Now that you have your SMART Goal decided, the next step is to make sure you have the right mindset to be able to achieve your goal. We’ve identified 3 major work hacks to help keep you focused when working toward your SMART goal.
1. One thing at a time
The first trick to having a productive mindset is to stay focused on one thing at a time.
For example, consider your approach when putting together a piece of furniture. You can’t simply look at the picture on the box and try to figure it out. You need step-by-step directions where each step builds upon the last all working toward the end goal.
This strategy will enable you to dive deep into each project as its own and give it your full attention, rather than be spread too thin across multiple projects giving each a half-hearted effort.
This doesn’t mean that multi-tasking is a bad thing as many people I know are able to multi-task quite well. What this does mean, however, is that focusing your energy and attention on one primary purpose at a time will enable you to strategically reach your goal in a more direct way.
2. 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule, or Pareto’s Principle, derives from an 19th century Italian economist named Pareto. Most notably, he discovered that 20% of the peapods in his garden contained 80% of the peas. You can apply this same associative principle when making your next business decision!
This same distribution is claimed to appear in several different aspects relevant to entrepreneurs and business managers.
80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of its customers.
80% of a company’s complaints come from 20% of its customers.
80% of a company’s sales come from 20% of its products.
80% of a company’s sales are made by 20% of its sales staff.
It is often the case that the majority of results come from a much smaller percentage of your overall work. Whether it’s 80/20, 90/10, or even 95/5, the principle remains.
For example, it may take you hours and hours on the phone to work on certain projects or work with certain clients, who happen to be in your bottom 10%. It’d be better for you, let’s say, to realize that your online advertisements are actually producing 5x more results for you in a third of the time. Therefore, it’d be better for you to drop those difficult and time consuming clients, and instead, multiply your strengths with what’s working for you now.
Now, apply this principle to your tasks and your business. Consider all your production and all of your time and energy that is spent on each project you have and consider their output and results. Consider all your dollars spent on a certain advertisement or keyword phrase that isn’t performing well, and then take a look at what’s working far better. Essentially, cut out your weaknesses and what’s not working well for you and multiply your key performing strengths. Simple!
3. Motivation, support, accountability
The third key to staying productive is motivation. The initial buzz of a new idea or new project may die down over time. Doubts or apathy may creep in. When this happens, many great ideas see their end and get thrown out. Motivation is what keeps us going through these distractions.
Unfortunately, motivation doesn’t just appear out of thin air. Rather, motivation occurs when you lean on others for support. Whether it’s through an influential speaker, friend, spouse, family member, life coach, or business mentor, these support channels encourage you to keep building yourself up. They encourage you to keep striving to reach your goals.
Another great result due to being tightly connected with your supporting influencers is that you are now held accountable. If you quit, you’re no longer just letting yourself down, you’re letting others down too.
There are two types of motivation. Each encourages and resonates in a unique way from person to person.
1. Positive Motivation
One way to think of motivation is through positive re-enforcement. By rewarding yourself along your path toward your goals, you are encouraged to celebrate the small wins and keep going.
If one hour of watching basketball or one of your favorite shows is precious to you, give yourself that reward after achieving a milestone or step toward your goal. Or celebrate with a meal at your favorite restaurant and treat yourself for your hard work. This type of positive re-enforcement will undoubtedly spur you on toward your goal even further.
2. Negative Motivation
This strategy may not be for you, but this negative re-enforcement is a type of motivation that can be highly effective. Whether it’s the fear of failure or the competitive nature within, this strategy has done wonders for many.
One unique approach to this fear of failure motivation is through an anti-charity. Simply put, an anti-charity is an organization that supports a cause that you do not believe in or one that doesn’t support your values. By supporting an anti-charity, you would donate money or time to them. This is usually the last thing you would want to do for a group of people who represents something that you personally despise. For example, a sports team that you hate the most or an opposing political party. A great resource for setting this type of goal for yourself can be found over at StickK.com.
So, make this commitment to yourself: If you don’t achieve your goal that you’ve set for yourself, you’d then have to donate money or time to a specific anti-charity of your choosing. If you fail in reaching your goal, you will go on record forever for having supported the charity. You might be surprised to see how well this strategy can motivate you!
The trick here is to select an anti-charity that has such a dreadfully awful point of view that you would do anything to avoid supporting them. This will train you to become scrappy and think outside the box to really achieve your goals.
Whether you respond better to positive or negative re-enforcement is up to you, but to find true motivation comes in a variety of ways. Finding the right motivation and support on a daily basis is an incredibly important step to take in order to reach your goals.
What About You?
What kind of tricks do you use to stay productive and focused on your goals? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below! And if you haven’t checked out our article on helping you identifying your SMART goals, check out our guide here!
“Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage, but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal.” Elbert Hubbard