In a world where we are constantly “connected” and always have something to do, we can very easily confuse being productive vs being busy. Like most vices, short term impacts are often never felt and we only get to see how far behind we are on our ‘actual’ tasks after a couple of weeks or sometimes even months. This is a problem faced by almost everyone at some point in life. In fact, statistics show that more than 77% of people are disengaged with the work they do every day. I received a piece of advice that has helped me greatly in overcoming this problem, it was, to systematically break down my goals into achievable chunks. Listed below are some steps to get started:
Step 1. Give yourself top 3 things to do everyday for a week: Every morning before you start replying to email, reading your newsfeed or checking your social accounts; list down 3 things that you want to achieve that day. At the end of the day you can assess how far you have gotten with the list. In the beginning chances are you will miss quite a few of them. This could be because you underestimated the size of the goal, the time needed or the required assistance you needed. Nevertheless, go at this for a week and see how well you do.
Step 2. Next week set your top 3 goals for the week: On the following Sunday set yourself the task of setting 3 goals for the week that will help move the needle on whatever project you are working on. After this, you can chunk the goal into smaller pieces and work towards them for the rest of the week. On Friday or Saturday take stock of how much you accomplished versus how much you had projected. Once again calibration will be needed for this step.
Step 3 & Step 4. Setting 3 monthly goals & 3 yearly goals: The same methodology can be applied to setting monthly and yearly goals that you want to achieve. After which you can cascade the goals down to the daily level. This takes a lot more time and planning to do correctly. However if followed correctly and you remain honest with your productivity levels, it can have a huge impact on your life.
Unfortunately most people do not set clear goals or plans and travel aimlessly through life. By simply believing that things will work out and not making an active decision to make a change, their methodology is not aligned with a way of life they aspire to. By simply starting with Step 1 we give ourself the ability to make small wins which have the potential to put us on track to get where we want to be.