You look out at the week ahead, an expanse of unfilled time, and imagine all the things you are going to accomplish. Then the week ends and you look back on a pile of things that for one reason or another didn’t get to the finish line. Day after day, week after week you just can’t seem to match your intentions with your accomplishments.
The problem is, without taking concrete steps to implement them, plans in your head are too vague to consistently see the light of day. In order to be successful a plan in your head needs to be concretized, somewhere you can actually see it written down every day. That starts with a bit of pre-planning.
Plan monthly accomplishments
In the process of working towards weekly goals, it helps to step back and look at the bigger picture. What are your goals for the entire month ahead? Write them down. Now put them in a priority list. Some people like to use planners, some have a white board by their desk, some have stickies on their computer (virtual or actual). The point is they need to stare back at you every day to keep you accountable.
Break down each goal
Now that you have your prioritized list of what you are going to accomplish, create an action plan for each one. This is where you get specific. By taking the time to really think this through you are already setting your mind into accomplishment mode.
Create a weekly schedule
Take your action plan for each goal and break it down into a weekly do-to list for the month. This is where plans meet action. It’s overwhelming to think about a large overall goal. It’s much easier when you look at it in digestible weekly bites.
Make a daily plan
Productivity is all about specificity. At the beginning of the week set daily timelines for each thing on that week’s plan. That makes it simple. It’s 10:00 time to do X.
Adjust your plan accordingly
At the end of the week review your performance. If there’s anything that you didn’t manage to finish reschedule it into the to-do list for the following week. Planning out the week in advance and reviewing your progress is what will keep you on task and productive. In this way you’ll be able to make productivity a habit!