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The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 12 – JetPens

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 12 – JetPens

    Today’s the last day of Lifehack’s 12 Days of Giveaways holiday promotion. It’s been a lot of fun to offer our Lifehack readers a chance to take home some great products to help them bring their personal productivity skills up a notch or two. (Or three. Or more.)

    For the last giveaway, we’ve got a Paper Productivity Starter Kit courtesy of JetPens.

    But before we get to that, let’s talk about yesterday’s Helvetindex Cards giveaway. More specifically, let’s reveal which 5 Lifehack readers are going to have a bundle of 100 cards sent to them for answering the following question:

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    “When do you find yourself reaching for paper over digital tools — and why?”

    The winning comments, some of which come from our website and some from Facebook, can be found below::

    “I’ve stepped away from electronic task lists. No medium, no matter how hi-tech it is, will ever replace the flexibility of paper. Everyday I have a 3×5 that has all my appointments/scheduled items, reminders, tasks that need to be done, and tasks I want to have done. Writing those kinds of things down is faster when I’m busy in the middle of the day than typing it into a device.” – Brian Damitz

    “I adore index cards! But those flimsy ones from Staples just don’t feel right, so I’ve been printing my own on heavy card stock in different colors, with little grids. These look even nicer. I reach for paper for the quickest capture of ideas, reminders, to-dos, quotes, everything–and the humble index card is my paper of choice.” – Andrea Graham

    “No carefully typed list or mind map online or on a smartphone can replace the satisfaction of seeing my own hand channel my thoughts rather than some impersonally neat font. I reach for paper over digital tools when I have ideas that need expressing right at the moment. The absence of a delete key either frees me from any inhibitions about my thoughts or forces me to consider them more clearly. Either way, my output with a pen is more authentic than that with digital tools.” – Catherine Zuo

    “I reach for paper over digital tools when I need to brainstorm. For some reason when I’m using digital tools, my mind moves to fast. Paper allows me to really process my thoughts and to make connections that I wouldn’t otherwise make.” – Donnie Nicole Smith

    “I find myself using old fashion systems anytime I need to make sure that I will actually do something… Which is pretty much always. I found long ago that the more modern solutions are only good for me to capture lists with. So my Omni Focus tools (Ipad and Mac) are filled with running lists of all types, most importantly all of the awesome books I come across that I want to read. As for organizing my life and getting things done paper is the only way I can keep an organized system. I would love to try the Helvetindex cards becasue the only other 2 decent cards I have ever found are Levenger (which I am not in love with) and Exacompta but They can be hard to come by at times. It is nice to see that there is potentially a new choice. What I like most about the idea of Helvetindex cards is they are actually 3×5. The Exacompta are larger which is the only other downside to them at times.” – Bornagainscholar

    Congratulations to all five winners — now go out and get some small binder clips so that you’ll be ready to assemble your Hipster PDA for the new year!

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    About Today’s Giveaway

    JetPens is an amazing resource for those who are especially fond of using paper to help you get things done. Carrying a wide variety of well-known and highly-regarded writing tools as well as some hard-to-find goods that many fans of paper covet, you can’t go wrong with placing an order through JetPens.

    JetPens has generously offered what we’ve called the Paper Productivity Starter Kit, which contains a good sampling of popular items across several categories. Anyone who is a fan of pen, pencil and paper will be familiar with some of its contents as well. The retail value of this package is approximately $50, but the value you’ll get by using it is far greater.

    What’s in the Paper Productivity Starter Kit?

    Everything you need to get started using paper as your primary productivity tool is here. Thanks to Brad Dowdy at JetPens for putting this stellar combination of products together in one amazing package.

    How to Enter

    In order to enter to win this package from JetPens, you need to leave a comment below or on our Facebook fan page that answers the following:

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    “What are the 3 things you’ve written down as goals for 2012 — and did you use a pen, pencil or device to capture them?”

    Leaving a comment on both our Facebook fan page and here at Lifehack.org will get you 2 entries, so but you need to give us two items that you like the most – no copying and pasting!

    The Fine Print

    Employees of JetPens and of Stepcase (including current independent contractors of both) are not eligible for this contest. The prize can only be shipped to addresses within the continental United States, so keep that in mind when entering. The winning entry will be judged by the Stepcase Lifehack editing team and winners will be notified on the platform in which their winning entry was placed (either on the Lifehack.org Facebook wall or by email through our commenting system here the website). For those entering contest with a comment on our site, in order to be considered eligible, you MUST leave a contact email when leaving a comment (it’s the only way we’ll know how to contact you). Entries must be submitted by 10 am Eastern the following weekday and winners will be chosen by 12 pm Eastern time on the same day. The winner will be announced the same day on Lifehack.org, and will be notified beforehand.

    Good luck!

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    (Photo credit: Pen on Blank Notebook via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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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

      Reference

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