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Stop Thinking And Start Doing: 10 Productivity Lessons That Will Enrich Your Life

Stop Thinking And Start Doing: 10 Productivity Lessons That Will Enrich Your Life

Life is more fun when you can rest each day knowing you have achieved or learned something new. Productivity feeds off motivation, which is spurred on by being able to put your mind to it, whatever task stands in your way. Here are 10 tips for firing up your productivity levels by taking on a different attitude and applying a more positive mindset.

1. Don’t get bogged down in the volume of tasks

Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking about how many tasks you have ahead of you as this will only disrupt your level of concentration and pile on unnecessary pressure. Focus on one task at a time. Take a deep breath and plough through. Move on, one by one.

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2. Keep a healthy mind, healthy body

Experts agree that there is a strong correlation between a healthy lifestyle and work productivity. As with getting a good night’s sleep, keeping active and eating a balanced diet will fascinate energy uptake and fuel your brain to help you focus on priority tasks more easily.

3. Less is more

According to blogger Leo Babauta, substituting quality for quantity enables you do a better job on individual tasks. The key aspects to ‘less is more’ are: slowing down, observing what needs to be done and concentrate on individual things rather than as a whole.

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4. Adopt an organised system

Being organised is a blessing for saving time, money and stress and working towards happiness and success. It all starts with a system you can work with comfortably. Don’t put stress on yourself in figuring it out – start small, such as creating a filing system for loose documents or labelling places for storage. Other simple actions include unsubscribing from emails and recording your output each day. Before long you will have a process to help you through each day to get more done.

5. Utilise pockets of downtime

There are spare moments throughout the day that go unnoticed, mainly because we fill them with meaningless distractions like checking out social media or watching video clips. These are the times in which you can set aside to tick off smaller tasks that gradually build up and make your task-load look even more wholesome. Whether it’s five minutes spare or a lunch hour, schedule that window for an act of learning, doing or achieving.

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6. Shut yourself off from distractions

Learning how to overcome everyday distractions takes time and patience. By mentally removing yourself from an otherwise busy environment, can allow you to crack on with things that require your full attention and focus. Sometimes the only way to see off a productive day is to work alone or out of reach of people or things you know will tempt you to slow down and lose concentration. Learn to know when and where to shut off, to best suit your routine.

7. See tasks through until the very end

Don’t be ashamed of leaving gaps in-between tasks. Everybody falls victim to this character flaw, sometime or another. Whether you have unfinished business with studying for an exam, painting a bedroom wall or any other task that is begging to take its tool, remember that commitment is the answer to your prayers. Keep a firm will to finish the job to the very end and the satisfaction of accomplishment will far outweigh any negative feelings you previously had to endure.

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8. Group similar tasks together

When you’re in the groove you can move on from one similar task to the next with ease. Stopping and starting to readjust your mindset can cost valuable time when your energy levels are at their peak. In order to maximise your output for the day, group together tasks that only require you to work or think in a certain way, such as admin, outdoor chores, or email correspondence.

9. Strive for moments of calm

In a busy modern world its tough finding time to unwind from the everyday chores that absorb the physical and mental strength we need to plough through. Every minute used for recharging your batteries is time well spent. Look to build in pockets throughout each day in which you can clear your mind and come back to the tasks at hand with a fresh pair of eyes. They say that successful people know the secrets to staying clam which helps them achieve more from life.

10. Take pleasure in your chores

Turn negatives into positives by looking for the the fun and enjoyment in every task you take on. Not every challenge you are faced with will offer a sense of fulfilment, however, if you are passionate about being productive then you will find a way to make things work out. That in itself is enough motivation to ensure you can be at your best at any given time.

I hope you find time to introduce each of these tips into your routine to enable you to become more productive on a day-to-day basis.

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Tom Willis

Web Marketing & Content Producer

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

There’s no denying that goals are necessary. After all, they give life meaning and purpose. However, goals don’t simply achieve themselves—you need to write an action plan to help you reach your goals.

With an action plan, you’ll have a clear idea of how to get where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and how you’ll find the motivation to keep driving forward. Without creating a plan, things have a way of not working out as you waver and get distracted.

With that in mind, here’s how you can set goals and action plans that will help you achieve any personal goal you’ve set.

1. Determine Your “Why”

Here’s a quick experiment for you to try right now: Reflect on the goals you’ve set before. Now, think about the goals you reached and those you didn’t. Hopefully, you’ll notice a common theme here.

The goals you were successful in achieving had a purpose. Those goals you failed to accomplish did not. In other words, you knew why you put these goals in place, which motivated you to follow through.

Simon Sinek, author of Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Finding Purpose for You and Your Team, explains:

“Once you understand your WHY, you’ll be able to clearly articulate what makes you feel fulfilled and to better understand what drives your behavior when you’re at your natural best. When you can do that, you’ll have a point of reference for everything you do going forward.”

That, in turn, enables better decision-making and clearer choices.

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I’ll share with you a recent example of this in my life. Earlier this year, I decided to make my health a bigger priority, specifically losing weight. I set this goal because it gave me more energy at work, improved my sleep, and helped me be a better father—I really didn’t care for all that wheezing every time I played with my kids.

Those factors all gave me a long-term purpose, not a superficial short-term goal like wanting to look good for an event.

Before you start creating an action plan, think about why you’re setting a new goal. Doing so will guide you forward on this journey and give you a North Star to point to when things get hard (and they inevitably will).

2. Write Down Your Goal

If you really want to know how to create an action plan for goals, it’s time to get your goals out of your head and onto a piece of paper. While you can also do this electronically through an app, research has found that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down[1].

This is especially true for business owners. If they don’t schedule their time, it’ll be scheduled for them.[2]

When you physically write down a goal, you’re accessing the left side of the brain, which is the literal, logical side. As a result, this communicates to your brain that this is something you seriously want to do.

3. Set a SMART Goal

A SMART goal pulls on a popular system in business management[3]. That’s because it ensures the goal you’ve set is both realistic and achievable. It can also be used as a reference to guide you through your action plan.

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Use SMART goals to create a goal action plan.

     

    By establishing a SMART goal, you can begin to brainstorm the steps, tasks, and tools you’ll need to make your actions effective.

    • Specific: You need to have specific ideas about what you want to accomplish. To get started, answer the “W” questions: who, what, where, when, and why.
    • Measurable: To make sure you’re meeting the goal, establish tangible metrics to measure your progress. Identify how you’ll collect the data.
    • Attainable: Think about the tools or skills needed to reach your goal. If you don’t possess them, figure out how you can attain them.
    • Relevant: Why does the goal matter to you? Does it align with other goals? These types of questions can help you determine the goal’s true objective — and whether it’s worth pursuing.
    • Time-bound: Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or monthly target, deadlines can motivate us to take action sooner than later.

    Learn more about setting a SMRT goal here: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

    4. Take One Step at a Time

    Have you ever taken a road trip? You most likely had to use a map to navigate from Point A to Point B. The same idea can be applied to an action plan.

    Like a map, your action plan needs to include step-by-step instructions on how you’ll reach your goal. In other words, these are mini goals that help you get where you need to go.

    For example, if you wanted to lose weight, you’d consider smaller factors like calories consumed and burned, minutes exercised, number of steps walked, and quality of sleep. Each plays a role in weight loss.

    This may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it makes your action plan seem less overwhelming and more manageable. Most importantly, it helps you determine the specific actions you need to take at each stage.

    5. Order Your Tasks by Priority

    With your action steps figured out, you’ll next want to review your list and place your tasks in the order that makes the most sense. This way, you’re kicking things off with the most important step to make the biggest impact, which will ultimately save time.

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    For example, if you have a sedentary job and want to lose weight, the first step should be becoming even a little more active. From there, you can add more time to your workout plan.

    The next step could be changing your diet, like having a salad before dinner to avoid overeating, or replacing soda with sparkling water.

    Learn these tips to prioritize better: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    6. Schedule Your Tasks

    Setting a deadline for your goal is a must; it prevents you from delaying the start of your action plan. The key, however, is to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, for example, that you’ll lose 20 pounds within two weeks. It’s even less likely that you’ll keep it off.

    What’s more, you should also assign tasks a start and end date for each action step you’ve created, as well as a timeline for when you’ll complete specific tasks. Adding them to your schedule ensures that you stay focused on these tasks when they need to happen, not letting anything else distract you.

    For example, if you schedule gym time, you won’t plan anything else during that time frame.

    Beware the temptation to double-book yourself—some activities truly can be combined, like a run while talking to a friend, but some can’t. Don’t trick yourself into thinking you can both write and catch up on Netflix simultaneously.

    While you can use a paper calendar or planner, an online calendar may be a better option. You can use it to set deadlines or reminders for when each step needs to be taken, and it can be shared with other people who need to be in the know (like your running buddy or your mentor).

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    7. Stay on Track With Healthy Habits

    Without healthy habits, it’s going to be even more challenging to reach your goal. You could hit the gym five days a week, but if you’re grabbing burgers for lunch every day, you’re undoing all your hard work.

    Let’s say your goal is more career-oriented, like becoming a better public speaker. If you practice your speeches at Toastmasters meetings but avoid situations where you’ll need to be unrehearsed—like networking gatherings or community meetings—you’re not helping yourself.

    You have to think about what will help transform you into the person you want to be, not just what’s easiest or most comfortable.

    8. Check off Items as You Go

    You may think you’ve spent a lot of time creating lists. Not only do they help make your goals a reality, but lists also keep your action plan organized, create urgency, and help track your progress. Because lists provide structure, they reduce anxiety.

    There’s something else special about lists of tasks completed. When you cross off a task in your action plan, your brain releases dopamine[4]. This reward makes you feel good, and you’ll want to repeat this feeling.

    If you crossed out on your calendar the days you went to the gym, you’d want to keep experiencing the satisfaction of each bold “X.” That means more motivation to go the gym consistently.

    9. Review and Reset as Necessary

    Achieving any personal goal is a process. Although it would be great if you could reach a goal overnight, it takes time. Along the way, you may experience setbacks. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, schedule frequent reviews—daily, weekly, or monthly—to see how you’re progressing.

    If you aren’t where you’d hoped to be, you may need to alter your action plan. Rework it so you’re able to reach the goal you’ve set.

    The Bottom Line

    When you want to learn how to set goals and action plans—whether you want to lose weight, learn a new skill, or make more money—you need to create a realistic plan to get you there. It will guide you in establishing realistic steps and time frames to achieve your goal. Best of all, it will keep you on track when you stumble, and we all do.

    More on Goal Action Plans

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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