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Phone Free Fifty

I’m trying an experiment. Phone-Free-Fifty. I’m a bit addicted to my phone and notice that I reach for it a LOT when I’m trying to do deep work (the work that’s hard and requires focus and concentration).

Setting Phone-Free-Fifty up is easy. I just set my timer for 50 minutes and hide my phone in my bag and hide my bag in the cupboard. That way I can hear the alarm but not absent-mindedly reach for my phone up during deep work lock down.

Doing Phone-Free-Fifty is hard! I’ve noticed how often I search for a distraction (phone) when the work I’m doing hurts my brain.

But it’s good training!

I heard someone explain that when we keep switching to the “novel” (quick check of Insta, etc) we actually weaken our ability to focus. It’s like “focus” is a muscle and the less we use it the weaker it gets*

So Phone-Free-Fifty works in two ways: it creates a focussed fifty minutes for deep work, plus it exercises our “focus muscle”

You can do Phone-Free-Any-Number-Of-Minutes, but I need a break every fifty minutes no matter what I’m doing, so 50 minutes suits me. Plus Phone-Free-Fifty had a nice ring to it. Hehe.

*Apparently flicking through Facebook while waiting in the aisle of the supermarket also weakens our “focus muscle”, so if you want to get really good at focussing practise not doing that too!

The Pencil

(Before this post, it’s best to read the 100 Day Goal How to Guide )

Here’s an idea which I think will help you work out what your Microactions are.

Remember, Microactions are the small (very small) tasks you do which lead you to your goal. Sometimes it feels a bit debatable whether something is a Microaction or not. And while I don’t want to be dictatorial about what constitutes a Microaction, it’s important to get this right. Really important. Because if you get it wrong, and spend your 100 Days just doing “Motion” you won’t reach your goal.

Action are tasks that directly lead to you achieving your goal. Motion is all the other stuff.

 

It might help you to do this:

Think of your tasks like a Pencil.

Motion is the barrel of the pencil. You hold on to it, it gives you stability, it’s useful; but it doesn’t actually make a mark.

Action is the sharpened bit, the cone. It’s either holding the lead or is the lead. It’s either making a mark or directly holding the thing that’s making a mark.

 

You know how there are two parts of the cone? The pencil and the lead.  And how, if the lead falls out, you’re left scratching around with the blunty bit? Well there are also two types of Microaction: Pointy ones and Blunt ones.

Pointy Microactions move your directly towards your goal.

Blunt Microactions are one step behind the Pointy Microaction. They don’t make a mark themselves but they are crucial to it happening.

(And while we’re here: Motion are the tasks that are many, many steps behind the Pointy ones – and, often, don’t lead to the point at all)

 

When you’re making your big Master Microaction List (see the Guide) , think about whether a Microaction is a Pointy one or a Blunt one. Mark them with a “P” or a “B”on your list and see how many “P’s” you have to “B’s”.

“P’s” tend to feel harder than “B’s” and sometimes we avoid doing them. It’s a good idea to tally up how many “P’s” you’ve done in a week to check you are doing enough.  If you only ever do the “B’s” you’ll feel very frustrated that your hard work isn’t getting you anywhere. But that’s because you’re trying to write with a blunt pencil.

Here’s an example from a small business. It follows the Paths, Project, Question method of finding Microactions. The Goal is to increase sales. The Path is to sell a new product to existing customers,. The Project is to contact existing customers about the new product. You can see the Questions and the Microactions. The far column I’ve popped “P” or “B”. So there are four Blunt Microactions and one Pointy one. Can you see how pointless (see what I did there?!)  the Blunt ones would be without the Pointy one at the end.

 

That’s almost it on Microactions, but a last tip to help you navigate past the Motion tasks.  Examples of Motion are things like taking a course, reading a book on sales, tidying your desk…..and also all the stuff that you do ANYWAY. The 100 Day Goal is about the NEW things you do to reach your goal. You might need to do lots of Motion but it’s not included in your one little “Microaction’ for the day.

Hope that helps you a little more with your Microactions. Now you just need to do at least one every day! And if you’re finding that hard take you look at the BOOST, Journal and Motivation Kit, all of which I designed to help you through the trickyness of every day (it’s not easy, I know!)

The Messy Middle

The first twenty days of the 100 Day Goal are exciting and adventurous. The last twenty days are easy because we’re on the home straight. But the middle sixty? The bunch of days we’re starting today? They can feel HARD!
Hard because the excitement of starting something new has gone, hard because there are still 80 more days to go, hard because we’ve done all our easy Microactions, but most of all, hard because our motivation has gone.


Aargh!
Where did our motivation go?

Well motivation didn’t “go” anywhere, it just doesn’t last. And that’s a fact. A biological, neurological and psychological fact! So don’t beat yourself up for not feeling motivated. You’re not weird, you’re normal! Motivation is a brain process which needs to be triggered daily to keep going.

By the magic of the 100 Day Goal you’ve actually been subconsciously triggering the motivation process, but around Day 20 that peters out (all weird but true).

So how do you start triggers again?

If you’ve got the Motivation Kit absolutely everything you need is in there. Start with a quick read of how Motivation works (this is such an eye opener) and then begin the Recipes. I’d kick off with the Mighty Motivators , especially if you’re feeling a bit flat – and then get building your Daily Motivation Routine.
The big thing you need to know is that the messy middle doesn’t have to be hard – fix your motivation and you’ll power through it!

(If you’ve not got the Motivation Kit you can get it here.)