So…January…2017! You have some goals, or perhaps just some tinglings of maybes that you want to have a go at doing this year. But you know how it is, you will sneeze and it will be July and none of your to-do list has been to-done.
And you aren’t getting any younger…
Oh, wait a minute, this is one of my talks to myself in front of the mirror.
Hold on, let me start again…
[I do use affiliate links and there are some in this blog post.]
Hey Guys, want to REALLY get things done this year? Well, I have some tips that I want to share on how you can achieve your goals this year. But I am also hoping that you will share some of your favourite tips too so don’t be shy!
So shall we get started?
1. Work out your goals!
This is a subject that I have talked about before on my blog and in my newsletter but it is always worth revisiting and re-evaluating. Now I am a goal setter, but my partner isn’t, so I know that not everyone is a goal setter but this really works for me. If it doesn’t work for you I would love to hear what does, so do comment below.
Pick 2-3 goals you want to achieve this year and really focus down on why you want to do them and for what reasons. The more you understand your motives the more you can be true to yourself and set the goals that you really want, rather than goals you think you want to achieve.
This year I am using the Dream | Plan | Do planner from The Design Trust to help me with my goal setting and monitoring as I find that I do need prompts with my goal setting. I find focusing really, really hard as there is so much I always want to do. One of the things that has helped me this year from this book is setting my values and really asking myself why I want to do something to make sure it is the right goal for me and my business this year.
2. Bite-sized chunks
Break down your goals into bite-sized chunks of task that you can do today, over the next week/ month/ 3 months etc.
Put those tasks somewhere visible, stick them on the wall next to your work space for example and refer back to them regularly to keep yourself on track. You will also need to change them and adapt them as time goes on.
3. Plan Your Week
Now you need to turn these tasks into chunks of time. At the beginning of your week make a list of all the things you have to do that week, your work things, home things, AND the bite-sized tasks that you can do this week towards your big goals.
List it all down then allocate the various things on your list to days of the week. There may be things you have to do every day or things that are time sensitive that you need to do first because of a deadline, so roughly fill your week with the tasks.
4. Schedule, Schedule, oh and Schedule
At the beginning of every day, or in the evening of the day before, break your day into units of time that work for you. I like to work in hourly chunks, and I have two peak creative times, one first thing in the morning and another late afternoon so I try to organise my designing and idea generation in those times and work other things around them. But everyone is different and you need to find the time slots that work for you and work around your lifestyle commitments.
Use your best guesstimate on how long a certain project or task is going to take and don’t lie to yourself! Add in a bit of wiggle room and if it is a new project and you have no idea how long it will take, make your best guess and then double the time at least.
Don’t forget to schedule in breaks! Very handy wiggle room if you need them and very important to give yourself some breathing space.
Also don’t forget to schedule in time-sucking activities like social media! Give them time slots on your day so you do not get tempted to watch all those cat videos on Facebook instead of setting up your new website. Yes, I am talking to you! I know! It is like I can see into your brain! (I am your brain!).
For my scheduling I am using my MAMBI The Happy Planner like a bullet journal to list the times and the tasks and then tick them off smugly as I blast my way through them! If you want to know more about The Happy Planners I do have a blog post all about them.
5. Stick To Your Schedule
Most important step of all, is sticking to your schedule. If you allocated a slot of time to doing that website hosting research or to write that blog post, don’t then spend it watching a cat try to jump on a bed and missing! Or writing that really important response to Jane on Facebook. It can wait until your scheduled break time or social media time. Honest, it can!
But if you are really finding it hard to make yourself do something? Well, a great tip that I got from Lisa Yacob’s Best Year 2016 for this is to break the harder tasks down into small chunks of time, like 15 minutes. You can do it for 15 minutes right? Then have a break and move on to something else. 15 minutes every day for a week is better then no minutes ever and not getting it done at all. I’m not sure if the tip is in Lisa’s Best Year 2017 planner yet as I haven’t finished working my way through it!
6. Keep Reviewing
Check you are getting your tasks done, tick them off at the end of the week and reorganise for the next week and check back on your goals. You are going to need to keep reviewing as you go along, as the goals evolve or as you find out new things that affect the goals, changing and evolving is a good thing.
And if your schedule isn’t working then re-think it, reorganise where you do what task through the day, perhaps your creative time is from 7pm, whatever, make it work for you!
This really works for me and has taken me a few years of working as a freelance creative to develop for myself, it does change and I won’t lie it is hard work, but hopefully worth it!
So go on then, spill the beans, what are your best tips for REALLY getting things done?
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