How many of us have set goals without fail on New Year’s Eve as part of a myriad of resolutions, only to fail dismally a few weeks later? The truth is, that outcome is predictable because humans are creatures of habit. The intention to follow through with goals is one thing, but it takes more than will power to get things done. The good news is there are tried and tested strategies that will help you to accomplish the goals you set.
In this digitally changing world, building a good set of healthy habits is essential for productivity. It’s harder to figure out which habits decrease or increase one’s productivity.
These strategies are simple enough to include in your busy routine:
1. Make time for a daily writing ritual.
Assign a portion of time to write your thoughts down. Writing things down tends to give a sense of purpose. This writing ritual could be done at the end of the day, or early in the morning before the day begins. In this writing ritual, map your plans in detail, don’t be vague as this is as good as a shoddy map. Articulate everything you want to get done, and have a hierarchy of what is important. This will make you feel more recharged and energized to tackle business and creative projects.
2. Devote Time to the Task
Don’t wait for the muse to strike (doing things once in a while). The truth is we will never feel like doing those tasks we dislike or dread. Instead, devoting time to the task helps one power through the day. Often, once you start working on the task at hand, you realize it was not as unpleasant as you feared before you got started. Schedule time in your day to work on the thing you are procrastinating. The amount of time does not need to be daunting, try starting with 15 minutes.
3. Use the 15-Minute Rule.
Tasks always seem daunting if they are viewed in their entirety. These tasks tend to be easier in manageable portions. Whenever faced by such a situation, try working in 15-minute increments. In the long run, you get to actually start the task at hand and ultimately you become more efficient and avoid unnecessary stress.
4. Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people.
Whether you are work from home or holding down a full-time office job, there’ll always be situations that get you down. Surrounding yourself with positive upbeat people can change your perspective on how you see your life. This is relevant both in your personal and business life.
5. Recognize When You Are Procrastinating
Remember the writing ritual above? There are times you glance at your written list and put it off till tomorrow. Be more self-aware and recognize when you are procrastinating and why. The ability to acknowledge your lack of motivation or fear in tackling a task is the first step to change.
6. Break the Task into Manageable Steps
Large projects are overwhelming. Breaking down a project into written and manageable steps makes it easier to deal with. Working on a smaller portion of a larger project is not so intimidating. Doing even one small actionable step will give you the feeling of accomplishing something, which, in turn, will spur you on with motivation to keep going.
7. Embrace Imperfection
There is nothing wrong with aiming for perfection, but there is a time the quest for the perfect piece of work becomes unproductive. When you can’t come up with a chapter title for a book, don’t spend hours stuck in thought, simply start writing content that comes to mind for the chapter. You will eventually find a title derived from the content you have written. A successful entrepreneur once coined the phrase “Sloppy success is better than mediocre perfection” to keep himself moving forward.
8. Give Yourself a Deadline
It always comes back to that written note we started with. Every race has a start and finish line. When things are left open-ended, procrastination has a chance to step in. Deadlines are motivational, watching the clock run down will further push you to work towards your goal. Setting a goal with a deadline for your project helps by giving you a sense of accountability and you can keep track of your progress or lack thereof. Please give yourself manageable deadlines to accomplish each step in a manageable manner. There is no point in setting unrealistic goals that end up giving you sleepless nights.
9. Reward Yourself
Rewards are very powerful motivators. Setting up a system of rewards for yourself is very important. It gives you something to look forward to and each time you use your devoted time to work on your task or accomplish one of your manageable steps, reward yourself. These treats can vary from a favorite snack to watching your favorite program. Going a step further by using a system of punishments and deprive yourself of these treats if you fail to follow through on your plan, can be very motivational. However, try to focus on rewards as they are positive and more motivating than punishments, and few people follow through with imposing punishments on themselves.
10. Healthy Diet
Indulging in processed fast foods has been found to have a detrimental effect on your body and mind. Try and increase the consumption of unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruits, and nuts as some of these are high in antioxidants and vitamins. This will increase your sense of well-being, and if you are feeling good that has a knock-on effect on how your day progresses.
These little steps will change your outlook on how you can change those bad habits that sidetrack you from realizing your full potential. So don’t forget to plan, start, and finish your tasks.
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