20 Minutes Into Your Future

Last post I spoke about working towards your goals with just a few minutes each day. I worked with a client this week who interrupted his comments about his bad employees, bad bosses, bad coworkers, and bad situation with “but it’s fine.” Over and over. And over. I finally got him to do a no-edit brain dump of ways he could change his situation.. He seemed appreciative and ready to take action by the end of the session.


Sometimes it is fine to let a client vent to get to what is important. Coaching is about taking steps forward though, so I don't like to let that go on too long. I like to challenge my coaching clients and others by asking them about something they can do that very day to move closer to what they want. I often get pushback that they don’t have a free minute that day, but will work on it later. You know later, that place where dreams and actions go to die.


Below is the result of my own response to my question. I like to think that I moved 20 minutes into a brighter future, one where I have spent my time wisely and worked towards my goals. I think I came up with some decent, doable ideas. Why don’t you grab one and move yourself 20 minutes into your own future – or let me know your own ideas for having a big impact in a short amount of time.

  1. Cultivate your network -

  2. Share an interesting article on LinkedIn or via email

  3. Reach out to someone to catch up, share what you are working on, and ask them what they are working on

  4. Set up a coffee or lunch date with a friend or colleague

  5. Join a LinkedIn group

  6. Identify In Real Life (IRL) groups you can connect with in your areas of interest

  7. Better yet, arrange your own group – reach out to the most interesting people you know and ask them to meet to talk about the future

  8. Expand your knowledge

  9. Watch a TED talk -- and decide what you can do based on it

  10. Find and read a blog post on something that interests you

  11. Find and download some interesting podcasts to your phone for commuting

  12. Think about your goals and next steps to achieve them -- schedule those steps on your calendar.

  13. Take a 20 minute walk, maybe even invite someone to walk with you.

  14. Change your perspective by sitting in a different chair or in a different location.

  15. Look at everything on your To Do list or calendar -- and see what can be delegated, delayed, or deleted. Then actually do that. Focusing on fewer goals can help you achieve more.

  16. Think about how you will feel when you achieve one of your goals and then find a way to feel that way now. Life is too uncertain to wait to feel good.

  17. Call your mom or your dad if you can.

  18. Declutter something. Apps on your phone, papers on your desk, your silverware drawer. Just like getting good ideas in the shower, you may find that the simplicity of the task gives your brain time to solve a bigger problem.

  19. Brainstorm about a challenge you are facing. Without worrying about money or physics or reality, try to come up with 20 ideas that could help. After you reach 20, look to see if there are any clues to things that you might be able to do. (This is what I call a no-edit brain dump)