Practices that move us from intention to accomplishment are mostly to do with overcoming procrastination, short attention span, and the inability to trust yourself to keep your word. Using different components, practices in this area focus on how to make a realistic plan, break it down into small doable parts, utilize peer support, and finally to get things done in a way that brings a project to completion. They allow you to take a strong creative impulse, an idea that is already humming, and to ground it in something that becomes visible, tangible, and that can be shared with other people.
The movement here begins with an intention and ends with accomplishment.
You can do many of the practices described in the book to get creative flow going on your own. You don’t need other people to sit on a meditation cushion with you, or to be sensitive to what is happening within your own consciousness. Practices to move from intention to accomplishment, on the other hand, benefit from having other people involved. Collaboration, mentoring, and feedback all help. This is the area where coaching can make the biggest difference.
Once again, there is the danger in this phase of the cycle of a practice being too weak or too strong. Weak practices here would mean setting objectives and goals which are so easy to accomplish that they feel meaningless. For example, if you committed today to put a stamp on a letter, and put the letter in the mailbox, you could probably easily be successful, but it would not feel like much of a triumph. On the other hand, if we make commitments and plans that are too big, we end up not completing them within the timeframe we set, and then we feel a sense of failure. That can become a rut: not getting things done today as planned makes it even more likely that you will not get them done tomorrow. The ideal balance is to have a plan each day that you can realistically execute by the end of the day, and at the same time feel that you have achieved something significant. For many people, this would mean setting up achievable goals that take two or three hours to complete when you have an eight-hour day available. (Much of your day will also be spent in handling things that were unexpected).
When we explore this set of practices, we frequently refer to whether they are “directly aligned with your mission and purpose.” Of course, not everybody has a strong sense of what their mission and purpose is. Getting clarity about this is a big part of what can happen with a good coach.
Sample Practice to Move from Intention to Accomplishment: LIST 5 THINGS
This is probably the simplest and most powerful practice in this phase of the cycle. In the morning, after you have finished your creative practices, write down five things to accomplish today. There needs to be a balance. Some of these may be things you have to do to avert catastrophe: like filing your income tax on time, gassing up the car, or going to the dentist when you have a cavity. A lot of life is about maintenance. I would wish for you that at least one of these items falls in the category of taking care of yourself, like receiving a massage, taking a walk with a friend, or researching something you find interesting.
At least two of the five should be connected to your sense of life purpose: they should directly move forward the gift you have to give to the world. For me, this would mean two of my items might include writing or editing a chapter for a book, doing an interview, conducting a seminar for an online course, or coaching a client. A well-lived life would include at least two such items, and hopefully more.
At the end of the day, after you finish working but before you go to sleep, look back at the list and check off how many you completed. If you initiate only one practice for this phase of the cycle, this should be the one.
You just read an excerpt from my latest book, Radical Brilliance! If you like what you just read, and want to explore these themes more deeply, you can read more excerpts of the book on my website, or grab a copy for yourself here.
Once you purchase the book, you’ll also gain access to a detailed list of 26 other practices to overcome procrastination, develop self-trust and move from Flow to Productivity.