Secret #1: Create A Plan
Start by making a strategic plan for the things that don’t have built-in accountability and therefore get procrastinated when you get busy. You can start by experimenting with making a short plan from now until the end of the month (or week or quarter, whatever works best for you).
It’s a simple process: 1) list your goals for the remainder of the month, 2) map out all the steps that are needed to complete your goals, and 3) figure out when that work will get done. Once your plan is in place, work the plan day-to-day by getting organized and determine what specific day and time the work will get done.
Secret #2: Work At It Every Day
Establishing a daily practice is at the core of your success. There’s no two ways about it, the most productive people chip away at it every day in small increments instead of waiting for big blocks of un-interrupted time that may or may never happen. Any activity that moves you one step closer to accomplishing your goals (planning, asking for help, learning more so you can improve, delegating when necessary, etc.) is better than doing nothing at all. This way it reduces anxiety & stress and stimulates new ideas. Most people have heard this advice before, but there’s a big difference between KNOWING something and actually DOING it. So set a timer, get down to business and then you can decide for yourself: are you more productive or less productive when you do a little bit every day?
Secret #3: Join A Supportive Community Of Daily Writers
Another key to success is having a built-in community of people who are all committed to supporting one another. The mistake people often make is that they join forces with people who are highly competitive and don’t support one other. So make sure that you have a support group that can help you with whatever is keeping you from being productive, whether it be your fears, your anxieties and/or your impostor syndrome. In a supportive community you can get real about your stuff, deal with it, see how normal it is, and manage it so it doesn’t keep you from operating at your highest potential.
Secret #4: Commit To Regular Accountability
The core challenge of getting busy is that the things that matter the most to your long term success have the least built-in accountability while your day-to-day activities (chores, parenting, etc.) have high built-in accountability on a daily basis. As adults, we tend to orient our behavior towards what we will be held accountable for on that day. This tendency leads many people to spend disproportionate amounts of time on “regular stuff”. Instead you should be working to disrupt this pattern by teaching how to align your time with your evaluation criteria. To do that, you must create accountability structures that make you feel the same way about getting your daily activities done that you do about preparing for your “regular” commitments.
Secret #5: Find Dedicated Mentors
I cannot underestimate how important it is to have dedicated mentors in & outside of their career network. By dedicated mentors, I mean people who know how to interact with you as a “coach”. They should have experience, are available, support you, believe in you, have the ability to focus entirely on you, and are open, honest and direct in helping you to get un-stuck. If you don’t have someone already, who do you know that can serve in that role for you moving forward? Even if it’s just between now and the end of the month, try to imagine who could be a dedicated mentor for you so that when you get stuck, you can have a conversation to get un-stuck.
I think you can imagine how employing all 5 of these secrets at once can lead to explosive productivity! But even picking ONE of these secrets can help you be more productive than continuing to utilize strategies that don’t work (like hoping for big blocks of time, isolating yourself, or beating yourself up repeatedly over what you have not done). Just pick a supportive mechanism, commit to it, make the shift, and see what happens.
Let me know how this works out for you by responding in the comments section below –