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On The Importance of Thinking Small

“Envision your goals.” “Think big.” “Dream!” Such are the refrains we often come across in some motivational lecture, speech, or blurb.

And, there is truth to these ideas. After all, our visions do inform our actions. Our actions, in turn, build our visions.

But I think it is equally important to dream small. Now when I say this, I do not mean we should aim for low accomplishments. And perhaps to some extent I do mean we should consider the smaller steps that build our larger goals.

But more to my point, what I mean is:

Deliberately envision your very next actions, even simple ones.

This may not be something you do with every action. But there are many times where doing this simple act can bring great benefit.

Doing so provides an anchor for focus. It helps us build momentum in the short-term and the day. We minimize distractibility and better find flow.

You may wonder, of what benefit is it to consider something small, to pause and imagine something seemingly inconsequential before doing it?. Or you may recognize that plans, simply the written forms of vision, rarely go the way you ever thought they would. What you envision now, may not even be worth doing down the line. Why bother?

Well, let’s take as an example, a morning routine. Before beginning, imagine moving through each step. This may take a moment to do. When done, begin the work.

As you engage, perhaps you notice something out of place—a piece of napkin on the kitchen floor. It was not in your original vision. You’ll need to adapt. Re-imagining, you may envision a detour of picking up the napkin as you work. Or perhaps you imagine doing so after going through your morning routine.

The important part is the imagining. You imagine both the original work intended and the adaptation. You imagine them both until they become one, a singular new vision.

Moving forward, you become much more likely to accomplish both goals of the morning routine and the momentary clearing of the kitchen without becoming distracted.

It is a simple example. But creating a vision, and then adapting that vision as it goes, particularly at the small scales of life, gives a space for our mind to find flow. And, it is practice for finding larger visions and folding them into life.

The pause for a decision, that first, foremost, and sometimes most difficult exercise of work, is where we envision. When we decide well, aiming for a settled decision about what to do next, we allow thoughts and feelings about that decision to come to mind until new ones no longer do.

As we do so, we envision what the decided work would be. What are its boundaries? What would it entail? What are the steps I know? What do I not know? What can I see about it, as blurry as that currently may be?

These visions create an anchor. They give us a holding and foundation of strength from which to act.

What is Productivity?

Productivity is many things. For some, it is about doing a lot in a little time.
But, truly, productivity is so much more. It is about:

  • Setting yourself up for success.
  • Being focused where you want to be.
  • Doing things that you find meaningful.
  • Being creative, sometimes even in harsh environments.
  • Forging your own paths.
  • Finding your voice and delivering it well.
  • Knowing and actively deciding on your obligations.
  • Knowing where and how to say “no”.
  • Avoiding procrastination.

Too often, many of us fall into just going along with and fighting whatever the world throws at us. “Go with the flow!”, we say. Meanwhile, we might think, “I’d like to do that one thing. Maybe one day I will.” The days go by. The goal never arrives, and then we wonder why or blame circumstance.

But when we learn to take charge of our lives and the world
around us, we start living life with intention.

“I should do that,” becomes “This is how I start”. Deliberately forging a path to our goals and dreams, we figure out what we want in life and then start taking steps there.

Of course, striking out may seem scary. It takes courage to live life with purpose and on purpose. Roadblocks and worries, fears and concerns show up everywhere.

This is my passion. I want to help you to find that sense of your own unique play to meet the world so that you can:

  • Create a life that is yours.
  • Find and follow an inner guide in a way that works for you and those you care for.
  • Decide on your obligations and meet them while building the world you want.

Productivity Journal

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