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What's the next thing?

I start each year by defining what I want to achieve by the end of the year. And this year is no different.

In doing this last year, one of the most effective things that help me was to concretely define the immediate next action that I can take for each of the goals I had set for myself.

For instance, if the goal is to increase my presence and influence in the wider Product community by the end of the year, then the immediate next step is to determine the kind of activities that will help me do this. These could be writing for product management publications, appearing on podcasts, speaking at conferences, etc.

Once I complete the first step of identifying such activities, then each of those will have their own immediate next steps. In order to write for product publications, the immediate next step may be to list out all such publications I'd like to write for and research how they accept articles. Similarly, doing the equivalent for podcasts and conferences.

The trick is to identify the immediate next step at such a level of granularity that the task can fit into any day's to-do list. That is, it should take no longer than an hour or two to complete it.

And the other side of that trick is to ensure we always have such a task defined for each of our goals and are constantly adding these to our to-do lists and completing them.

This is the surest way to make swift progress.

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