Given my interest in goal-setting and self-improvement, I am a sucker for anyone with articles that sound like they are easily digestible and might trigger some other personal thoughts. Since I use Firefox, and the opening page has popular articles on it that are being shared on Pocket, I frequently find one or two here and there to click on. If they’re about goals, I almost always click.
Today’s feed from Pocket included a reprint/repost of an article from Darius Foroux from September 2018 about which habits you can adopt which will have the highest rate of return for you (10 Small Habits That Have A Huge Return On Life – Darius Foroux). Note that we’re not talking about setting a goal, and deciding which method will get you there, this is about various habits that will get you to ten separate targets where the method is part of the journey itself.
Foroux has a much stronger preference on focusing on the “what” than the “how” and I like his newsletter enough to subscribe to it, although I’m a more recent convert, so I never saw his original article back in 2018. I quite like his list. His list is mostly obvious stuff…work-out regularly (although he is more specific about full-body strength training workout 3x a week), get enough sleep (he argues for a full 7-8h a night), read more (60m a day), walking regularly (30m a day), intermittent fasting, being present, practicing kindness and love, journal/write more often (30m a day), and save regularly (10-30% so it is constant). Overall, it’s a pretty good list, and I don’t disagree that those who do them benefit significantly. Holding yourself to them all is hard, but not impossible, and adding them one at a time is doable.
But for me, the “magic” is in his second habit of how he manages his daily habits:
2. Set 3-4 daily priorities
This is one of the best productivity strategies there is. We all know that focus is what brings us results.
No focus? No results. So how do you focus? By limiting your options and tasks. Elimination is the key.
Be very clear about what you want to achieve every single day, week, and year. Form the habit of focusing on what matters regularly.
Every day, work on 3-4 essential (and small) tasks that will bring you closer to your weekly and yearly goals.
As I said, it’s a great list. Personally I think it should be a mix of 1-2 small goals that are complete by themselves, a step or 2 of a medium-sized goal, and a step towards a large goal. If you’re only focusing on the small goals, it’s easy to let the big stuff get away from you. Crowding out the “important” with the “urgent”, instead of properly prioritizing what big things you’re working towards…which is not to say he’s suggesting that, just that it isn’t as clear in such a short article that there are pitfalls to just saying set 3-4 goals for the day.
A good list, I like it.