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!)