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One Small Commitment Can Radically Change Your Productivity

Daily Deltas

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while” – Gretchen Rubin

It’s easy to become obsessed with big objectives, projects, and dreams, and to subsequently become paralyzed with the enormity of the perceived effort required to achieve them.

This is often because we lose sight of one critical element of accomplishing big goals: daily, measured progress. Big deltas (changes) are comprised of a lot of little, daily deltas.

I was speaking yesterday in San Francisco to the local Young President’s Organization, and met a gentleman who has climbed several mountains over the past few years. He was intrigued by a mountain-climbing analogy I used in my talk, and wanted to share his personal experiences. He said that nearly everyone who looks up at the peak of the mountain at the start of the climb has the same thought: “what have I gotten myself into?!? How can I possibly get up there?”

However, he explained that once you are actually on the mountain, an interesting thing happens: you never see the peak until you’re almost there. The only thing you are thinking about is the next step, the next objective, the next stopping point. Those small, measured step goals eventually lead you up the side of the mountain, and ultimately to the peak.

If you obsess upon the ultimate objective, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, and to ultimately give up hope. However, if you instead focus on your daily practices, your daily step goals, and steady, measured progress, you will find those little daily deltas adding up to something meaningful.

So here’s a question to consider: what one, small thing could you do every single day for the next month that would move the needle on a goal or ambition?

No one writes a book, launches a business, or changes an organization’s culture. All of these things are the result of daily commitment to steady, measured progress.

The small deltas are how you ultimately build a body of work you can be proud of.

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8 Comments

  1. Joanne

    So many times we hear the inch by inch . . . it’s a cinch phrase. I think that is a little misleading because a big project usually involve lots of hard work. So, if we ditch the “cinch part ” and take notice of each small measure of progress, or small measured goals as you define it I think It helps to keep up the energy required for the long haul. Thanks for the article. It is always good to be reminded of this process.

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Agreed, Joanne. Doing meaningful work is never a “cinch”. However, as you state, daily measured progress can countermand the paralysis that stems from being overwhelmed.

      Reply
  2. #413Ways

    Hey Todd,
    Please direct me to the designers of your website ASAP. It’s a clean look!

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Thanks! It’s self-designed.

      Reply
      • #413Ways

        thanks for the response!
        From scratch or a template [Did you use Wix or Squarespace?]

        Reply
        • Todd Henry

          Feel free to reach out through the /contact page and I’ll give you more details.

          Reply
  3. Jake Jorgovan

    This is a great article Todd. Since reading your books, I implemented a strategy of waking up every morning and writing for at least 30 minutes before starting my day.

    This small habit of working consistently toward a goal has made monumental change in my life. My blog posts have improved, and I now am almost halfway through a book that I have been putting off writing for far too long.

    Thank you for all the great work you put out and keep it up! It is truly making a difference in peoples lives.

    Reply
    • Todd Henry

      Thanks so much, Jake! Glad you’re finding it helpful.

      Reply

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I'm Todd Henry.

I'm Todd Henry.

I write books, speak internationally on productivity, creativity, leadership, and passion for work, and help people and teams generate brilliant ideas. More

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I write books, speak internationally on productivity, creativity, leadership, and passion for work, and help people and teams generate brilliant ideas.

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