If you work your butt off but never seem to make progress, the problem may not be your amount of effort. You’re probably working on the wrong stuff.

All too often we spend time on obligations and tasks that we *think* are important but, in fact, are a waste of time.

So, how do we get “unstuck” and finally move toward our goals? Here are our recommendations…

Look Ahead

Looking ahead to a future version of yourself is a practice that we recommend and, in fact, have integrated into the Define My Day journal. Crazy huh?

Look ahead to the end of your life, then ten years from now. Close your eyes and imagine the ideal scenario for each. Who is with you? Where are you? What makes you most happy? What would you most regret not achieving? Are you living in line with those ideal versions of you?

Draw a timeline between these points. What did “10-year you” have to do to get to the final, “ideal” you? Now, what would “10-year you” be doing today? Are you doing that? Why not?

Bucket Your Life

Make three lists, or buckets, on a piece of paper. Label them “priorities”, “to-do’s”, and “distractions”. Think of all of the things you do in a day and categorize them in one of the buckets. Don’t worry about categorizing something wrong, sometimes things jump buckets. We’re building awareness here.

Here’s some help:

  • Priorities move you toward your ideal you.
  • To-do’s are things that need to get done as part of life but don’t move you forward. They may become priorities if they become urgent.
  • Distractions are time-wasters, obligations imposed on us by others, bad habits, and behaviors that hurt our progress.

Remember, none of this is set in stone. Change is life is inevitable, especially when planning our futures.

Schedule “Priority Time”

Now that you have some actions you have identified as priorities, you need to start doing them. No excuses. No distractions. Just do them.


Block off as much time as you can or is necessary. Shut out the world and focus. If you don’t have practice in this, it will suck. You’ll want to turn on the TV  or radio, check your email or Facebook, or find some other garbage reason to distract yourself.

Stop it!

Distraction is the enemy! Fight it!

Value Small Steps

Setting small priorities as milestones for each day, week, and month will take you a long way. Small positive steps produce big results over time.

Many people try to do too much, exhaust themselves, and quit. The time that passes during the quitting phase is hard to recover and the thought of it makes it hard to start again.

Schedule yourself small steps that lead to small victories. Over time, those small wins add up. The cumulative effect will be amazing.

Review Your Day

Journaling seems so lame to people but there is so much value in taking a few moments to put your thoughts to paper at the end of the day.

Take the time to think over your day. Review accomplishments and areas of improvement. Set your intention for the next day before going to bed. You may find it energizes you to wake up like that guy from Jerry McGuire.