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Evaluating Your Goals for More Productivity

Evaluating Your Goals for More Productivity

Productivity is a desirable but elusive quality. Just what can be done to progress from average or marginal productivity to a high level of achievement? One thing that is at the forefront of any attempt at self-improvement is a written statement of goals. Written goals, especially if they are broken down into manageable chunks, give us a framework that we can use to keep track of our progress. We can then carry out our own personal performance review and development.


In the book, The Success Principles, Jack Canfield has a lot to say about goal setting and review. Goals need to be measurable. They need to be worded in such a way that there is no doubt when they have been reach. Canfield says that a goal that is not measurable is just a “good idea.” For instance, “I want to write a book” is a good idea. “I will complete 200 pages of my book by January 31st,” is a measurable goal.

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Canfield also suggests making a goals book, in which you write your goal at the top of the page, and then create a scrapbook of motivating pictures or words related to that goal. For instance, if I wanted to make money from home, I might cut out pictures of money or of people working on their computers or talking on the phone. Read over those goals and look at the pictures daily or even more often.

Another principle of personal performance review and development is to break the goal down into smaller steps. Richard Carlson, author of the “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” books, calls these “baby steps.” So does Marla Cilley, aka the Flylady, author of the book Sink Reflections. Canfield calls this principle “chunking it down.”

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Make a list of those baby steps, then read those goals and smaller chunks often. For many goals, keeping a record can be useful for self evaluation. For instance, if I want to get more done at my work-at-home job, I might keep track of how many hours per day I am actually working it. This doesn’t include tasks like cleaning my email inbox! It means the time spent actually contacting prospective clients or doing the contracted work.

A simple habit of noting the time started and stopped can be extremely motivating. Plus you’ll have a record of past achievement, sort of a chart of self improvement statistics, which will enable you to tell how much you are improving. A chart like this is especially useful for fitness goals, too.

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Specific measurable goals are good for your employees and for your children, too. Every time a goal is reached, even if it is a baby step, it improves the self-esteem. That means that the next goal I undertake or give my employee will seem just a little more doable. Canfield suggests keeping a record of victories. He also encourages people to spend a few minutes every night reviewing the day looking for small successes.

Goal setting is one of the foremost weapons in the battle for self improvement. Use them wisely and review them frequently for the greatest gain in personal productivity.

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Barbara Wood is a writer and educator living in the Missouri Ozarks. Home organization has been a lifelong pursuit for her, and has led her to study many great books on productivity, time management, and organization.

References:

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic

When you become an early riser, you’ll experience a lot of benefits including feeling more energized and having more time to do what you want.

If you’d like to become an early riser, there are some things you should know before you run off to set your oft-ignored alarm clock.

So how to become an early riser?

Here are five tips I’ve discovered to be most helpful in making the transition from erratic sleeper to early morning wizard:

1. Choose to Get up Before You Go to Sleep

You’re not very good at making decisions when you’ve just woken up. You were in the middle of a dream in which [insert celebrity crush of choice here] is serving you breakfast in bed only to be rudely awakened by the harsh tones of your alarm clock. You’re frustrated, angry, confused, and surprised. This is not the time to be making decisions about whether or not you should stay in bed! And yet, most of us leave the first decision of our day to be made in a blur of partial wakefulness.

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No more!

If you want to be a consistently early riser, try making your decision to rise at a specific time before you go to sleep the night before. This frees you from making the decision in the morning when you’ve just woken up. Instead of making a decision, you have only to follow through on your decision from the night before.

Easier said than done? Of course. But only for the first few times. Eventually, your need for raw willpower to get out of bed will diminish and you’ll be the proud parent of a new habit!

Steve Pavlina suggests you practice getting out of bed during the day[1] to get a few of the “practice sessions” out of the way without the early morning fog in your head.

2. Have a Plan for Your Extra Time

Let’s say you’ve actually made it out of bed 2 hours before you normally would. Now what? What are you going to do with all this time you’ve discovered in your day?

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If you don’t have something planned to do with your extra time, you risk falling for the temptation of a “morning nap” that wipes out all the work you put into getting up.

What to do? Before you go to bed, make a quick note of what you’d like to get done during your extra hours the following day. Do you have a book to write, paper to read, or garage to clean? Make a plan for your early hours and you’ll do more than protect yourself from backsliding into bed.

You’ll get things done and those results will fuel your desire to build rising early into a habit!

3. Make Rising Early a Social Activity

Your internet or social media buddies just don’t have enough pull to make your new habit stick in the long term. The same cannot be said for the people you spend time with as part of your early morning routine.

Sure, you could choose to read blogs for two hours every morning. But wouldn’t it be great to join an early breakfast club, running group, or play chess in the park at 5am?

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The more people you get involved in making your new habit a daily part of your life, the easier it’ll be to succeed.

4. Don’t Use an Alarm That Makes You Angry

If we’re all wired differently, why do we all insist on torturing ourselves with the same sort of alarm each morning?

I spent years trying to wake up before my alarm went off so I wouldn’t have to hear it. I got pretty good, too. Then I started using a cellphone as my alarm clock and quickly realized that different ring tones irritated me less but worked just as well to wake me up. I now use the ring tone alarm as a back up for my bedside lamp plugged in to a timer.

When the bright light doesn’t work, the cellphone picks up the slack and I wake up on time. The lesson learned? Experiment a bit and see what works best for you. Light, sound, smells, temperature, or even some contraption that dumps water on you might be more pleasant than your old alarm clock. Give something new a try!

5. Get Your Blood Flowing Right After Waking

If you don’t have a neighbor, you can pick fights with at 5am, you’ll have to settle with a more mundane exercise. It doesn’t take much to get your blood flowing and chase the sleep from your head.

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Just pick something you don’t mind doing and go through the motions until your heart rate is up. Jumping rope, push-ups, crunches, or a few minutes of yoga are typically enough to do the trick. (Just don’t do anything your doctor hasn’t approved.)

If you live in a beautiful part of the world like me, you might want to use a bit of your early morning to go for a walk and enjoy the beauty of the world around you.

If you have a coffee shop open within walking distance, dragging yourself out of bed for a cup of coffee to savor on your walk home as the world wakes around you is a wonderful experience. Try it!

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Featured photo credit: Nomadic Julien via unsplash.com

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