We all start of the beginning of the year with plenty of goals in mind, most of which we want to achieve as soon as we can – which is awesome! I think that we should all have things we look forward to and things we want to accomplish. But all the dreaming and goal setting is the easy part. Creating a step-by-step plan to begin working towards your goals is ehhh somewhat easy. But, when it comes down to keeping yourself accountable and staying productive and consistent about reaching your goals…now that is the hardest part, in my humble opinion.
Making sure I follow through in doing what I tell myself I want to achieve is hard because, frankly, being your own boss is hard. I find that when you have no one else to be accountable to but yourself you may give yourself a few too many passes to push things off for a lot longer than if you were working on completing something for someone else. Do you agree? Which is why I compiled a list of what helps me stay productive through those moments (and days) when my dreams just seem to big or too cumbersome to achieve.
I keep a running list of the things I know I need to do. I do this for my personal life - like doing laundry, blow drying my hair (all of you curly hair girls out there know that this task needs to be planned out!), doing my nails and the list goes on. I also do this for Ninel Studio – I have a list for updates I need to make to the website, a list for candle production (what I need to make, inventory lists), a list for planning my editorial calendar for the blog and a list for bigger projects down the road. Having a place that you can refer to when you need a high-level view of the things you need to get done will give you a little boost of energy to start working.
Use time blocks wisely
This strategy has really done wonders for me. Blocking out time to do specific tasks is a really great way to stay productive. If I know I have an hour in my day to spare I try to put it to good use. For example, as I am writing this blog post, I literally just got home from work and will be picked up in 45 minutes to run a few errands (i.e. shopping) so I got right to it and started writing this blog. Every minute counts. When I get back later tonight I will block out one more hour to edit this post and schedule it for publishing.
Plan your day
This is like the idea of using time blocks wisely in that we need to plan the day out. Yes, sometimes things come up and we cannot stick to a strict schedule but having at least a rough idea of what we want to accomplish the next day will help up stay on track and continue to move things forward. All you need is 10 to 15 minutes to sit down and write down what you want to accomplish the next day. This is a great way to get a head start on your day!
Use the Pomodoro technique
I must admit that I don’t always remember to do this and it is mostly because I am in and out of meetings for the better part of my day and I feel that the Pomodoro technique allows for best results if you have a good chunk of uninterrupted time on your hands (say around 2-3 hours). The basic idea of this technique is to work in 25 minute increments and take a 5-minute break and do this repeatedly for as long as you need to in order to accomplish whatever task you are working through. This technique is AMAZING – the times I can implement it I feel my productivity increase dramatically.
Skip the multi-tasking
Trying to focus on more than one thing at once really does not work for a lot of people. It certainly doesn’t for me, especially, if I am working on something that requires my undivided attention. I know it can be difficult to not reply to that email that just came in, after all, it will only take two seconds, right? Wrong! Breaking your focus to reply to that one email that will only take two seconds means that you are very likely to lose your train of thought and it may take you a while before you get back into the swing of things. This will slow down your productivity, big time. So, my advice here is to focus on your task at hand, the email can wait.
Listen to music
I like to listen to upbeat instrumentals to get me working a little bit faster. One thing I cannot do is listen to music with words while I am trying to write a blog post or draft an email – so music like electronica is pretty much my go to these days. Am I the only one?
I incorporated this into my personal and professional life a few years ago and have not looked back since. The 2-minute rule means that if you have a task that will only take 2 minutes to do – just do it. But if it will take longer than that you should schedule some time to do it. The only time I do not use this technique is, as mentioned above, if I am already in the middle of something and a quick task comes across my desk. But aside from that, the 2-minute rule is fantastic a getting those little things that come up throughout the day out of sight and out of mind as quickly as possible.
There you have it – those are the ways/methods I use to stay productive and stay on track of my goals in my day to day life. Like I said in the beginning of this post, having dreams and goals is easy – making sure we work towards them one task at a time is hard if we do not feel motivated enough to do so. I hope one or all the techniques I have listed help you stay motivated and productive to reach your goals. Happy 2017!
Now your turn! Do have any other tips and techniques that help you stay productive to reach your goals? Do share below!