Have you ever taken time to figure out how much you are or aren’t able to do in a month, a week or a day?
For a long time, I had general goals that I wanted to accomplish. I had long term timelines that weren’t broken down into short term deadlines. The problem with this was that I still ended up accomplishing much but not as much as I had the capacity or desire to. Somewhere along the line, this became evident and I had to refine my strategy. I needed to become more productive and for the improvement to show in my daily routine.
I implemented some changes and these have helped me become more efficient in the way I do things. In line with that, I would like to share the 5 things that have helped me become more productive in a month:
1. Plan Ahead
Always plan ahead. In my (former) doctor’s office, I used to see a sign on one of the walls. It read, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It’s a catchy phrase, yes. But beyond that, it highlights the importance of planning if you want to be more productive. What would you like to achieve in the specific month? Why would you like to achieve it? Are there benefits of hitting the mark or consequences of missing it?
For me, there can be no planning without prayer (Proverbs 19:21). I need divine guidance and wisdom before I can commit to achieve anything (Proverbs 3:5-6). I also need to be empowered to do whatever it is I need to do. Finally, I need to leave the final result to God because I know come what may, that all things are working for my good (Romans 8:28). I wrote about how integral prayer is in this post.
In the process of planning, I write down everything that I need to do or achieve in the coming month. Write the vision plainly (Habakkuk 2:2).
2. Be Realistic
I absolutely love the word ‘potential.’ It points to endless possibilities and the ability to achieve just about anything. I also have a problem with the same word because of how (to a certain extent) it has been used to mislead. In its endless possibilities, it also introduces the notion that we can do anything and everything within whatever time-frame we so desire. However, the truth is that we have limitations and we need to recognize and embrace them to a certain extent. Before you start throwing stones, I don’t mean accept and be content with your limitations. I mean, identify them and work within reasonable time-frames to improve yourself and refine your goals. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
So as you set your goals or schedule your tasks, remember the SMART acronym. In being realistic, you don’t set yourself up for failure. You commit to what is practically achievable in the 28-32 days within the month. Don’t over-commit. I repeat, do not over-commit.
3. Break Down the Tasks
Now that you have the skeleton in place, it’s time to put some meat on the body. To do this, break down the various goals, tasks or objectives into smaller portions. Apportion the tasks among the weeks in the month. Prioritize what needs to be done first and work your way down the list. Ensure that each objective is measurable. This way, you can then plan for every week and day before it starts knowing that every task builds onto another in the bigger picture.
I have found this to be especially important for entrepreneurs or anyone who has the autonomy in their line of work. One can easily forget smaller or minor tasks and focus on the major ones. Eventually, this affects the macro system because these smaller tasks actually matter in the bigger plan.
4. Check in Periodically
With a complete plan, what’s left is to hit the ground running. Start every day and week with the vision of what needs to be achieved. In the course of your day or week, check in periodically. Skim through your to-do list. Check off what you have managed to achieve and strategize on how you can achieve what’s left on the list. Is the initial plan still feasible? Do you need to tweak something?
Personally, noon is my check-in time. I get a snapshot of the morning and an idea of how my afternoon needs to look like. In order for me to be more productive, it helps to confirm that I am on the right track.
5. Reward Yourself
Finally, live a little! Reward yourself!
Personally, I take time to thank God at the end of every day, week or month. (Philippians 4:6). I recognize that I cannot do anything on my own. After this, I reward myself in little ways. It could be a cup of ice cream, a pair of sneakers or even a day off. The reward varies based on different factors. you can choose your own idea of a reward as long as it doesn’t backtrack you in your journey. I mean, you can’t be out here eating a whole pizza at the end of every week if your goal is to lose 3kgs by the end of the month, aye?
These 5 ways to become more productive are not the only ones out there. I thought I would share a few things that have worked for me in the hope that they might help someone else. If you do pick up a thing or two, please let me know if it works for you.
HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS THROUGHOUT THE MONTH? DO YOU HAVE SPECIFIC THINGS YOU DO TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION 🙂