Your Roadmap to Productivity: How to Get Things Done
Do you find yourself overloading your brain with things you have to do? Sticky notes are great, but they will only get you so far in organization.
I've had clients tell me the following:
'I usually have twenty to-do items on my list, but I can never get to all of them in one day, and I beat myself up for it.'
'I set unrealistic expectations for myself, thinking I can get it all done, and when I don't, I feel like a failure.'
'I don't get me-time even when it's on my to-do list. I jump around my list of tasks and get distracted.'
Do any of these resonate with you?
The problem here is not time-management, as most would think! The issue is this: How can you be the most productive? The solution is found in creating an efficient system that works for you so you can get things done.
Being a working woman with a family myself, I found it difficult to get things done and pursue my passion at the same time. I used to have the very same frustrations that my clients have shared with me, but finally I found a system that worked.
My Road Map
Imagine you are going on a road trip. You already have your destination in mind.
However, to get there, you first have to hop onto a major highway, take a secondary highway, and then exit onto a street that finally leads you to your destination. You park your car in the parking lot. Notice how your roadways got chunked down as you reached your goal.
I use this analogy to map my yearly goals. Just as a highway has two to three lanes, I chunk down my yearly goals into 90-day goals. Each lane is considered a 90-day chunk (except September to December). I tend to stay away from creating new goals in July and August because I'd like to do less during that time.
For that 90-day period, I print out a calendar for each month (for example, the months of January, February and March) and stick it on the wall behind my computer.
Now the time has come to get onto the secondary highway, which means chunking down your tasks further into weekly tasks. At this stage, I look at my week and write down any commitments I already have, but I also make a list of things that have to be done or delegated to my team.
If you notice in the example below, I only have five things that I have delegated to myself. If I were to add more, I'd just overwhelm myself and procrastinate or feel like a failure because I wasn't able to get them all done.
I do the same for my 90-day goals. I pick only one to two major projects I'd like to work on alongside everything else I do. Similarly, for your week, only choose five to seven major tasks that are delegated to you.
On your road trip, you're almost approaching your destination, and it's now time to take the exit that will lead you to your destination. This exit is usually a street and it's even smaller than the secondary highway; in fact, it's only one lane, which means you can only fit in so much.
At this point, I take my tasks from the weekly planner and assign days to the tasks. This is where the printed calendar on my wall comes in handy.
Now that my week is filled up on my wall calendar, it's time to chunk it down even further!
As you get to your destination, you swing in and park your car in the parking lot. Similarly, I park my tasks for the day into specific timeslots alongside any other commitments I already have. This is important for the following two reasons:
- I'm training my brain to see the task and to go get it done. If I see it on my agenda, I'll do it.
- I'm learning how to hold myself accountable.
You may be thinking: 'What happens if I can't get to my task or if an emergency occurs and I can't get to it?'
Life will throw curve balls at you; this happens sometimes to me, too. One of my major goals this year was to record my audio book. Fortunately, the project started according to plan, but after three chapters in, I was told by my audio editor that I have to start all over again!
I have moved this goal into August now because I'm visiting family in July. Yes, I'm sad that it's taking longer than expected, but I have to accept that I can only do so much; plus, I can always schedule it for another week or month, knowing I can get it done if I make it a priority.
It's time to get organized and efficient so you can accomplish your goals instead of having stress and anxiety. It's time to get out of this vicious cycle of feeling like you never get things done to now having the flow and freedom that comes when you are in control of your life.