychological weight on yourself than you deserve. This can be incredibly stressful.

The key here, of course, is “a certain amount”. If you always blame others, the government or the circumstances for not getting what you want, you are just being lazy.

The Choice Is Yours

So should you adopt a “no excuses” mindset? Here is what happens if you do:

  • You will feel much more empowered
  • Life will become tougher because there will be no one to blame
  • You will need to be very honest with yourself.

Whether you want to accept this trade is up to you. In any case, though, try accepting more responsibility for your life and handing less to others through blame. This has helped me immensely.

On Giving Up

"Never, never, never, never give up." Or not.
“Never, never, never, never give up.” Or not.

The spring of 2014 was not easy for my family. We recently moved to a new country and, after renting for about a year, bought ourselves an apartment. We bought it all cash with money borrowed from my parents, thinking that it would be relatively easy to get a mortgage once we get some income history for 2013.

We were wrong. As we were getting rejected by one bank after another, the possibility of not getting a mortgage became increasingly real. And without the mortgage, we would be unable to renovate the apartment to move in – or return the money to my parents, for that matter.

On top of it all, we discovered that my wife was pregnant with our second child.

Back there and then, we decided that we would apply to all the banks if needed and would not declare defeat until every single one rejected our application. After five rejections, one bank accepted. The mortgage rate was much higher than average but we were saved.

Never Giving Up Is Silly

Am I trying to say that you should never give up? No. As Den Kennedy writes in his book, banging your head against the wall when something clearly isn’t working is silly. Blind perseverance is for suckers – success if often brought by trying a lot of different things and seeing “what sticks”.

However, most people give up too early. That’s why I think the popular advice to “never, never, never, never give up” (often mistakenly attributed to Winston Churchill) should not be taken literally. Rather, think of it as motivation to hold on for just a little longer than you normally would.

In any endeavor, there is a point by which 99% of people give up. Be willing to cross that point and peek at what’s round the corner. You may be surprised at just how close the goal is.

Don’t Be the One Who Says No to You

A few years back, I stumbled upon a profound piece of advice. I don’t remember the source, but the advice ran something like this: Don’t be the person saying no to you. Let it be that girl you’re trying to approach, the bank where you want to get a mortgage, or that sales prospect.

What this really means is that you should not shut down opportunities for yourself without really trying. Never say to yourself, “It’s no use. It’s never going to work.” because what it is is just a convenient excuse. The truth is, you will never know unless you try.

And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not live the rest of my life wondering what would have happened if I actually tried instead of saying no to myself.

Because, as it turns out, miracles often happen if you persevere just a little bit longer.

Always Read What You Sign

Cliff Vandercave tricking Fred Flintstone into signing firing notices for all the workers.
Cliff Vandercave tricking Fred Flintstone into signing firing notices for all the workers

I often surprise bank clerks by actually reading those long, small-font agreements that go with a new account or a debit card. I don’t always read them word for word but I always try to get a good grasp of the key points before I put my signature on the document.

The higher the stakes, the more time I take analyzing the papers. When we were closing the first investment round for my current company, it took us maybe 10 back-and-forths and a lawyer’s involvement to finalize the Shareholders’ Agreement. And I’m glad I went through this because there were numerous omissions in the first draft that would put me in a seriously disadvantaged position.

(The lawyer later told me that many founders sign that stuff without reading, and that it was so good I wasn’t one of them.)

You see, I’m not afraid to take the other party’s time, look dumb or mistrusting. You agree to every word of the document that you sign, so you better be very familiar with its contents.

I’m also not afraid to ask questions (see “being dumb” above). If you don’t understand something in the agreement, ask for it to be explained to you.

It also goes without saying that you don’t have to sign a document that you don’t agree to. If some key points are missing or just plain wrong, ask to have them corrected. Don’t succumb to pressure, which the other party will sometimes try to mount on you. Keep calm and be fine with walking away from the deal if you are not 100% comfortable with the papers.

A written agreement usually supersedes any prior discussions and promises made before signing. Make sure that the document reflects exactly what was agreed on. Read what you sign – that’s what the successful people do.

Eat That Frog

Frog Lying Down

I’ve gotten this tip from a book by Brian Tracy, and it has served me really well. The tip is really simple:

Start your day by knocking out the most unpleasant thing on your to-do list first.

If you’re like me, your daily to-do list almost always has that “frog” that you want to do least. For me today, it’s writing this blog post. I’d rather get carried away by the comfortable daily routine. But deep down, I know what my frog is and I’m eating it now.

Your frog may be different. Inevitably though, it’s that thing that you would rather postpone or not do altogether. You find an excuse to start with easier, more comfortable things – replying to emails, checking Facebook, reading the news – and the frog gets swept under the carpet.

Don’t do it. Make a deliberate decision to “eat the frog” and do that unpleasant thing first. For one thing, you will good about yourself. Deep down inside you know that the day’s frog is really important (see below), so you will have a sense of satisfaction even if you don’t accomplish anything else today.

The second reason is more profound. Our frogs are typically the high-priority, long-term things that may come with a little pain now but promise great rewards in the future – or help avert much more unpleasant things. Setting up a dentist appointment is an easy example.

Third, frogs often require that we step out of our comfort zone. Trust me, I would rather be replying to emails or testing our company’s Android app instead of writing this post. But I know that stepping out of your comfort zone is how you grow, and I’m willing to suffer a little pain to achieve that.

Eating your daily frog requires you to be honest with yourself. Once you know what your frog is today, there really are no excuses – it has to be dealt first thing. The more you practice this, the more automatic this daily decision will become.

Be honest with yourself, identify your frog and eat it today! I’ve just eaten mine.

Expert Opinion is Overrated, or The Power of Simple Formulas

If you haven’t yet read Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to do so. In this book, Prof. Kahneman – a winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences – summarizes his lifetime of research into the workings of the human mind, our decision-making process and the fallacies we are susceptible to.

There are a lot of eye-openers in the book but a few stand out. One is found in the chapter called “Intuitions vs. Formulas”. The lesson in this chapter is extremely provocative:

Simple formulas often outperform expert judgment.

What this means is that a simple formula to predict future performance may be more reliable than expert opinion.

The key example provided in the chapter is Kahneman’s own story of creating an interview system for the Israeli army. Prior to Kahneman, the evaluation of a recruit’s combat fitness was chiefly made by an expert – the interviewer who tried to forecast how well the recruit would do.

It turned out that the expert judgment was practically useless in predicting the future success of recruits. At age 21, Kahneman was tasked to create a better approach. Shortly before, Kahneman read a book by the psychologist Paul Meehl about statistical prediction, and he decided to put Meehl’s theories into practice.

Objective Inputs + Standard Formulas

The new interview system included separate scoring of several personality traits in each recruit that would appear relevant to his performance in a combat unit – traits like responsibility, sociability and “masculine pride”. For scoring each personality trait, Kahneman came up with a series of standardized questions. The candidate’s final score was computed as a simple sum of individual scores.

The evaluations held a few months after the new system was installed showed that it was a substantial improvement over the old one. A simple sum of the six scores predicted the soldier’s performance much more accurately that the previous, expert-based method.

Now, you may be inclined to think that the improvement was due to Kahneman systematizing the interview process by making the interviewers score specific personality traits in each recruit. While there is undoubtedly value in this, the crucial – crucial! – factor was what questions were used for scoring these traits.

Kahneman writes: “I… composed, for each trait, a series of factual questions about the individual’s life before their enlistment.” For example, questions for scoring responsibility included how many different jobs the recruit had held or how punctual he had been in his work and studies.

Contrast this with a typical job interview where the interviewer would ask questions like “Do you consider yourself responsible?”, “Give me an example where you showed yourself as a responsible person”, or “Imagine you found yourself in such and such situation. What would you do?”

Kahneman’s system included none of this. Instead, the scoring in his system was based on questions about objective facts of the person’s life that are indicative of the personality trait in question.

In particular, here is what Kahneman has to say:

I concluded that the then current interview had failed at least in part because it allowed the interviewers to do that they found most interesting, which was learn about the dynamics of the interviewee’s mental life.

Not Just for the Army

The superiority of simple formulas over expert judgment has been confirmed in a multitude of areas besides army recruitment. Here are a few other examples – some are given in the book and some are my observations:

Predicting the future value of wines. Bottles of fine Bordeaux wine filled only 12 months apart can differ in value by a factor of 10 or more. A statistical formula developed by the Princeton economist Orley Ashenfelter predicts the future price of wine by just three features of the weather of the bottling year. The Ashenfelter’s formula provides accurate price forecasts years and even decades into the future and is much more accurate than expert opinion.

Marital stability. Robyn Dawes showed that marital stability is well predicted by a simple formula:

Stability = frequency of lovemaking – frequency of quarrels

Basically, you don’t want your stability number to be in the negative.

Stock market investing. It is a well-established fact that index investing, or formula-based investing into a basket of stocks representative of the market is a whole, outperforms a vast majority of fund managers over the long run. “A low-cost index fund is the most sensible equity investment for the great majority of investors,” agrees Warren Buffett, arguably the best investor history has known.

Evaluating physical distress of newborns. A rating scale developed by anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar ranks newborns across five variables (heart rate, respiration, reflex, muscle tone, and color) on a scale of 0 to 2 one minute after they are born. The scale has proved to be much more accurate than clinical judgement in determining whether the baby is in distress and needs medical help. Apgar score has saved lives of hundreds of thousands of infants since its introduction in 1953.

Making the Formulas Work for You

In the end of the “Intuitions vs. Formulas” chapter, Kahneman urges the reader to put the formulas to work in their life and provides a detailed description of his formula-based method for assessing job candidates.

While this method requires “relatively little effort,” Kahneman warns that it also requires “substantial discipline.” This has been exactly my experience in implementing the interview procedures in Kahneman’s spirit in my company, and here is why.

As I mentioned before, the key to the success of Kahneman’s formula-based approach is the objective, factual inputs – i.e. questions used to evaluate each of the job candidate’s 5 or 6 personality traits. When devising the questions, I had to constantly remind myself to avoid questions dealing with the dynamics of the candidate’s “mental life” and use fact-based questions instead.

For example, if you were to evaluate the candidate’s ability to operate in unknown, you may be tempted to ask, “How did you deal with changes at work?”, and that would be a wrong question. Instead, one better – factual – question used to assess this trait would be, “Have you traveled a lot?”

My hiring has been very successful so far, and I attribute much of the success to the usage of a formula instead of subjective judgement. Try putting simple formulas to work for you, and you will be surprised with the results.

The Biggest Mistake You Can Make

Sand ClockThe biggest mistake you can make is to live your life as if you had infinite time on your hands. Here is an example.

I moved out of my hometown when I was 27. This is an old European city with lots of history and landmarks to it that lots of tourists come to see every year.

I haven’t seen all of the landmarks or visited all the museums. In fact, the first time I saw a lot of the attractions myself was when I was giving others a tour of the city.

This seems to be typical of many other city dwellers. After all, all of those museums and attractions are there. They are not going anywhere. You can see them every time.

Until you can’t.

Your Time Is Not Infinite

A lot of us seem to be taking this “it can wait” approach towards many other things in life. We are not pursuing our dreams or spending enough time with our loved ones because they are always there and we can do it anytime.

The routine gets us and we let the multitude of the day’s little problems completely obscure the big picture.

I’ll start that yoga class after the youngest one goes to preschool. I’ll be spending more time with my wife after I finish this one project at work. I’ll do this when…

Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and then years, and we find that a huge chunk of our life is forever gone attending to stuff we can’t even remember.

Your time is not infinite. Every day, you have one day less to live, and one day less to do the things you have been postponing for months or years. The time to do those things is now.

Budget the Time for the Important Things

One strategy that I have found to be effective is to proactively budget the time for the important things in your life.

For example, I love DJing but I have been finding myself moving nowhere for quite some time because I just “didn’t have the time” to find new tracks. Now I proactively budget at least a few minutes daily to look for new music, and that helps immensely.

(Incidentally, this is very closely related to my favorite “baby steps” method of reaching goals, which I will be talking about later.)

It’s really easy – if you don’t put money aside first, you will have nothing left at the end of the month. If you don’t proactively budget time for the  important people and projects in your life, the routine will eat it all.

What this all really is about is remembering the big picture. And you better remind yourself of it when you deal with your most precious asset – time.

Because those important things may no longer be there when you finally decide to attend to them.