- Immediate goal is "Get a first down"
- Second tier goal is "get a touchdown"
- Third level is "win the game"
- Top level goal is "win the season".
And each of those gives you a payoff, an emotional thrill. And the reason that thrill is there is not because there's inherently something satisfying about moving a leather ball ten yards that way, or crossing a little white line on the grass, or seeing numbers on the scoreboard; it's purely because that was your goal. You set a goal, you accomplish it, you get that thrill--and the harder you have to work for it, the more you get it.
And the corollary is that if you don't set goals, you won't get that thrill. At work, someone probably sets those goals for you, but at home, you have to do it yourself. Ever get to a Sunday evening and think "Where did the weekend go?" What did you do for those couple of days? "We just hung out", or more accurately, "Nothing". And the result was, you were bored.
I've been in sales, one form or another, for over twenty four years, and I've heard a lot of sales training. One aspect of sales training is time management, and one of the aphorisms I've heard often is "You make time for what's important." This is a lie. "Quit smoking" is important. "Work out at least three times a week" is important. If you're in sales, "make more sales calls" is important. But people, by and large, don't do these things. This is because you don't do what is important; you do what gives you positive feedback. And not feedback months down the line, when you win the championship or get your annual bonus. You need immediate feedback. Instant gratification works. Get the first down, feel the thrill, do it again.
Sometimes you'll still find yourself thinking "the day is gone, and for what?" I had a day like that yesterday. But write down what you want to accomplish, and then cross through the items as you do them. At the end of the day, you can say "I took out the kayak, I put in the supports, I went out on the water for an hour, I sprayed the plants, I rearranged the closet, I threw out those two pieces of junk. I didn't accomplish everything on the list, but I did pretty good."
Make a list of what you need to do.
Cross them off as you do them.
Simple as that.