I consider myself a pretty productive person, and I know when I share on Facebook the results of particularly productive days people tend to be impressed and/or jealous, or at least curious about how I get so much done.
I don’t always know what makes one day more productive than another, but I’m developing a theory. I think I do better on days when I have clear goals in mind and am able to keep the focus of getting a lot done in my mind. It’s a kind of positive pressure that helps drive the day and move me forward.
So I’ve decided that I need specific, overarching goals that can help me determine what to do each day as well as in the longer term. Some of these goals are personal (working out more, having a more organized home) while some are professional (income or engagement goals, or number of posts written per site per week).
With short-term (daily/weekly) and longer-term (quarterly, annual, until the next book is due) goals firmly in mind — and in writing — it should be easier for me to know what to focus on each day and keep focused on the important stuff.
That’s the theory, anyway. I feel like I’ve been without a plan for a long time and that had kept me from feeling like I know what I need to do each day, which has certainly affected my productivity and my feelings about the work I’m doing.
Setting Your Goals
The first step to better productivity, then, may be knowing what you’re doing and why, and where you want to go and why.
I took some time over the weekend to think about those overarching goals, which I broke down into the categories of home, family, work and life. They’re not really specific goals, more like a vision of what I want my home, family, work and life to look like.
Then I wrote up a schedule that’s sort of an ideal of how I would spend my time if I had nothing particularly pressing going on. I haven’t quite gotten to test it out yet, but I hope some time this week I’ll be able to hit that ideal.
It has time for exercise, crafting, working on all three websites I try to touch every day and extra time for special projects or more work on a particular site (or chores).
I know every day won’t look like this. There are errands to run and appointments to keep. The girl will be sick some days; husband will take days off.
But at least I have that as a goal now, too, and I can look at those goals and that schedule both to fill in my daily and weekly to-do lists but also to get me back on track when I feel like I’m wasting time.
Your schedule, of course, will look a lot different from mine. You may only have an hour a day to work on a multitude of goals. Your goals may all be about home and family while mine are more focused on my work life.
The point is, if you feel like you’re foundering in any area of your life and need to refocus on what’s important to you, a goal-setting session may be just the thing.
How do you refocus to gain productivity or make progress on a goal? I’d love to hear your thoughts.