It’s the new year and time for a fresh start. I want you to think of all those items that you said you’d get done after the holidays. Well, the holidays are over so it’s time to tackle your to-do list and make progress on setting new goals and habits for a productive 2019.
Use A Timer
This is my all-time favorite tip that I share with everyone. Several years back I had a waitressing job for a few months and LOVED it!! It was then that I learned how much I thrive on the challenge of getting things done on a deadline. When I took a customer’s order it was my job to get that plate to their table as quickly and accurately as possible. I was being timed.
There is something that happens in our brains when we are on a deadline even if it’s one that we’ve created.
I can’t help but think this is the reason many of us procrastinate. We like the rush we get when we take things down to the wire and manage to accomplish them on time.
We feel the pressure of the clock ticking and our actions speed up to ensure that we make it on time.
The timer also forces us to focus on the task at hand. No time for distractions because we know those use up valuable time.
Also, take note of how you begin to prioritize and sort things efficiently. Perhaps putting everything that goes into another room into a separate pile so that you can take it all at once.
So next time you’re tackling a task that you don’t like, set a timer and see if you can beat it. I guarantee it will force you to focus, you’ll forget about the mundane task at hand and accomplish it before the timer dings.
A Little Treat To Keep You In Your Seat
There is ONE task that I truly dislike and that is going through a boring pile of paperwork. The one with insurance statements, junk mail disguised as something urgent, stuff from non-bill folks wanting my money, a super long letter from the bank detailing how they’re going to start charging my account an extra five bucks a month but I don’t actually know that until they do because I never read the letter.
You know the pile.
So, I have to find an incentive for myself to sit and sort through the mess.
A treat to keep me in my seat!
I have this jar near my desk of sugary bubble gum and I pop one in my mouth before I sit down to tackle that pile of papers.
Here’s the trick….I won’t allow myself to chew the gum unless I’m working on tasks that I don’t enjoy. If I chewed on that gum all day then it wouldn’t feel like a treat. Get what I’m saying?
There’s something about that little treat that helps me overcome my feelings about the mundane task at hand. Also, chewing that gum sometimes keeps my brain from seeking other distractions. It’s probably a right-left brain thing where one side is content with the gum chewing while the other side tackles the not-so-fun task at hand.
Try this and I promise you that something happens where you’ll actually start to look forward to dreadful tasks because of the simple pleasure that you allow yourself to have while working on it.
Have Others Keep You Accountable
I can be a bit of a people pleaser and will absolutely beat myself up if I don’t follow through on something that I promised someone. I have to keep this one in check BUT utilize it to work for me.
For instance, having my own business means I am my own boss yes….but it also means I don’t have anyone to keep me accountable except for clients. So, I use my clients to keep me accountable for tasks that I would normally procrastinate on such as creating a new resource for how to tackle paperwork. If I’ve told a client I will have it by next month I will get it done.
Now I know not everyone is like me in this area and if you’re one of them utilizing others to keep you accountable is still a great method.
Tell a trusted friend or family member about your goals and let them know you need them to check in on you and ask how your progress is coming along. Sometimes the anticipation of being asked is enough to get the task done.
This is essentially an accountability partner. So, perhaps you can do the same for them. You want to find someone who is not only goal-oriented but has a history of following through and keeping their word.
Give Yourself A Deadline
Do you know the days where you have nothing to do and so you get nothing done?
I actually schedule a day like this once in a while and let me tell ya it’s sooo good for the soul!!
Too many of these days can be quite the opposite. They can leave you with an array of sad, anxious, or depressed feelings because too many days of not getting stuff done will do that to you.
I’ve been in the workforce consistently for ten plus years. Before that, I was a military wife and we moved every two years. I would occasionally get a part-time job or take classes to work on my degree but overall I chose to be a stay-at-home-mom.
The days had a tendency to run together and I felt like a robot going through the motions of taking care of my family and home. I had a habit of starting projects but never getting them done.
What I realize looking back on those years is that two things would have helped me overcome those purpose-less feelings: having goals and giving myself deadlines for those goals.
The key is to start small, be realistic, and map it out on your calendar.
For instance, I’m starting a new project for the new year. So, in December I began working on it first thing in the morning, every single morning because I had a goal of January 1st to get it completed.
Creating an actual date, setting aside time in my daily schedule, and keeping the goal attainable helped me meet my deadline.
Schedule your daily activities to make enough time for what you’re working towards.
A quick tip for moms: look at your life as a CEO would look at his/her company and live like you’re running a corporation. Have a set schedule, delegate tasks, map out a direction for yourself and your family, and most importantly create deadlines for your projects.
Create A Space For Work
As a small business owner, I have learned the importance of having a dedicated work space for my business.
I’ve tried renting an outside office space and have also created a space in my home.
Don’t treat your work as you would a hobby and have things spread out. Be concise and create a space that is for work only. This way you are training your brain to get into work mode when you’re in the space.
Now, this isn’t only for work from home people. We ALL work from home in some regard. My husband has a full-time career outside our home but when he needs to focus on something he uses my office because it is set up to eliminate distractions. It’s truly so boring my kids don’t go in there. (Win!)
This means no cell phones (or at least turned off or to airplane mode) and I don’t have a phone charger in there for this very reason. It’s a space with a desk, computer, printer, some office supplies, and paperwork.
(My husband’s also adopted the jar of gum for his desk at work too. It works!!)
So, ready to tackle that list that you have been dreading?
It’s a NEW YEAR so go ahead and tackle those tasks!
You can do it!