How to be more productive is something that I have been working recently. Often, I got overwhelmed by the number of tasks that accumulate on my day-to-day, and I didn’t know where to start. After doing some research on this topic and testing some framework, I found what works for me. With this article, I would like to share with you a method that helps me.
1. Set your goals
The first step is defining what your objectives are and set your intention. A useful method to identify your goals is defining SMART Goals. The SMART Goals acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic and Time-bound. This method will help you to determine what and how you are going to do it.
Specific: What exactly will you do? The goal must describe an observable action, behaviour or result. The less specific a goal, the more difficult it is to determine how long the goal should take to complete or how to measure success. For instance, let’s compare these two goals: “Get healthy” and “Lose ten pounds”. The goal to get healthy is much less specific than a goal to lose ten pounds
Measurable: How would you know if you achieve your goal? What data will measure the goal? What determines success? Think a way to measure your progress; it would help you to see how close you are to accomplish your goal. For example, the goal “Lose weight” is difficult to measure, a much better goal would be: “I want to lose 10 pounds.”
Achievable: Is the goal doable? For example: “Making 1 million Pounds by the end of the month” is impossible if your only income is 3000 pounds. Maybe an achievable goal is “Saving 1000 pounds per month.”
Relevant: Why is this goal important? In this step, you will identify how important the goal is to you and what you can do to make it attainable. For example, “I want to earn 150k pounds a year because I want to have financial freedom, save for retirement and travel around the world”.
Time-Bound: What is the deadline for accomplishing the goal? If you don’t set a time limit, you have unlimited time to achieve your goals. When you have a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and you are more likely to achieve your goals. So whenever you set a goal, keep a time limit in mind as it will push you to work on it. Keep the timeline realistic and flexible; that way you can keep morale high.
An example would be “I want to have 10,000 followers”, this goal could take years. However, if I say, “I want to have 10,000 followers before November”, there is a deadline, and I can evaluate my progress every day. It helps to see what actions can be taken to reach the goal.
2. Set a strategy.
Now that you know what you want to do, the next step is to identify how you are going to do it. What will be the plan that will help you to achieve your goal? What works for me at this stage is breaking down the goal in small subtasks. For example, if the goal is “Create my website and have it online for the end of June” I would divide it into the following subtasks:
- Define the content
- Design the template
- Purchase a Domain Name and a Hosting
- Develop the website
- Preview and test your website
Another important thing is to define when you are going to do it. I would recommend you go and block in your calendar time to work on this.
3. Take action
At this stage, it is all about execution. Focus on one thing at the time and start to work in your goal. I use Kanban as a tool to keep the focus on what is crucial to achieving the task. Kanban is a method for managing workflow with an emphasis on continuous delivery.
The workflow is represented in a board with three columns: TODO, DOING and DONE. Your task is describing in a card that contains a description of you want to achieve. All the cards are under the TODO column. When you start to work in a specific card, you have to move it under the DOING column and when you finish move it again under the DONE column
Kanban helps you to visualise your work, by creating a visual model where you can observe the flow of work moving through the board. It also contributes to focus on one thing, the task under DOING column. You cannot start a new card before complete the work in progress.
This method is especially useful to keep the focus on work and prevent from getting distracted with other things.
Analise what went well, to continue doing and what went bad to learn from your mistake. You can create your methodology and make iteration over it.