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The 6 Smallest Steps to Success

Sometimes you need to step backward to move forward.

Allyson Lewis, 09/22/2011

It is often said that today is all you have.

The word "today" comes from the Old English origin--to dæge--which meant "on (the) day." When you place the word "today" into a business context, you immediately think about the mental or physical activities you decide to accomplish "on" or "during" each specific work day.

The unfortunate part is that without proper planning, you most likely feel completely overwhelmed with the sheer number of important things on your to-do list that you need to complete today. And, as you drive to work each morning you are aware that no matter how many hours you are willing to work today--you will never be able to finish all you need to do.

Psychologically and emotionally, this cycle of never having enough time leads to disappointment and dissatisfaction with your work.

Step Backward to Move Forward
Success is always tied to a bigger picture. But life can become so busy that we forget to look back to understand the power and the scope of what is truly most meaningful in life.

Do you find yourself waking up in the morning and creating some type of "mental checklist" of the tasks you would like to accomplish today, only to find the hours of your day filled with stress as you "react" to the events of the day?

What would happen if instead of constantly being forced to "react" to the circumstances "on (any given single) day"--you took the time to step back and work through the following six steps:

  • Rank Your Personal Priorities
  • Rediscover Your Purpose
  • Understand Your Life Goals
  • Create a Timeline for Your Life
  • Set Written 90-Day Goals
  • Today--"On This Day"--Accomplish 5 High-Value Activities

The 1st Small Step: Rank Your Personal Priorities
The human brain is really a very sophisticated processor. Every millisecond it ranks the importance of the information it is presented with and makes conscious and unconscious choices. I have read that between 90% and 95% of these decisions are at the subconscious or unconscious level. If this is true, you can easily understand the need to prioritize what you want to make sure you pay attention to in life.

Allyson Lewis is the author of The Seven Minute Difference. She speaks about improving time-management, increasing productivity, and rediscovering purpose. Find out more about her new online video training program, The 7 Minute Life System, here. She also has a blog and a Twitter account.

The author is not an employee of Morningstar, Inc. The views expressed in this article are the author's. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Morningstar.

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