How to be productive and use our time and potential effectively? That’s a question many of us are trying to answer for ourselves.
Here’s an easy to follow 5 steps guide that works for me.
1. What do I want to achieve? Set the goals!
Professionally or personally, short-term or longterm. Whether it’s an implementation of one work project or a few. A job transition, road trip or a house reconstruction. Specify your goal. What can you devote your time, energy, finances and effort to in the nearest future? What do you need to accomplish at the earliest? What can you do and want to?
Without proper goal setting that triggers our progress and goal achievement, we’re lost in the dark. Unable to make any stable and consistent progress and move closer to achieving what we desire.
2. Choose max 3 goals and 3 key priorities
If you selected a few goals — which ones are your key three? And which is the first, second, and third based on the importance?
You may have more tasks within each and every goal, the key ones — priorities are the inevitable ones. You should only keep three of them active at the time. Write all of the tasks within a specific goal down. And circle the priorities.
3. Plan yourself!
Look at your priorities as tasks and actions to be taken. How much time do you need to invest in each of them? How much time do you have at your disposal? When can you focus on them? When are you the most efficient? Approach these questions practically and assess how often can you devote the time for these tasks.
Create a plan of tasks — priorities — in a chronological order that lead to achieving your goal(s).
Always focus on 3 priorities at the time — based on their complexity, your availability and time investment, that could be — daily, weekly or monthly.
How long would it take you to accomplish the tasks fully? Draft your progress in the timeframe. Be as realistic as possible — anticipating rather more than less time for the goal achievement. As our super optimistic scenarios (assuming the task will be a ‘5-minute’ easy job) are often baseless.
You should end up with a draft plan with an estimated time frame to achieving each of your tasks, main priorities, and goals.
4. Monitor your progress
The plan serves as a template to compare your estimated progress and results with the actuals.
Follow your progress and map it regularly. Weekly and monthly — based on how big the goal and the tasks are.
Are you progressing as per the plan? Are you achieving the key tasks in the correct order? Have you not forgotten anything?
Mapping helps to drive productivity — especially when you have a list of tasks with an assigned deadline as a checklist on the paper or in your project diary.
Everything starts as a thought and even the most complex ones turn into successfully accomplished projects and goals achieved — by the right amount of effort made and consistent work.
I am similarly leveling up my goals and tasks. Starting with first selecting the goals to be achieved, then breaking them down to simple tasks based on priorities — prioritizing based on the importance, urgency, and a final impact. And planning the tasks and actions ahead to meet efficiency, while monitoring my progress, so the actions taken are taken on time and with the desired quality.
This approach has always led me to success.
Are you working similarily? What approach works for you?