Today is the day. Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day.
It could be a New Year’s Resolution or a goal or even a mantra.
However you treat resolutions at the beginning of each year, this is the day the majority are abandoned.
We talked a bit about how to chunk bigger goals into small chunks yesterday—and I challenged you to create a new habit by taking on 17-day sprints.
I hope you’re going to do it!
Today, I’d like to help you over the hurdle by talking about how to be more productive, which will inevitably lead to your achieving your goals.
There are seven ways to go about it:
- Break your resolutions into smaller, more achievable goals
- Take care of your body
- Develop a morning routine
- Focus on only three tasks every day
- Block time to do deep work
- Eliminate distractions
- Evaluate your day at the end of each day
Let’s take a look at each of them, through the achieving your resolution lens.
Smaller, More Achievable Goals
We spent a good amount of time talking about this yesterday, so I won’t belabor the point.
But do break your resolutions, goals, new habits into easier-to-achieve chunks.
We are creatures who love instant gratification. If you have to go an entire year without any satisfaction, you’ll abandon your resolutions.
Instead, break down your goals into tasks—and work to have a result on each task at least every two weeks, if not more.
And then, every morning, your attention should be first on that goal (see morning routine below).
Then you can do the rest of what’s asked of you.
Your Body Is the Only Place You Have to Live
We often don’t take care of ourselves until it’s too late.
Maybe there’s been a life-altering doctor’s visit or a life event, such as a heart attack or stroke.
Or maybe there’s just a threat of those things.
Of course, when we’re young, we don’t think anything like that will ever happen to us.
And then it does.
But it’s incredibly difficult to change 20 (or more) years of bad habits after something like that.
Instead, work right now—this very second—to make your body a priority.
This should include three things:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat well
I know what you’re thinking, “Yeah, yeah, Gini. I don’t have time for any of those things.”
Quite the contrary. You DO have time. You just don’t make those things a priority.
But guess what?
If you aren’t around later in life, you won’t have time for work or play or your hobbies or anything else.
Because you’ll be dead.
Harsh? Maybe. But taking care of yourself is the most important thing.
You can’t be a good partner, parent, employee, employer, friend, coach, mentor, or leader if you don’t take care of yourself.
Everyone around you suffers.
When you take care of yourself, you feel better, which makes you more productive…and more likable.
The moment you look at your phone, open your email, or even read the news, you’re letting external factors affect and control your day.
It is crucial that you not allow that to happen very first thing.
I’m not a big rah-rah, meditate, journal your thoughts kind of person, but that’s big right now.
Rachel Hollis has created a cult following for people with that kind of stuff.
And you know what? For the people around me who are doing it, it works!
Decide what works for you.
If it’s to get up and meditate or journal or exercise or walk the dog or just spend a few minutes thinking about what you want to accomplish for the day, make your morning routine yours.
Then, and only then, can you invite external factors into your life.
Get your brain and your priorities straight. Then open your email.
Daily Big Three
A couple of years ago, we implemented the daily checkin on Slack for my team.
We can’t really have a daily standup meeting, nor do we have the opportunity to see what everyone is doing.
But the checkin allows us to understand the priorities of our colleagues—and it allows me to see if things are progressing appropriately.
Part of that checkin is the three things you have to accomplish that day.
It helps to both get things done and be more productive.
You should decide your daily big three either at the end of each day, or it can be part of your morning routine.
However you handle it, make sure you spend a few minutes once a day figuring out the three big things you need to get done.
And then work to get them done.
Which leads me to…
When you outline your three daily priorities, ask yourself these questions:
- What are my top priorities for tomorrow?
- In what order will I complete each one of them?
- How much time do I need to commit to each task?
And then block the time on your calendar so you can actually get them done.
For instance, I have something big I need to finish by tomorrow, but I have only a 90-minute window today that is without meetings.
So guess what I will be doing in those 90 minutes?
Not email or social media or texting or smaller, mindless tasks.
I am going to use that time to make progress on the big project so that, by tomorrow, I’m not looking at Saturday thinking, “I guess I can get some of this finished while my small one is at activities.”
Nope. It needs to be finished by tomorrow.
By blocking the time, it tells my team I need to focus and it prevents me from filling it with another meeting.
It also reminds me of the importance of the project so I DO work to get it done.
If you follow the tips above, you’ll be able to avoid mental distractions.
The, “Oh, shoot. What do I need to do today?” distractions.
And then you need to avoid the digital distractions—email, social, text, Voxer.
I like to put my phone in another room when I’m doing deep work. That way, it’s more difficult to quickly check Facebook when my brain needs a little break.
(And trust me, I do do that. A lot.)
Both of these tools allow you to set a timer, for lack of a better word, and they won’t let you access anything but what you’re working on.
In today’s world, we can’t really work without the internet, but it can eliminate the other distractions by blocking them while you’re in your deep work mode.
Evaluate Your Day
I’m not really sure why I started doing this, but when I was fresh out of college, I created a habit of evaluating my day before I left the office.
(It could be that I’m OCD and don’t like a messy desk.)
I would clean my desk, put away all of the files, get my post-it notes into my task list, outline my priorities for the next day, and take a good look at what I accomplished that day.
I still do that to this very day…may even be more vigilant today because I work from home.
My computer is shut down every night (so my priority can be my family) and my desk is cleaned. I write down my priorities for the next day and I block the time on my calendar.
Of course, I’m not perfect and there are some days that don’t get that kind of attention. But boy! You can tell.
I’m not as productive and I tend to waste more time.
So if you want to get more done and achieve your goals this year, take the time to evaluate your day.
How Will You Achieve Your Goals?
And now it’s your turn.
I’d love to hear how you achieve your goals, form new habits, crush your New Year’s resolutions.
The comments are yours.