I hear many clients and friends say that “they are all over the place” and I have been there many times too: so much to do that nothing gets done. The mountain of “stuff” seems too high to climb, so we just hang out in the valley all week, wasting time on Facebook, youtube, TV, etc. It happens to the best of us J But the problem arises when what positive psychology calls “psychic entropy” sets in—basically the less stimulated our mind becomes (i.e. watching mindless television), the less motivated we become to do anything. Ever say, “Gee, I just laid around all day and for some reason I’m exhausted!”—that’s what I’m talking about! Lol I have done it many times.
So with the idea of increasing productivity and the possibility for creativity, I came up with a tool that works for me to keep me accountable and on task, and I thought I would share it.
Though I am not a big fan of “waiting until Monday” to begin anything, I do think that the beginning of the week can act as a good reset button.
Every Monday morning I wake up about 30 minutes earlier than usual, get a big coffee and put down on paper my goals for the week.
This is a habit I have gotten into in the last year, and I did it because a) I was getting too overwhelmed with so many things to get done in the week that I would do nothing and b) I would always forget everything that needed to get done, and once I remembered things it was later in the week and I would be left scrambling. This is what I call my “Monday Checklist” and it is super-simple to put together, and a great way to keep you focused and on task for the week, and not overwhelmed. In fact, getting a single important thing done every day (though it doesn’t seem like much) adds up to a whole lot! It helps to maintain your focus and makes you feel and BE more productive. The more productive we feel, the more empowered and encouraged we are too keep being productive (“an object in motion stays in motion; an object at rest stays at rest!”) Even completing this chart makes me feel productive lol!
Here are the rules for creating your own:
Break your page down into 4 columns, and 7 rows, like this:
- Allow yourself AT MOST 2 tasks per column per day
- You might even have a couple days where columns aren’t full (in other words, don’t just write unnecessary tasks in just for the sake of filling stuff in)
- Don’t write in regular weekly occurrences like personal training clients, fitness classes, a weekly meeting, etc (these should go in a traditional day planner)
- In the “Physical Column” I write my workout for the day, easiest part
- In the “Biz/Work Column” I write my 1 or 2 tasks for that day. I personally break my days up using “block time” so that I can be more productive—both throughout the day, like 10am-12pm for example, and also decide which days will be what—i.e. Saturdays are days for shooting videos.
- In the “Mental/Emotional” column, I frequently write the same thing for several days in a row. For example, perhaps it is a book I am currently reading, and I will write “Read X book 30 min in bed” and I will do that for 3-4 nights in a row so that I can keep my mental space focused on a single topic for a time.
Don’t overcomplicate this. It is super-simple, and if you feel like you “don’t have enough” on your checklist, then that is a good sign. That means that there is a good chance you will complete everything! Plus, if you get everything on it done, you can feel accomplished and perhaps even start on the next day’s project. One of the reasons sometimes we feel unproductive is because we OVERschedule ourselves and many times become overwhelmed with a seemingly endless to-do list. This allows for you sustain productivity week in and week out.
This solution has worked for me, and hopefully it will be useful for you too! Good luck! ox Jill