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8 Ways to Make an Achievable Year Plan for 2015

8 Ways to Make an Achievable Year Plan for 2015

2015 is upon us, which means it’s time to get your New Year plan in order. The beginning of each year is an exciting time where everything feels full of possibility, but as the year goes on, this excitement often fades and the drive to achieve all your goals can fall by the wayside as well. To make sure your 2015 sees you achieve your big goals, you need to make your plan realistic and achievable.

Here are eight simple ways to make an achievable year plan for 2015. Ready to get started? Read on.

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1. Know Why

Being committed to a plan is great but you need to get your foundations right first. Knowing why you’re working towards what you’re working towards is essential. It will guide you in the goal-setting process and keep you going when it all feels too hard (and at times it will!). So before you do anything, make sure you understand your ‘why’ first.

2. Write Down Your Goals

If you want to make an achievable year plan, writing down your goals is essential. Writing them down makes them real rather than thoughts in your head. Make sure every goal is a SMART goal: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-related.

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3. Create Action Steps

For every goal, create actionable steps to get there. Your action steps are all about breaking each goal down into small, action-oriented mini steps. Think of these steps like the ‘how’ of achieving your goal.

4. Form Good Habits

Creating an achievable year plan is all about forming good habits. Set some solid habits at the start of the year and make a plan to stick to it. A habit might be writing a daily to-do list, reviewing your goals weekly, or daily exercise. Consider what habits will help you reach your goals and schedule them in!

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5. Never Miss Twice

In the midst of your amazing year plan life happens, and sometimes it gets in the way. You’re bound to have days during the year when you just can’t follow through on your goals. By employing the mindset of ‘never miss twice’ you’ll ensure that even when you do have an off day, you are back on track the very next day working toward your goals.

6. Know Your Highest Leverage Tasks

Understanding your highest leverage tasks is all about knowing what is going to have the biggest impact in helping you reach your goals and make your dreams for 2015 come true. Knowing your high impact tasks means you can spend more time on the most important things and less time on things that don’t matter as much. There’s a limited amount of time in each day, so spending it wisely by using it to work towards what will get you results is essential.

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7. Harness the Power of the Group

Sometimes it can feel tough going it alone. If you’re working alone, tap into the power of the group to make your 2015 year plan feel achievable. The internet is great for tapping into the power of the group – think online discussion groups, challenges. and competitions. All of these are full of the support, community, and outside push you need to achieve your goals.

8. Take Time For You

Among all your big plans for the new year is you! Take time out for yourself throughout the year to ensure you are feeling your very best physically, emotionally and spiritually. Taking this time for yourself will ensure you’re in the very best position to achieve the big goals when you need to.

Featured photo credit: Goal Setting by Angie Torres via flic.kr

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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