Did you set goals for 2014 and if so, how are you getting on towards their attainment? With only two months to the end of the year, this is the best time to start reviewing how the year has been for you and what you want to achieve in 2015.
If the attainment of your goal is not going according to plan, are you able to identify what the challenges or stumbling blocks are? If you didn’t set a goal (and I don’t mean New Year resolution), this is a great opportunity to start thinking about the kind of life you wish to have – your relationships, career, business, health and well-being and personal development.
Many people who set goals do not always achieve them and there are a number of reasons for the lack of progress. For brevity, I will identify one and offer some suggestions how you can begin to overcome them to get back on track. Does your goal excite you or it is a ‘wish list’ that was set casually? If your goal excites you and you are not making progress, check in to find out why? Is it fear? Do you procrastinate often? Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Fear and procrastination are bedfellows that often offer rock solid alibis such as: I don’t have the right knowledge/tools or I don’t feel like it now, I will do it tomorrow or …The mind always provides alibis to justify taking the easier route and not getting things done. Here are a couple of suggestions that may help you get back on track. Whilst this list is not exhaustive by any means, it’s a foundation to build on:
1. Eliminate Distractions
Distractions are everywhere. It could be multiple emails flooding in your inbox, the phone ringing endlessly, that long to-do list of seemingly urgent items, and maybe even a flurry of mind chatter that take up the place of productivity. The best way to eliminate as many distractions as possible is through giving yourself the gift of closing Skype, emails, texts calling friends or doing other administrative fillers that distract you from the core tasks.
2. Have a To-Do List
Sometimes we just need a structure to hold together the stream of ideas that keep flowing into our mind so we don’t lose sight of the end result. Making a plan doesn’t need to be an overly-involved process. Begin with the end in mind. When do you want to be complete with your intention and then work your way backwards from that endpoint. Take care that your To-Do list does not get out of hand and becomes a book. This is what invites overwhelm, frustration and procrastination.
3. Create a Sense of Order That Supports Your Progress
Break your To-do list down to: (a) important and urgent; (b) important and non-urgent; (c) urgent and unimportant; and (d) non-urgent and unimportant. This will immediately create order from which to choose what to do now.
Choose 3 to 4 tasks that you’re going to accomplish the next day and always identify these tasks the night before. Make these the absolute ‘must do’ tasks that will bring you closer to achieving your goal. Start your new day with these tasks; do not skip any for easier tasks. At the end of the day you will have a feeling and sense of accomplishment.
4. Learn to Become Aware of Those I Don’t Feel Like It Moments
It’s not every day that we fire all cylinders. From time to time people have “off days” however when those ‘off days’ become frequent, that’s when procrastination sets in. This is the time to find the right tools to break through. Success is the result of consistent effort over time and therefore recognise those ‘I don’t feel like it moments’ and be grateful for the small but consistent efforts you are making towards your goal.
5. Become Aware of Your Flow
Allow yourself some time to think about and review the following about yourself:
- When are you most productive; in other words – are you a morning person or a later night person?
- When does your mind function better?
- When are you most creative?
- When are you most energetic and tend to be ‘unstoppable’?
- When would you rather hold the remote control and watch anything and everything on the box?
When you get to know your patterns and how you function on a day to day basis, it will help you to plan and get things done. You’ll be surprised by the ease with which you accomplish your goal through your daily ‘To-Do list’ and flow routine. By scheduling the right tasks at the right time of day as you identified above, you can accomplish much more in a much shorter period of time.
6. Create Your Clean-up Admin Day or Time
One of the major reasons why people get into overwhelm is usually lack of proper planning or preparation. By allowing distracting activities into your day, you end up achieving very little and the list of important and urgent items begins to rise.
Some people prefer to make or return phone calls, texts, emails first thing in the morning or last thing before they finish work. Others prefer to set one day in the week aside to clear outstanding administrative tasks, wrap up open tasks or projects and prepare for the week ahead.
These will help you to stay in control, become more productive and achieve tasks a lot quicker and easier. Everyone has equal amount of time whether you are the highly successful or unsuccessful. The dividing line is usually mindset and proper planning. When these activities become routine for you, you will realise that overwhelm and fear are banished and you are able to focus on productive actions only and see yourself accomplishing your goal.
What do you do to streamline your workflow?
Do you have strategies and processes that keep you focused and efficient, which you would like to share with others? Use the comments section to share your insights and help other people to become more successful.
Chuka at Vision In Success