Life today moves faster than ever. Our to-do lists grow exponentially each day, but the time seems to pass by too quickly to get everything done. We are constantly stimulated from every angle, with smart phones, television and computers, while our productivity is at an all time low. For an ambitious person, feeling unproductive can be extremely frustrating. If you feel like you are not reaching your goals, or living up to your potential, try these tips to get back on the right track.
- Slow down. Running around trying to do everything at once will only make you feel overwhelmed. Take time to relax each day, take a few deep breaths, and calm your mind. Have at least an hour each day without any technology. This could be going for a walk, exercising, playing with the kids, reading a book, or writing a journal.
- Clarify your goals. Often the reason we are not getting what we want is because we are not clear about our purpose. Take time to sit and really think about what it is you want to achieve. Ask yourself why you want it, and what it will mean to you if you achieve it. Be really clear about your purpose. You may have a purpose in life, a purpose each year, a purpose each week or a purpose each day. Write your goals out and revisit them regularly to make sure you are on track.
- Prioritise. We all know this is key to productivity but we often don’t know how to do it properly. An easy way to prioritise is by making lists and scheduling tasks. Write the things you need to do this week, then allocate tasks to each day. You should have no more than three main tasks per day, any more than this and you are setting yourself up for failure. At the start of each day, list your tasks in order of importance, and start with the most important one first. Allocated a certain amount of time for each task, but be realistic. Don’t give yourself 3 hours for a task that should only take 1 – you will find yourself wasting time.
- Positive thinking. When we are not achieving our goals, it is easy to get stuck in negative thought patterns. “I can’t do it”, “It’s too hard”, and “I will never be able to do it”, may sound familiar to you. The key is to not let every set back get you down. Focus on your strengths and celebrate every little win. Feeling guilty every time you fail to tick off items on your to-do list will only bring you down. Remind yourself that you did your best and try again tomorrow, perhaps with a modified time frame. It’s ok to let yourself off the hook sometimes!
- Ask for help. There is no shame in reaching out to those who are willing to help you. Exhaust your resources, call on mentors, learn from others. A support network of people who believe in you and your goals will provide a source of strength when things get tough.