Laura Vanderkam is the author of a book called ‘What the most successful people do before breakfast’. The central premise is that mornings are an under-utilised period when it comes to taking steps towards your goals. The kids are asleep, the heating hasn’t clicked on, the world is quiet and your brain is well rested… therein lies the opportunity.
The most commonly used excuse for not doing something is ‘I don’t have enough time’. Vanderkam argues that this is actually inaccurate and that there is enough time, but the thing you want to do just isn’t being prioritised. For example, say you want to start writing a novel but you relax in the evenings by binge-watching boxsets on Netflix, the time is available but you are choosing not to utilise it in the manner you suggest you want to.
The mornings can be slept away getting the 7th, 8th, 9th hour of sleep or those 2-3 hours can become nearly 1,000 hours of productive time per year working towards your fitness, your business, your education, your relationships… whatever you choose.
To focus yourself and prioritise your time to work on achievable goals, Vanderkam suggests creating three lists relating to relationships, career and leisure, then populating them with 3-5 things you want to have achieved in a year’s time.
Once you have the 3-5 things in each category, then create 3-5 smaller things which would help you achieve them underneath. These will be the line items that you will focus on daily and weekly to build towards the bigger goals (e.g. If “I want to run a marathon” is the big goal, then the secondary tier may be “Join a running club”, “Research training plans and fuelling plans”, “Complete a run every 2nd day”.
The willpower to do something comes much easier when the big thing is represented in bitesized chunks.