I would venture to say that all of us have goals and dreams in life. There are things you want to check off the To Do List each day and there are goals you want to achieve in one or five years.
Sometimes you finish projects and achieve your goals earlier than expected, but many times you're sitting in front of the computer at 3 PM in the afternoon wondering what the heck you've accomplished all day. This is exactly how I felt today, hence the inspiration for this post.
I guess I shouldn't be so hard on myself because most days I do consider myself to be very productive. In fact, it's difficult for me to just sit around.
I don't claim to be a productivity guru, but these are the things I personally have done for many years to achieve goals and become a more successful entrepreneur.
Every morning I take at least 10 minutes before I start my day to meditate and clear my mind before it gets bombarded with emails and thoughts about tasks that need to get done. I have a playlist on YouTube that contains guided morning meditations plus videos with positive affirmations. Starting your day with a positive mindset trains your brain to expect the best. My mind is more calm and less susceptible to distractions.
2. Work on long term goals every day
I recommend making a list of your priorities and figuring out what matters the most. I used to try to set some time aside after I've done my daily tasks to work on my long term goals, but then I found myself procrastinating at the end of the day. Then I started a new habit of doing 15-30 minutes at the beginning of the day to work on those goals. Once I made that small change to my daily routine, I built up the momentum and energy towards accomplishing those big, life-changing goals.
3. Set a time restriction on social media and TV
These are probably the most common distractions for most people. As someone whose job is social media I can tell you that it takes a great deal of discipline not to become distracted by all the information I see on a daily basis. I'm much better now than when I started 12 years ago because I give myself a set amount of time each day to post and check all the social accounts I manage. The same goes for TV, although I do catch myself binging sometimes.
4. Get organized
"If you see distraction externally, you end up creating an internally distracted state."On a typical day, how much time do you spend looking for something? Do you have stacks and stacks of papers scattered around your desk calling your name every time you look at them? I don't know about you, but it's very challenging to work with clutter surrounding me. I'll see stacks of bills that need to get paid, magazines that I've been meaning to read, or other miscellaneous things I want to do starting to clutter my mind, which leads to this feeling of overload.
– Tim Ferriss
Mikael Cho wrote a highly informative article over at LifeHacker about how clutter affects your brain.
5. Take inspired action
In my experience it's better to take inspired action as opposed to forced action. Many productivity gurus will tell you to set a deadline for a goal, and while I think that's great advice, I don’t think you can apply it to every goal. If you feel pressure to meet your deadline, it could hinder your creativity and you may not produce your best work. Of course, you may not have a choice when it comes to client projects, but in those circumstances it's probably better to have a timeline with mini goals.
There are times when I go through writing or painting blocks when I feel my creativity is just blah, so sometimes all it takes is reading other blogs or looking at other people's art to feel inspired. The ideas and words seem to just flow easier.
Getting things done really is an art form that is fueled by positive daily habits. Which of these steps have you incorporated in your life to be more productive?