How To Max Your Productivity And Achieve Your Goals
It's time to quit making those empty Sunday-evening promises, y'all.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday....wait – it's already freakin' Friday? I bet you told yourself on Sunday evening that this was gonna be your week. You're gonna work hard, you're gonna be organized and efficient, and you're gonna move one step closer to achieving your goals. But it's already Friday, and the reality hits you harder than an ice bucket challenge to the head that you wasted your week – or even eight months of your year – on Netflix, after-work beers and I'll-do-it-tomorrows.
Before you beat yourself up too hard about it or make yourself yet another empty Sunday-evening promise to “double your work efforts next week,” take a step back and join me on my rad virtual high horse; it's time to rewind and take a look at exactly where you've been going wrong.
Your to-do list is way too long
Picture this: it's fall 2017 and you've got your hands on one of Gucci's statement collection pieces. You're so sold on the Star Trek campaign references, you accessorize your favorite new dress by painting your entire face iridescent green and fucking owning that moon walk all the way to your big sister's baby shower. Sorry to have to tell the imaginary you this, but unless she's about to give birth to ET, you've taken this way too far: less is more.
Getting things done doesn't mean squeezing everything into one day. A few tasks, well-done, totally trumps 10 sub-standard multi-tasking rush jobs, and the sense of impending productivity doom is reduced to bite-sized comparative bliss. Be honest to yourself; cut your to-do list in half and shift your focus to the things that matter the most. If it helps you to stay motivated, you can even set yourself manageable mini deadlines for each.
You're a slow starter
Slow and steady only wins the race if you actually leave the start line when you're supposed to; the fabled tortoise didn't spend two hours procrastinating on his Facebook timeline before whipping out his kangaroo shoes and absolutely caning it past the world's most arrogant hare to the finish line.
Ban yourself from all distractions and jump straight into tackling your most challenging tasks before lunch while you're still feeling fresh and running on the morning fuel. Save meetings or less-important tasks for the afternoon, by which time you'll have already moved somewhere with your day. You won't even notice it, but this way you're already adding an important sense of structure and purpose to your day – i.e a fucking schedule.
You don't know how to reward yourself
Oh you do, do you? My guess is that you're better at treating yourself than rewarding yourself – there's a huge difference. Put yourself back into your gaudy childhood overalls and remember how hard you pushed yourself that time to not to cut off your annoying sister's pigtail so that you'd still be able to go for an ice cream later with grandma.
Remember those mini deadlines I talked about earlier? If you achieve your task by the set time, you can give yourself a mini reward too – whether that's granting yourself a window for catching up on social media notifications, grabbing yourself a coffee and a muffin or taking yourself out for lunch. If you don't complete the task in hand, don't reward yourself – simple as that. Social media has never felt so motivating.
You don't believe in yourself enough
Courage is the ultimate productivity hack – believe me, I'm the master of putting things off because I believe they're too challenging, too risky, too far out of my comfort zone. There's a reason why gritty people generally get further in just about any aspect of life: because they are persistent enough to keep going even on the bad days when those niggling doubts rear their ugly heads. Check out this awesome Ted Talk on the power of passion and perseverance to learn more about the science.
Instead of splitting your attention among different projects and not giving any of them the attention they need to actually succeed, ignore your but-that-might-not-work voice and put your heart and soul into the most important one. Stop being afraid of the irrational monster under the bed you've nicknamed Failure. There's a huge chance that your work will pay off and you'll start to accomplish your goal, but if you do end up failing, it's really not the end of the world – rather, an invaluable lesson for future progress. Just check out this inspiring list of celebrities who famously failed on their way to the top. Don't be scared: BE BOLD.