Your Goals Need these Productivy Tips

It’s that time of year! As Christmas rolls around all of those goals you set for yourself in the beginning of the year start to creep back up into your mind. Maybe you absolutely crushed your goals this year and are ready to set some new ones. Rinse and repeat.

Or maybe you are like me and there are a few goals that you are actually pretty sad you didn’t accomplish. We all have a list of reasons why we didn’t get around to accomplishing our New Year’s goals: lack of time, lack of motivation, busy schedules, etc… 

Here’s a common mistake that stops many people from accomplishing their goals.

Have you ever listed your goals without also listing steps of how to get there? Don’t worry, we’ve all done this. An aspirational list of goals feels great in the moment, but a few days or weeks pass and that list can seem more overwhelming than exciting. When your goals start to seem daunting, here are some of my favorite productivity tipsto kickstart goals into habits.

1: Time yourself to do one thing at a time! When we were kids, school was all about intense focus on one subject at a time. Thanks to smartphones, we grow up to believe that we need to multi-task in order to be productive and successful. However, our minds work best when we focus on one thing at a time. When I am struggling to sit down and work on one specific item on my todo list, I set a timer for myself. When we see an end in sight, we are more motivated to power through until the timer goes off. You can set your timer wherever you would like, but I’ve found that putting it on my phone reminds me that I can’t look at my phone until that timer goes off. 

2: Be competitive, with your todo list! Think of your todo list as a competition between you and yourself. This tricks your brain into putting a ton of energy into those daunting tasks that you may want to avoid. Trust me, there are days when I hardly even get close to finishing all of my tasks on my todo list. But if I put as much of my energy as possible into one project, I will feel accomplished and ready to take on the remaining items tomorrow. You will be surprised with how effective being competitive with yourself is. If one of your goals is to eat healthy and exercise, the only person you are competing against is yourself. Make a game out of it by putting small steps on your todo list. 

3: Reward yourself. When your timer goes off or you complete one thing, give yourself a reward. This will remind your brain that if you sit down and get the work done, you will thank yourself later. Today I told myself to sit my butt in my chair and write this blog post. I took it in pieces and first accomplished the outline. My reward for finishing it was a mini dance party! Cardi B can motivate anybody to get ish done… Maybe for you its a walk outside or a moment to water your plants. The only key to this tip is to make sure that the rewards are also fueling productivity. Get out of your chair and move. Set a timer for this as well! 5-10 minutes max. 

4: Make your todo list less daunting. If your todo list is 20+ items long, you are doing it wrong. Create a category for everything you need to do (mine are often just “personal” and “work”). Each category only gets 3 top items. Now you might be thinking, “I have way too many things to do! Top 3 won’t work for me!” Each category gets 3 items that absolutely need to be on your first priority list, you work on these items first. They might be the biggest items that you’ve been putting off or small items that you absolutely need to finish by the end of the day. But they are at the top of your list. Then create a junk folder. Every other item you could get done today, goes in the junk folder. These are the smaller less immediate items. You will be surprised at how good it will feel to finish 3 of your top items and then also check off others that could get done. 

5: Take Time to Look Up. This might seem so incredibly obvious. But when you are in a creative rut, sometimes the most beneficial thing is to look up and out. We spend so much time looking down: our phones, our computers, books, projects, etc. Yet we forget that one of the best places to draw inspiration is—up. For you, productivity might look like staring at the sky for 45 minutes trying to think of a way to be creative. Whatever it is, don’t force your way in to a creative space. Allow it to pull you in. And the only way to do that is to look up. 

As we enter 2019, remind yourself that your ability to complete your goals does not define you. Maybe you should make that one of your goals for the New Year: embrace the truth that my success is not defined by how much I can get done. We are each creative beings. These tips are not meant for you to force your way in to a creative space. Rather, they are tips to help guide you into greater creativity, accomplishment, and confidence. A way to remove distractions and allow your creativity to flow from within. I’m so excited to journey into this new year together as we learn to put our ideas and goals as a priority. 

Elyssa Schultheiss