Ever invest an entire day (week, month or year) answering emails, reading reports and fielding phone calls only to end up feeling you didn’t really accomplish anything.
To make progress on the things that really matter to you—and not just spend all your time managing mindless minutia—you must be:
- clear about your goals,
- skilled at prioritizing the related tasks and
- rigorous about minimizing the many distractions that could divert you from your authentic path.
Here are a few tips to help you in this process.
- Slow down before you start.
Taking 5 minutes (or even ONE) to get centered before starting your workday will improve your productivity by at least 30%. Set a timer, close your eyes and focus on your breath. Once your time is up, dive in.
- Refocus on your TRUE goals.
It is easy to get caught up with all of the expectations placed on you by others. Take a few moments to write down what you would like to accomplish this year, this month, this week, this day, this hour. When you structure your tasks around your core values and priorities, your work will feel more meaningful.
- Remove distractions.
Remove or turn off all the things that will create distractions for you. This could be
your electronic devices, the TV, the dishes or a small child. Either remove the distraction or remove yourself so you can focus on the tasks at hand.
- Maybe email can wait.
Opening your inbox can feel like stepping into a firefight. You can quickly become deluged with others’ expectations and demands. Many find that taking time to accomplish a few steps toward their own priorities before handling correspondence helps them feel happier and more productive throughout the day. Or conversely, some find that a strict 15 minute perusal of email for true emergencies first thing in the morning allows them to release anxiety about potential calamities, so they can focus on their priorities knowing that disaster is not looming elsewhere.
- Keep your commitments.
Many of us are diligent about keeping our commitments to others, but have little or no respect for commitments we make to ourselves. Breaking commitments to yourself sends a message that you and what you value doesn’t really matter. To change this demoralizing and self-sabotaging habit, learn to set small “baby step” goals, complete them, appreciate your progress and give yourself a pat on the back. After a short while, your empowering new habit of baby step/gratitude/celebrate/repeat will help you make real progress toward the life you dream of living.
- Stay tuned to the universal frequency.
A plan uses your current intuition and logic to discern where to go and what to do next. The key is to respect your plan while staying open to the Universe for additional insights. Rigid adherence to your plan can be just as undermining as disrespecting it totally. You will learn over time how to recognize the difference between fear-fueled procrastination and love-fueled percolation. When in doubt, set an intention for greater clarity, then relax and go about your business. Without fail, the Universe will respond.
What will YOU do to clarify, honor and advance your authentic agenda TODAY?