With a new year beginning, it’s time to do some reflection and projection. What’s hot and what’s not? Did you accomplish all that you set out to do in the past year?
Take some time away from your normal hustle and do some reflection. Write down the things that you accomplished or goals you met for the year. Then think about the things you wished you would have done, or things you could have done better. You don’t want to beat yourself up over these things, but learn from them and make strategic changes.
Once you have gathered this valuable information, you are ready to project your vision for the new year. “But wait!”, you say. Isn’t this article about productivity? Yes! You have just accomplished #1 on my list!
Have a Plan
With reflection and projection notes in hand, you are ready to plan out your goals for the new year. After making a list of things you want to accomplish, try to break those down into “bite-sized” actionable items. What actions will I take to accomplish each goal? You have to PLAN to move yourself in the direction of your GOAL.
Make a Schedule
Most of us these days are either working from home or are working within flexible hours. This means, we need to make sure we are getting results during the time we have. In order to be the most productive, we need to schedule out our time. Do you struggle with trying to stay focused on a task, because your to-do list is constantly circling around your brain? If you had those things scheduled out, you would be able to tell your brain, “I have an appointment for that later!”
Know your Energy Cycles
We all know that each one of us operates differently. The beauty have having independent work schedules, is being able to listen to your body and plan your work during your peak energy or focus time. If you haven’t noticed before, start paying attention to when your best focus time is. What time of day are you able to really dig in and get things accomplished? This is when you should plan your biggest tasks, or your most creative.
Know your Productivity Environment
In addition to WHEN you work, WHERE you work is critical. Do you work best around others or with activity going on around you? Or do you prefer solitude and silence? Again, we are all different creatures who have different built-in structures for productivity. Find out what your optimal environment is, and try to create that space for your work time.
Power through the Down Time
Within your energy cycle is the down part of the cycle. It’s there for a reason, but you need to learn what helps your body get through it with the most benefit to you and your work. Powering through could mean you need a quick power nap. Some of us can benefit greatly with just a few minutes of rest to rejuvenate us. While others need to hit the gym or take a walk to wake up and power up. Plan these times into your schedule so you won’t get derailed by your cycle’s down slope.
Know your Strengths
Especially for small-business owners, it’s helpful to know what activities are the ones YOU need to do in order to make your business successful. Where is YOUR expertise? Most likely, you will need to accomplish a lot of other tasks as well, in order to keep your business flowing. But sometimes, you need to get help in areas you are weak, or in tasks that take you away from your money-making work. This could be help from technology, help from a friend or loved one, or actually hiring help. Contemplate all of these options if you find yourself unable to accomplish IT ALL. Don’t feel defeated! You’re just learning to manage your time wisely, so you can be the most productive. This is a necessary step in growing your business.
Keep your Focus
After you get yourself going in a productive direction, you will need to plan how you will keep yourself staying the course. As your business or work progresses, there may need to be course corrections with unforeseen things that come up. The best habit to implement is the To-Do List. It’s simple but powerful! Find your best time to assign tasks for each new day. The night before or the morning of, write out the things you want to accomplish and add in the items leftover from the day before. It will help you stay focused and also bring a sense of satisfaction as you mark items off your list. It’s profound!
Here’s to a New Productive Year!