Most people don't balance their short term actions with their long term goals. Big results have to be achieved quickly. If not they move their attention to the next shiny technique or product. All in the hope it will bring them results faster and easier.
Right now, you've found the last idea you will need to create balance in your actions and dreams.
Today, I would like to help you connect your long term vision to your daily actions. We will use our familiar mind map for explaining this, and I will introduce a concept I call "The Rule of 1000". Let's go!
Please note: This is not your typical mind map information. You will not find information on "how to mind map". We unleash the mind map right now.
You Live In A Mind Map
Well... your life is like a mind map 🙂 Imagine yourself being the center of the map. You take actions. These actions create branches.
For instance, when you decide to exercise, you are building part of the "health" branch of your life. The moment you stop exercising and you sit down to work, with a bowl of candy... you build the branch called comfort for instance. At the same time, you are undoing the work on the health branch!
Many people act this "less than optimal" most of the time. They destroy the work they do in one branch by doing something else in a different branch.
Since they are destroying and building all the time, they are getting nowhere.
Imagine your own life in a mind map. Use the sample map below if you like. Are you guilty of this kind of unfortunate behavior as well?
Understand what you want to achieve in the future. When you know what you want you can find your daily actions or tasks. This list of actions helps you to take the appropriate steps in the present. Also, you are able to see what you have to unlearn or remove from your life.
Now that we talked about the things we do, we will add a time scale to your map. I use the Rule of 1000 for this. Here it is:...
Long Term Goals and The Rule of 1000
The Rule of 1000 uses time periods of 1000. For instance, 1000 seconds, 1000 days, or 1000 months.
Here is an overview of the different times and how long they are in 'normal' time.
- 1000 months - your life = 83 years and 4 months
- 1000 weeks - very long term = 19 years
- 1000 days - long term = 2 years and 8 months
- 1000 hours - middle term = 42 days
- 1000 minutes - a waking day = 16.7 hours
- 1000 seconds - a task to do right now = 16.7 minutes
Remember, most people underestimate what they can do in the long term. They usually overestimate how much they can do in the short term.
Example: Today, I can write a 1000 word article, memorize 100 foreign words, read 50 pages, coach 2 clients and take care of the dishes and dinner...
Well... I think it could be possible, but it is a lot tougher doing this today than getting a degree in psychology in the next 6 years...
Let's simplify things. Let's work our way back from the future toward today.
Most people can achieve almost anything they put their mind to for a long period of time. Don't think about life as being a sprint. Make it an ultramarathon. One that you are build for!
Think back at your own life 10 or 20 years ago. Did you have an idea about learning something or building a skill?
I know I wanted to learn a new language. But life and procrastination stopped me from doing it. If I hadn't done that, I would be fluent in not that one language, but in at least another one as well!
Think about it... 20 years, memorizing just one word per day, adds up to over 7,000 words in 20 years!
As you can see, habits can be your friend! But do know that it is a friend who wants something back! A habit means you commit to something. If you don't commit to something, life will let you work on basically anything that comes across your path...
So, without further ado... here we go in connecting you, your personal mind map and your long term goals.
Building your personal daily actions list
When you are reading this, working on the life long project for the next 83 years might be a little bit too much. You may have something that excites you for the next 30 to 50 years. Write that down. This is your life goal.
Here's a business or academic example: Receive a Nobel Prize in Literature
This goal is outside our current mind map. It is not yet achieved. But... it is waiting for us in the future. Now we move back towards the present.
Next step is breaking this huge goal up in a couple of very long term milestones. You could also call them opportunities to achieve your life long goal. They are not set in stone. They are opportunities to achieve the bigger goal.
- Write 5 bestsellers
- Write 5 books that have world wide impact
- Build an organization dedicated to helping people who XYZ
These 3 steps can help you achieve your life goal in the next 3 times 19 years (3 periods of 1000 weeks).
All three of the 1000 week goals may be needed to achieve the life long goal. I added them in the way they may be the easiest to achieve. You probably won't achieve them all at the same time.
For the long term (1000 days) you break your very long term goals up into a couple of achievements.
I often break them up in about 10 steps. I know you can fit over 20 times 42 days (1000 hours) in almost 3 years (1000 days). The exact number is not the most important thing. What is important is that you think about the steps you have to complete to achieve your long term goal.
Here are some examples:
- Find my writing niche
- Learn all about writing the best way possible
- Write, write, write
- Earn enough money to support my writing career
- Write my first best seller
- Promotion of my work
Look at the list. What you usually find is that there are a couple of fundamental actions you should be doing on a daily basis.
For our example, the daily actions would be:
- Write on a daily basis (at least 1000 words)
- Connect with my readers to receive feedback
- Connect with 1 writer, publisher, media
- Read 20 pages daily
I connect the daily actions to my personal mind map. They are things I can control. The free floating items, goals, and opportunities are not yet realized and are waiting for me.
During the day, I commit as many 1000 second time slots as needed to work on my daily actions. Just 1000 seconds to write 1000 words, or connect with people, or to read 20 pages (probably 2 or 3 times 1000 seconds 🙂 ).
Note that this is a numbers game. Writing 1000 words per day results in 360,000+ words per year (3 to 4 books written per year). But also 360+ reader interactions and 360 community relationships! Even reading almost 40 books a year!
One relationship a day may not look like that much to achieve, but it adds up over the long term. You are connecting to 1000 other writers, agencies, publishers, and media. Also you connect with over 1000 fans to connect with ,in 1000 days (less than 3 years).
I know that as a writer it would be great to have a fan base of 1000 loyal fans. Just read the 1000 true fans piece by Kevin Kelly.
When these 1000 fans support you, you are a full-time writer (check part of the goals we are working on in the example)! All by just applying simple daily actions on a "Rule of 1000" timescale.
Here is a simple layout of a map you can use to create your own 1000 map:
- Each added layer in the map shows a longer period of time
- The more you advance the bigger your personal map becomes
- Your personal map reflects what you do and what you achieved!
- Your daily actions result DIRECTLY in your life long project achievement
- Daily actions are likely to change depending on your goals
- Small daily numbers add up to big numbers
- Positive actions support your goals, negative actions keep you away from them
- You may have to do 3x more positive actions to outweigh a negative action
The Rule of 1000 is working in your life all the time. Even if you don't want to acknowledge it! Daily actions determine your future and help you achieve your long time goals
Would you like to have one last and simple example of this? Here we go:
How is last Monday different from the Monday before, or a regular Monday last year? If there is no real difference (be honest...!) you are likely trapped between positive and negative actions.
Reduce your negative actions and your life will change. All it takes is the next 1000 seconds!
The most important things you have to get from this are:
- Changes are possible with you focus on persistent daily growth
- You are likely to mess things up. Be prepared to remove negative actions to grow faster
- Every Big Goal is waiting to be achieved in a few steps of 1000 minutes, hours, days or weeks. What is your goal?
Here is the final personal map after you achieved your goal:
How will you use the Rule of 1000 in your own life?
I know all of this may sound a little different from your normal way of looking at time and task management and managing your long term goals. Have a go with it. Let me know if you have questions.