We all have big dreams and want to fully utilise the 24 hours we get daily to get closer to them but most of us keep falling deeper into the pit of unproductivity each day. Anyone would prefer a good sleep, time out with their friends or a binge-watching session. We chalk out our plans but while our work waits for us we endlessly and mindlessly scroll through our social media feeds.
Are you a planner or a doer? Do you and keep wishing to turn things around and get back on track to achieve all those life goals or new year resolutions or have they been carried forward to the next year?
I have some pro tips which will help you break your streak of laziness and get back to working towards fulfilling your goals without making it seem like a huge task!
1. Keep a habit tracker handy
Think of all those activities that you’ve been planning to make a part of your routine, list them down in your first column. Mark the other columns as the days of the month. Every day that you accomplish the tasks, put a big tick in the respective checkbox and every day that you fail to do so, put an equally big cross. This will give you a quick overview of your monthly performance. When you notice the streak of crosses along a line, you are automatically motivated to do that activity (even if it is just for the sake of putting a tick).
Use themes like ‘health’, ‘work’, ‘relations’, ‘academics’, ‘personal’ or anything else you like to make your habit tracker more inclusive.
You will notice the difference that comes from using a habit tracker in your very first month! Print a free downloadable tracker or draw customised versions of it. Get creative and colourful or keep it simple but I can assure you that making use of a habit tracker is guaranteed to change your life.
2. The classic ‘to-do list’ saves the day
This might be the biggest cliché but to-do lists work wonders to improve your productivity. It is the ultimate productivity tip that works but there is a catch!
Contrary to general practice, to-do lists shouldn’t be made in the morning but the previous night instead, possibly just before going to bed. This helps you realistically plan for the next day and even takes the stress off your mind before you fall asleep. You have the next day’s work cut out for you before you wake up. Thus, you can be more present and focus on your morning tasks in a much better fashion without the hurry or guilt to get to your work the moment you wake up.
We all have experienced that thrill of striking things off these lists. These small feelings of success can boost your motivation. You would often see a domino effect ultimately leading you to accomplish more tasks for the day than you would have otherwise.
You can check out this guide if you want to learn how to make a good checklist!
3. Use the timeboxing method
Making a to-do list surely works but the secret ingredient for making the best to-do lists ever lies in the method of timeboxing. This method helps you shift from ‘task-based thinking’ to ‘time-based thinking’.
We often end up being stuck to a task we had mentally given possibly an hour or so to. At the end of the day, we look back frustrated having accomplished nothing but that one task (and sometimes not even that one). The best way to prevent this block is to dedicate a premeditated duration for something also called making a timebox.
Schedule your tasks and even breaks by determining a start and end time for each and stick to it with great discipline. Writing the time allocated for a task next to it in your to-do list will enhance its efficacy.
Additional tip: Do not use round figures while timing yourself. This will intercept your brain from evading the deadline and will increase your chance to stick to it. So, instead of saying “I’ll read a book from 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm,” say “I’ll read from 9:35 pm – 10:40 pm.”