Focus on Today

William Liao
2 min readJan 1, 2023

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been toying around with different mental models to keep me focused on the aspects of life I value the most.

My current model that I try to review daily has three components: Pillars, Milestones, and Daily Action.

Pillars represent broad categories of activity you want to be a part of your life, for example: physical fitness or family.

Milestones are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timebound (SMART) objectives aligned with your pillars that are timebound somewhere between 1 week and 1 month, for example: performing 5 workouts within 1 week.

Daily Action are the tasks you choose to give your limited time and attention today in service of your milestones, for example: doing one workout today.

I like this framework for a couple of reasons:

  1. All three concepts are interconnected with each one guiding your attention towards increasingly shorter, more specific, and measurable time horizons that encourage you to stay focused and moving.
  2. It creates a sense of urgency for the day by clearly threading how what you choose to do each day ultimately adds up to what you produce and what your life will ultimately have meant.

Your assessment of life 10+ years from now will be the sum total of the decisions you made on a daily basis.

While being mindful of the big picture is important, the best way to really ensure that things add up the way you hope is by being intensely specific and intentional about where you pay your time, energy, and attention today and every day.

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William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)