An Easier Way to Get Up an Hour Earlier
This week is all about simplifying your writing business and your life so you can enter 2013 ready to achieve your goals.
One of the best ways to do this is with the principle of Kaizen. It’s a Japanese term that basically means "continuous improvement" or getting just a little better every day.
I first heard about it from online marketing expert Perry Marshall. But lately, it's been popping up everywhere.
As a writer and freelance business owner, Kaizen can be a great way to work on your goals in bite-sized chunks.
Let's use Kaizen in a few real examples so you can see the power of this principle.
Goal: Launching an amazing freelance writer website.
Problem: You needed your website up yesterday and just can't find a huge chunk of time to work on it.
Kaizen Solution: Don't try to build your site overnight. Instead, get the simplest thing you can online. It might just be one very plain page with some contact information.
That's okay. Launch it.
Then over the next few months, improve one tiny part each day or week. Add more content, add some design elements, or get a custom logo made. Make steady progress, and in no time, you’ll have the website you wanted.
Here's another example:
Resolution: You want to get up an hour earlier (say 6:00 a.m.) to work on your writing business before your full-time job.
Problem: Getting up early sounds like a great resolution on New Year’s Eve, but when the alarm goes off, you slap the "snooze" button and promise you'll start getting up early tomorrow … or next week.
Kaizen Solution: Don't try to get up an hour early. Instead, try to get up just 10 or 15 minutes early this week. Say 6:45 a.m. Then next week, get up 15 minutes earlier, 6:30 a.m. The next week, you'll be getting up at 6:15 a.m. and then finally 6:00 a.m.
You're much more likely to hit your goal of getting up early because you won't feel nearly as tired with a gradual change. Of course, if 15 minutes is too much, start with five- or even one-minute increments.
To implement Kaizen in your life, first decide on just three to five goals or resolutions.
Write them down. I use Evernote, but even an index card or sticky note will do.
At the beginning of each week, review your goals and decide what tiny step you'll do that week (or that day) to move your goal forward.
Then put it on your calendar. This step is important. You must schedule your improvement so you'll remember to do it.
Here's how I'm going to apply Kaizen to each of my resolutions this coming year:
Get up every day at 6:00 a.m. I'm going to use the above technique and wake up just 15 minutes earlier every day the first week. Using the principle of Kaizen, I'll increase to 30 minutes the second week and so on.
Exercise 30 minutes per day. Again, I'm going to use the few-minutes-each-day technique and work out just 15 minutes per day at first. Each week, I'll increase it by 5 minutes until I'm up to 30 minutes every day.
Write 1,000 words per day. Starting January 1st, I'm going to write just 300 words per day. The next week, 350 words per day and so on until I get to 1,000 words per day.
So what do you think about Kaizen? Doesn't it make your goals seem easier and more attainable? Join the conversation here.
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