What is your vision for the year? Do you have a plan? To get where you are going, it is always good to have a map. Write out a playbook that takes you, step-by-step, to your goal—professionally, financially, personally. And, in your playbook, make sure you have a strategy for thwarting distraction. Here are seven tips to keep you on track.
Clean Up Clutter. Keep your workspace clean. It is the easiest, most effective, method to prepare for the day and set the mood for organized efforts. And, it’s free. Since you spend so much time at your desk, it’s also one of the most powerful ways to prime your day for productivity. Make room for the essentials: your computer, a notepad and pen, and your phone. When you’re working on a project, only take out materials you will use immediately. Keep things neat and tidy by putting away anything not in use.
Employ supportive self-talk. Stop the downward spiral of thoughts of dread or fatigue or boredom. Pay attention to your inner dialogue. What comes up when you start to dawdle? Write it down, and then write a positive, affirming thought that counters it— “I hate this” could be countered with “This is not my favorite work, but doing it will build my presence.” And, “I can’t do it” might result in “I feel nervous and exited when I’m learning something new; getting through this will build my skill set.”
Push Past Procrastination. The best way to address procrastination is to break down tasks into manageable steps. Take small steps and enjoy getting it done. Choose one section of the work in front of you, complete it—and then reward yourself once it’s done.
Break it down. Chunk it. Outline the tasks and plan which steps you will take each quarter. Then, you can break down by month. And by week. Put actions in place for the quarter—what do I need to do and when do I need to do it? Define What and When. Then assign the Who and the How to make things happen. Take on one task at a time. Baby steps add up.
Reward Yourself. Breaking down the work at hand down into smaller pieces with the promise of a reward as each is accomplished makes it easier to complete tasks. The reward is a supportive feedback loop, and so is checking off a chunk of work (that is rewarding in itself). Take a walk, enjoy a latte, or engage in something that gives you a lift. Then tackle the next morsel and get it done!
Assess each quarter. Make time to review your progress every few months. Outline what worked and what didn’t. By breaking out the bigger goal into quarterly targets, it is easier to track progress and stay on task—or find the holes in your plan so you can alter accordingly.
Adjust. Take things from sight to insight. Your review will reveal key opportunities, suggest new tactics, or reinforce the plan of action. Modify your playbook as needed and carry on.
So, step to it! Follow your map, even the detours. Remember to reward yourself along the way. Celebrate milestones—every goal counts. And, savor reaching your targets, enjoy your journey. Take each step, one at a time.