Productive or just busy?
If I'm always busy I must be productive right?
Not necessarily, productive people recognize the importance of focus on a few specific tasks until they are complete. Busy people tend to have many projects with no real priority given to one over another. While action is the most important piece of the success puzzle, simply taking action without clarity of purpose leads to stress, and eventual burn out often before those lofty goals are achieved.
The first step to being truly productive is to focus in on one or two big goals that would make the most difference in your life or work right now. Your goal may be to land a new job, write a book, double your impact in the world, double your income, or lose 20 pounds. Being productive means spending time on actions that will produce the desired outcome.
Whatever goal you set for yourself, make sure it is a S.M.A.R.T. goal to ensure that you will produce the outcome you want.
What is a S.M.A.R.T. goal?
Specific- this means the goal is clear and defined. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you want to determine the exact amount you plan to lose.
Measurable- Add a deadline by which you will achieve your goal.
Attainable- The goal needs to be something you can achieve within the timeframe you have set. For example, losing 20 pounds in one week is not an attainable goal if you wish to maintain your health.
Relevant- Make sure goals are aligned with your overall life purpose and your personal values.
Time-bound- Set a specific date for the completion of your goal to increase focus and motivation.
Here is an example:
Vague goal: Lose 20 lbs
SMART goal: I will lose 20 pounds by January 1, 2018 at 10am
Once you have set a specific time bound goal, take 5 small steps toward that goal every day until you have reached it.
Example of written action steps for the day:
1) Drink 8 glasses of water today
2) Go outside and walk at lunchtime
3) Enlist a friend to be my accountability partner at the gym
4) Clear out sugar laden processed food from the pantry
5) Pack a healthy lunch before bed so I don’t feel tempted to buy fast food at work tomorrow.
Some of your actions may be repeated daily and some may be one time actions. Just do 5 things everyday that move you in the direction of the outcome want to produce (even if they are very small).
Vague goals produce vague results. By creating specific, time-bound goals and taking daily action steps toward their achievement, you will see your productivity soar!