One of the most frustrating aspects of the productivity and organisation tips out there is that they often focus on doing more; on new habits to begin or things to try out on top of your current responsibilities.
But if we’re seeking support for getting more done or being faster, I don’t want another thing to add to my to-do list. So instead of adding more, I focus on the things I have been doing already; on noticing.
Switching Your Focus
Because baby steps add up, and every day, we’re likely taking steps towards our goals. If our goal is weight loss, we are likely trying to exercise more and eat healthier. This means any day we might go for a walk or prepare a specifically healthy meal.
Since I tend to take little steps towards these goals anyway, I like to give myself credit for any progress I make.
Do Baby Steps Actually Work?
Yes. I’ve seen the progress in my life.
So, if I look over a monthly spread in my journal, here are the habits I comment on:
- Healthy Food
- Day Job
And I make progress on them all, every month. And it takes me between 2.5 minutes a day and 45 minutes a day. So we’re not talking anything insane.
Patterns and Noticing
There’s a reason I talk so much about patterns, because I’m using then to shape my future plans. I usually keep to five small steps a day, and that includes day-job on a weekday.
The main thing I want you to think about is actually reflecting on each step you are already taking, because so many of our habits are just part of our routine, just things we need to do and don’t think about. How are you spending those little chunks of time?
Half the nature is actually logging what we do. When I planned my ‘goals to aim for this month’, I only planned to exercise, write and meditate. That’s it.
However, I need to cook dinner. So if I cook healthy food, offer try a new recipe, I give myself a little star of credit for that extra effort and achievement.
So half of progress isn’t planning more, doing loads, it’s recognising every step for what it’s worth, for the fact it actually counts. It’s tracking your steps.
What You Already Do
What actions do you take but perhaps not pay attention to?
In the years I wrote 150,000 words of new fiction, I may write only 3-4 words per day, and go a week without writing, then do a day of 2000 words. But I count every word and every day.
It keeps the momentum going, and what we are aware of, we can give attention to. Very few things grow our progress or expand without some kind of attention or energy. It’s why systems work so well.
If you feel you’re not making progress, write down how you’re spending your time. Begin noticing the achievements you’re making.
It all counts.