It All Begins With A Vision

2017-11-14-Blog Post.jpg

It’s that time of the year when we begin thinking about what we want to achieve next year. It’s a great time of year, filled with hope, excitement and ambition. The problem is most people will fail and achieve nothing next year. Sure, they will set some goals, they will develop some ‘I would like to…’ objectives and then by the second week of January will have forgotten what it was they really wanted to achieve.

The reason for this fail-rate is most people begin in the wrong place. If you want to set goals that are achievable, you need to begin with your vision. The vision you have about what you will be doing in twelve months time. Your relationships, your work, your hobbies and interests, your lifestyle. Everything must be included. It takes time, it can be a lot of fun and it should excite you. If you are doing it because you think you ‘should’ do it, then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. You need to be determined to make the changes and be prepared to take the necessary action to make it all happen.

To achieve goals, your goals need to reflect the person you want to become, the way you want to live your life and the things you want to be doing. Once you have established those things, only then will you be ready to start creating goals. Your life vision is not going to be achieved in twelve months. It takes a lifetime to create an amazing life, but each new year represents a large stepping stone towards achieving that life. When you break things down into easily achievable chunks you will find you are creating a special life for yourself. Step by step, each year taking you towards the vision you have for yourself and your family. It’s a journey, and it will be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding journeys you go on.

This is why if you have never sat down to think about the way you want to live your life, now would be a good time to do so. Make sure your vision mirrors the vision of your spouse or life partner. If your spouse or life partner’s vision is different from yours, then you are either heading towards a breakup or you are not going to achieve your vision. Neither of which is good.

It is not easy to develop your life vision as most people find deciding what they want in the future difficult. We see so many things we want, yet we can’t have everything. I find it is easier to begin with things like the kind of work you want to be doing in twenty years time, where you want to be living, what you will be doing in your free time etc. These are great questions to start with. They can be the spark that puts you in the right frame of mind to come up with your real desires and aspirations.

I have always found the question about what work you want to be doing, how and where you will be working are the best places to start. From there you can imagine where you will be living. What will your home look like and what kind of car will you be driving.

This does not have to be radically different from what you have now. You may be very happy with your career, your lifestyle and your relationships. But there are always things you want to change or improve. It could be your diet, or you want to become more active or you may even want to dress better every day. No matter what it is you want to change or achieve, you do need to begin with your vision of how things will be once you have made that change. It is from that vision that great things grow.

Your vision will allow you to work out what it is you have to do to make that change happen. If you imagine yourself in December 2018 going out for a 5KM run after work every day, that can be translated into a goal of going out for a thirty to forty minute walk every evening after work. Then, as time goes by, you gradually move towards walk/jog for thirty to forty minutes and finally, you will find yourself running. Because you set the goal to go and do something active every evening after work, you will develop the habit of being active after work every day and within a few months, you will be running your 5KM every evening.

If you have the vision of managing your own department in December 2018, you need to arrange to have a meeting with your boss or your HR department to talk with them about what you need to be doing to achieve that position. By talking with your boss or HR department now, you are notifying them that you want to move up in your career and they will tell you what you need to do to achieve that position. Once you know that, you can set about doing what needs to be done to make it happen.

So, whatever it is you want to have achieved by December 2018, you need to be visioning now. Really understanding every aspect of what it will be like once you have achieved that goal. Then work backwards to where you are today and build your goals around that. It does all begin with your vision.


Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit the like button below. 👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My goal is to help show you how to live the life you desire. To help you find happiness and become better organised and more productive so you can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, you can visit my website or you can say hello on TwitterYouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Goal Planning For An Outstanding Life.

One of the reasons so many people fail to achieve their goals is they do not plan out their goals properly. To plan out your goals you need to be very clear about what it is you want to achieve, why you want to achieve those goals and how you are going to achieve those goals. The basic “what, why and how” system. To decide these goals is not difficult, but it does take time to really plan them out so you are left with a clear vision of what you want, why you want it and how you are going to do something every day that will take you closer to achieving those goals.

The cornerstone of achieving goals is the daily action you take that will bring you closer to a successfully achieved goal. Too often, people know what they want to achieve, but do not really know why they want to achieve it or how they are going to turn that desire into daily action. If you want to lose weight, the question you should ask is “why?” Is it because you are tired of carrying around excess weight? Or is it something more emotional such as you are embarrassed about being fat? Honesty about why you are doing something is very important.

Being very clear about what want to achieve is vital. Just saying “My goal is to lose weight”is not going to work. Firstly, you are not being specific enough about how much weight you want to lose. Not eating lunch for a day would likely result in some weight loss. But that is probably not what you mean. So writing out your goal as “I will lose 5KG by the end of June this year” is much more specific and has an finish line (end of June).

You also need to be very clear about why you want to achieve this. If you do not know why you want to lose weight then when you come up against the first obstacle, you are going to fail. So, a goal that says something like: “I want to lose 5kg by the end of June because I want to look fantastic at my brother’s wedding” now has a specific goal and a specific purpose. It is very clear what you want to do and why you want to do it.

The final part of making strong, achievable goals is to list out the things you will need to do every day to make it happen. The lose weight goal may start off with a task like “research best diets for weight loss for busy professional office workers” A daily task written out like this means it is clear what you want to find out and means you have very little thinking to do when it comes to the time you sit down to do the research.

Further down the line you may have a task such as “Walk 5km today” or “do not put any sugar in my coffee today”. The great thing about these kind of goals is you can play around with different tasks so you do not get bored and you can experiment which activities get the best results.

The “what, why, how” method is basically the same method Tony Robbins uses for his RPM (Results, Purpose, Map) method and David Allen uses for the Natural Planning Method. Both systems essentially follow the “what, why, how” questions. The following will give you are run down of what you need to do for each question:


What end result do you want? You really need to very clear about this and it needs to be something you can close your eyes and visualise achieving. Writing out in a clear sentence or two what it is, and what it will be like once you have achieved it really helps you to visualise it. For example: I will start my own business selling purple inflatable frogs to children stores all over the country and it will earn me $1 million over the next three years. This will allow me to expand the business to other countries so I create a company that gives children pleasure and fun in as many countries as possible.

This goal is very specific, very clear and has a time line to follow.


Why are doing this? Try as much as possible to attach this to an emotion. With the example above you may want to do this so you can see the happiness in the children’s eyes when they play with the purple inflatable frogs you create. It could also be something like I want to provide a safe and secure future for my family and myself. Or it could be “to prove to myself I can build a successful company from an idea I created

These whys need to be truthful. Writing out your whys untruthfully means you are lying to yourself. You won’t achieve anything that way and you will fail at the first difficulty you experience.


How are you going to achieve this goal? What action steps do you need to take to make it happen? This list could take some time to develop, and you may end up with a lot of tasks written out. That’s perfectly okay. You can organise these tasks and actions into related categories at a later date. The important thing is you brainstorm all the steps, actions and tasks you need to do to make the goal happen. Something like “sketch out design for purple inflatable frog” is a task, an important task. It might take a lot of sketches to finally come up with a design you are happy with. You may need to ask a designer to sketch out your ideas more professionally later, that would be another task.

Once you have all these actions and tasks written down, take a look at the list and see what things you can be doing every week, or even better, every day to take you closer towards that goal. For example you may have a task that needs you to save $5,000 to employ a designer to prepare all your drawings. In that case you could set aside $100.00 per week into a separate bank account. After fifty weeks you will have your $5,000. That is less than one year!

The final step is to take these actions and populate your todo list manager so they are on your daily todo list and this means you are actively doing something about the goal every day.

To do this takes time, it involves a lot of thinking, but it is important if you truly want to achieve your goals year after year.

Here’s a sample worksheet you can use to help you work through your goals. You can set up your own in a spreadsheet or just simply copy the blank sheet I have attached.


Good luck and be productive!

I have an online course designed to take you through the process of creating your goals and achieving your goals. You can enrol right here 😃

Carl Pullein is the author of Working With Todoist: The Book, as well as Your Digital Life, a book about using your technology to achieve greater productivity. Carl also works with clients all over the world to help them focus on the things that are important to them and to become more productive and creative.

Amazon iBooks | Website

Activity Is Not Accomplishment.

I have spent many years using some kind of todo list to manage my tasks, projects and time. Being able to see what I have to do on a list is both satisfying and helpful, as it has always given me a view of what needs to be done on any given day.

However, I have discovered there are todo lists and then there are great todo lists. Normal todo lists help you to get things done and contribute towards your feeling of busyness and stress. Great todo lists help you to move your life forward in achieving your life goals, help you feel in complete control of what is important in your life and give you an overall sense of real accomplishment.

Normal todo lists are simply lists of all the things you have identified that need to be done. These could be things like reply to email, prepare the monthly purchase list or buy dog food on the way home. Great todo lists are different. Of course they still contain the things you have to do for that day, but they also focus on an additional component that normal todo lists ignore and that is the things you want to achieve in your life, both professionally and personally. This is why simply having a single list of tasks that you add to when a new task comes in and cross off once a task has been completed is only half the story.

Turning your todo list into a list that helps you accomplish great things is easy to do. All you need do is identify three things you could do that day that would have a significant impact on your overall life goals. They do not have to be huge things either. They could be simple tasks that move you forward towards something bigger than just maintaining your life where it is right now.

For example. If one of your life goals is to write a book, then sitting down at some point in the day and writing out a character sketch of one of the characters you would like in your book would move you closer to writing a book. This type of task might only take twenty minutes, but it does take you closer towards the goal of writing the book you have always wanted to write. You might have a task to go for a thirty minute walk at lunch time, this would take you a little bit closer to losing the 5KG you have planned to lose this year. It is these little tasks that soon build up into something significant in your life.

Of course, to do this you need to have identified what is important to you in your life and what you really want to accomplish. Not knowing what you want out of life is like embarking on a journey not knowing where you want to go. While the adventure might be exciting, there is always a fifty fifty chance you will be disappointed with the destination. It is far better to have a clear idea of where you want to go, and to have a reasonably good idea of how you are going to get there. The journey is just as exciting.

To identify what is important, you need to take some time to find out. I also know as time passes our dreams and goals change and something we identified as a goal last year, may no longer be that important to us today. This is fine. Indeed, this is perfectly normal. Our goals, aspirations and dreams will change as we gain more experience in life. They change when we get married, they change when we have children and they often change when we change jobs. Change is an inevitability of life.

Once you have identified what is really important to you, then you should spend a few minutes at the end of the day to flag the three things you can do tomorrow that will take you a little closer to achieving that goal or dream. Something as simple as putting $10.00 in your savings account would take you a little closer to buying the Jaguar F Type you dream of owning, or Setting aside one hour at the end of the day to spend with your daughter would give you some of that quality time you keep promising you would have with your daughter.

Too often we confuse ticking off a lot of tasks on a todo list with accomplishment. But the truth is if those tasks do not move you closer to your goals and dreams then you are not accomplishing very much at all. These tasks might help you keep your life where it is right now, but I am sure you want far more from your life than to stay where you are right now. To change that, make sure each day you have at least two or three things on your list that are flagged and drive you towards your goals and dreams. Doing this means you are accomplishing significant things every single day and before long you have what you want out of life. Writing 500 words every day for your book means you will have written a 60,000 word novel in a little over four months. Not bad at all I am sure you will agree.

You can test this out this week. What is on your mind you want to change about you? Now add a task each day to your task list that takes you closer to that change. Doing a simple task each day for a whole week would take you significantly closer to the outcome you desire. This could be something like repairing a damaged friendship. You could start with texting an apology and asking if you could talk. Making that first contact could change everything. If it does not, you could try something else. Or it could be doing some online research into a Masters degree course you would like to take. Finding out which universities do the course and whether or not they offer a correspondence course. All these little things take you closer to your desired outcome.

I believe anything is possible if we put our mind to it and do something that takes us towards that outcome every day. You just need to identify what that something is and make sure it is on your daily todo list and is flagged.

Set aside some time this week to have a think about your long term goals and see what you can do each day that will bring those goals closer to achievement. This is a far better way of using a todo list than the regular way most people use their todo lists. Lists of stuff they have to do just to stay where they are today.

Start turning your activity into accomplishment.

RELATED POST: The Benefits Of Routine Folders

Carl Pullein is the author of Working With Todoist: The Book, as well as Your Digital Life, a book about using your technology to achieve greater productivity. Carl also works with clients all over the world to help them focus on the things that are important to them and to become more productive and creative.

Amazon iBooks | Website

What To Do When Your Regular Routines Are Disrupted.

Last week I attended a week-long workshop as the resident communications ‘expert’ and I knew my regular routine work was going to be completely turned upside down. In preparation for the workshop, I spent some time thinking about what I was not going to be able to do in my usual work, and what tasks had to be done come-what-may as part of my regular work. It was an eye-opening experience because when I usually do workshops it is for one day, or two at the most, and I am still able to get my regular daily routine tasks done without any serious interruption.

So, here’s what I did, and here’s what you can do if this ever happens to you:

1. Prepare the ground.

Go through your routines folder in your todo list and have a look at what things you will not be able to do that week. One of my daily tasks, for instance, is to confirm classes each day. Obviously as I was away doing a workshop I was not going to be doing those classes, so I was able to check off these until the following week. In this case, all I needed to do was check “complete” 5 times and this took the next due date to the following Monday. I was able to do this with five or six daily tasks and about the same number of weekly tasks. This avoided the situation where I had a lot of tasks on my daily todo list, that were not relevant for that day.

2. Get as many tasks done before you go

The workshop coincided with the end of the month which meant I would have a few routine month end tasks to complete during the workshop. Instead, I did these tasks a few days before the end of the month so I only had to email reports and month end invoices on their due dates. This meant I did not spend any time during the workshop worrying about the things I needed to do, as all I had to do was send the email. The hard work had already been done.

3. Do a Mini-Review each evening before you retire.

During the course I was collecting ideas and commitments as normal. I realised if I did not process these regularly, I would have a huge list of items waiting for me in my inbox at the end of the week. So, I spent twenty minutes or so each evening before retiring processing these items and also checking to make sure nothing was forgotten or hiding somewhere that needed doing. This made sure I was always stress-free and not worrying about missing anything.

Whenever you go away on a workshop or even on holiday you do not want the experience spoilt by worrying about what you are not doing. As an organised person, you want to be free from stress and to be able to enjoy the event. Taking a little time before you go to make sure you are on top of everything and that any tasks that can be put off until you return are put of so they are not going to be popping up on your daily todo list causing you to rush around trying to find time to do them. You need to be relaxed and open to learning new things. As David Allen says “In order to feel comfortable with whatever you’re doing, you need to feel OK with what you’re not doing”.

Hopefully these three steps will help you to get the most out of these events.

Being Aware And Planning Ahead

Many of the productivity problems we find ourselves in, are caused by not taking a few minutes each evening to have a look ahead and see what's coming up. While we can get a good idea of what's coming up when we do our weekly review, as the week progresses things change, appointments get made, adjusted or cancelled and suddenly you are faced with an overloaded week that you didn't see coming. 

To avoid this from happening, it is a good idea to make it a daily routine to check your calendar and todo list at the end of the day to see what has changed and if anything needs bringing forward or pushing back. This way you can rearrange some of your scheduled todos and appointments if you think that you need to create more space and time in your day. A lot of productivity advice revolves around having a fixed mindset and a set routine for doing things, when to be at your most productive having a flexible mindset is a far more effective method.  

An example of this happening is if I have a class cancellation. I always have either my iPad or laptop with me. If I get a cancellation I know I can take advantage of the free time the cancelled class has given me to bring forward some writing time. Usually, I schedule my writing time for either early in the morning or in the evening. Cancelled appointments allow me the time to get on with some writing. This then frees up my evening for other things I might be in the mood for. 

this happened to me last week. A lot of scheduled appointments for Monday and Tuesday got pushed to the end of the week, leaving Thursday looking like a day of chaos and stress. Fortunately for me, Tuesday and Wednesday were quiet days and so I brought forward some scheduled work from Thursday and Friday to Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving me with only meetings and classes to focus on on Thursday and Friday. Had I not seen what was happening, I would have had a terrible day Thursday and this would have effected my energy levels for Friday as well. 

Being aware of what's coming up also helps you to mentally prepare for the busy days. Knowing that I had little admin work to do on Thursday evening gave me a much more positive frame of mind for Thursday morning which led to more energy throughout the day. I knew that all I had to focus on was my classes and meetings. All 'paperwork' that needed to be done had been done. It was a very liberating feeling.