Advice — For growing up.

Travis Dykes
5 min readDec 13, 2019
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Part of maturing and growing up is taking responsibility for yourself and your actions. The best thing you can do is to develop more self-discipline. Here’s what I’ve learned over the past few years.

  • Tiny Decisions Matter
  • Being Results-Oriented
  • Examine The Process
  • Small Wins Drive Big Wins

Little Decisions Matter

It’s Saturday morning, as dawn starts to break into your room. You fight to stay asleep but got to use the bathroom. As you roll out of bed, the dog needs to go out. After you let out the dog.

There it is — your first tiny decision.

Do you stay up or go back to bed?

If you choose to stay up, what will you do? Do you make coffee? Do you turn on the console, fire up Youtube, open Medium? Maybe you exercise, or start writing?

Selecting more sleep doesn’t help you feel rested. Choosing to do an activity will help you feel accomplished.

It feels good. It feels right.

You only have so much self-discipline or mental capacity per day, and studies show that it diminishes throughout the day.

That Saturday, I left to go to a cycling class for an hour, grab some food after, and since I worked in the yard. When I took a break, I thought of this article.

Your tiny decisions matter over time. They add up. They do more than add up.

They compound.

If we realize how much time we are wasting and how much we could be devoting to accomplishing our dreams, ideas, and goals.

We might stop complaining and get to work on dangerous, life-threatening problems. Maybe even systemic problems. Like carbon emissions, healthcare, or clean water, which brings me to my next topic.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Become Outcomes-Oriented

We need to stop caring so much about sitting at desks for hours. Instead, we should focus on outcomes. What do you need to produce in a timeframe?

Focusing on results is essential. In the end, clients only care about results. Not how long it takes you. They want the results and at a reasonable price.

If I design a logo in an hour and you start using it and generate more sells. That’s what you want. If you achieve a 50% increase, what do I get? Hours pay, a thank you, and some feel good.

Our prices should reflect the going market rate and its impact.

The price charged for services has to do with the businesses’ overhead costs. Those costs are added up, and billed, not the result.

Does my pursuit of design and its mastery matter to clients? Or do they want the right product at a reasonable price for their benefit?

They care about the results. So as designers, we should too.

If I spend 6 hours learning how to do something that takes an hour, do I charge the next client for 7 hours or 1 hour?

Because the next time I perform that task, it will take an hour.

If you can design a website in a day and others take a week.

  • Do you charge a weekly rate?
  • Do you show proficiency, skill, or mastery?
  • Do you charge an enormous hourly rate?

Maybe, it’s somewhere in the middle.

What’s the market rate?
What’s their ROI?

My point in all of this, clients care about results, and they care how much it costs. If we keep relating our time to their results, then we’re cheating ourselves out of our collective experiences from previous projects.

Clients care about results, we should too.

Examine The Process

When you focus on the outcome, you care little about your process. Instead, you will be focused on the best process while achieving the results.

It’s like programming or math; there are several ways to solve the same problem. Clients are looking for the best solution, with the least amount of long term impact.

When we choose to reflect on the process, you become aware of how to improve it. Journaling allows you to slow down, engage your brain in problem-solving. You will be able to achieve better results faster and avoid pitfalls in the future.

That is why Bill Gates takes “think weeks.” Injecting reflection allows us to question our motives while finding solutions.

Example of Using Reflection: My Writing Process

My writing is in three separate systems. I start writing in Google Docs, then run it through Grammarly and then again into Medium. Three different platforms. Actually, four, I use Notes on my phone to jot down ideas but all my draft articles are in my google drive.

I could start in Medium or Grammarly. Cutting down to two platforms could potentially save time but I like the separation and function of each system. It gives me pause to reconsider why I have started this habit.

Why not just in Medium?
Why not just be better at grammar to cut out the need for Grammarly?

But you, as the reader, care about the final product, not my process. Unless this was a post about my writing process.

Focus on delivering results.

Small Wins Drive Big Wins

Once you start focusing on making the right decisions. Celebrate the small wins. It’s critical for two reasons: to get feedback and propel you forward.

Celebrate small wins along your journey, and it motivates you to get big wins.

It takes 20 minutes to walk a mile. That’s it. You can do that while reading a few articles. One mile every day for the year would be 365 miles.

Whatever your job, I want you to recognize the power of your small habits and leverage those into bigger wins.

I’ve been publishing articles for a month. I’ve had small wins, like being published. I celebrated each little victory as a means to encourage myself to keep going.

I know that some articles will get picked up, some won’t, and that is how it will be. It doesn’t mean that I should stop submitting work. The more I write and publish, the more it will grow.

You don’t win in life with a single day of effort. Life is built a day at a time.

To Recap:

  • You tiny decisions matter, more than you think.
  • Focus on delivering tangible outcomes.
  • Take time to reflect and evaluate the process.
  • Celebrate small wins along your journey, and it motivates you to get big wins.