No matter what your goals are, in order to be successful, you’ve got to have a plan.
There aren’t many things that are more satisfying than getting to the end of the day, having accomplished everything on your to-do list. Or even better, getting to the end of the month, quarter, and year to find that you’ve hit most, if not, every goal you made for yourself.
Perhaps you want to pay off debt by a certain date and begin paying cash for everything. Maybe there’s a vacation you’ve always wanted to go on? Perhaps you want to get more organized in your life and not feel like you’re living in constant chaos. It may be that you want to set aside more time in your day for Jesus, exercise more often, or finally lose some weight.
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You don’t know what you don’t know
It was only a few short years ago that I finally learned how to successfully knock out my ever-growing to-do list.
I also had plenty of dreams, but they went no further than that because I had absolutely no idea how to go after them.
I didn’t know how to properly set goals, then intentionally schedule my day to accomplish them.
I would begin the day knowing everything that needed to be done around the house, but something always came up. I’d get sidetracked with yet another interruption and would never seem to get back to what I was doing.
Then the next thing I knew, it was time for dinner, baths, reading…you know, the night time routine, and I’d pour myself into bed each night exhausted, and think to myself, “Well, I failed again today! Guess I’ll try again tomorrow.”
Here’s the thing…I hadn’t failed at all.
I just didn’t know how to live intentionally. I was chasing everything that came up and never had a plan in place.
make A plan
Once I learned how to plan my days more strategically, something incredible began to happen.
That closet I’d been meaning to clean for years got done. The attic that so desperately needed to be purged got decluttered and organized!
I started crossing things off my to-do list every day. I continued to go to bed tired every night, but now it was a “job well done” kind of tired.
And the best part? Those “one-day dreams” that I had…I started living them! And oh, what an incredible feeling that was!
So, my friend, in order to get your to-do list done, in order to accomplish those dreams and goals you’ve always had, you simply need to learn how to be more intentional with your life.
We can’t just throw it all out there and hope the stars will align to meet those goals – well maybe a few lucky people can do that, but for most of us, we must have a strategy in place to make it happen.
That’s where learning to live more intentionally comes in to play.
“If you’re not in control of your time, you’re not in control of your success.” The 12 Week Year Brian P. Moran & Micheal Lennington
Today I’ve put together some important strategies that you can start right now to help you get more done!
How to set better Goals
In order to get anything done in life, you need to know the destination of where it is you want to go.
Consider the last trip you took. You probably didn’t just jump in the car and drive, but rather you got on the computer, planned the best route to take, and perhaps where you would stop along the way.
Unless you had time to kill, you wanted the most efficient route so that you could best maximize your time at your final destination.
It’s no different with your goals. If you want to reach a specific destination in your life, you have to map it out.
I highly recommend that you don’t rush through this process. Take the time to really consider what it is you’d like to accomplish. Dig deep and understand the reason you want to accomplish this goal.
The importance of “why”
Having an emotional attachment to why you want to achieve this goal will drive you when you’re ready to quit.
Is it something that will help you live more peacefully? Are you wanting to get out of debt so that you’re no longer controlled by your money? Maybe you want to lose weight to help you feel better and so that the clothes in your closet will fit again. Perhaps you want to downsize, and therefore need to clean out and organize the house.
There is a natural ebb and flow that you go through when you’re going after something new.
In the beginning, you’re excited to get going. That goal is fresh and new and you are brimming with excitement and ideas on how to achieve it, and you’re ready to pound the pavement to get it done.
And then you begin that quick descent into the valley and it becomes hard and downright messy. The newness of your goal wears off and now it’s taking everything you have to keep moving forward.
This is where having the emotional attachment to your goal is so incredibly important. If you don’t have a why, it’s going to be far easier for you to throw in the towel and quit.
Keep your goals front and center
Once you know the why of your goals, then it’s time to put them front and center.
Create a vision board, write the goals on a piece of paper and make it look pretty. Write it in your day planner, tape it to your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or to the dashboard of your car. Put it in a cute frame and have it on your bedside table and/or on your desk. Paste it on the home screen of your phone or computer. Make it a reminder on your phone every day.
Put that goal in front of you so that you can read it each and every day to keep you motivated and pushing forward when it gets tough and you’re ready to give up.
If you need help setting goals, I highly recommend our FREE Goal Crushing Action Plan. You’ll find it in our community library. Simply subscribe below to download it and get access to all of our FREE resources.
Being organized is key to getting stuff done. You want to make it as easy as possible for you to succeed.
A few things to help with this are having:
- A master list – Always have a large master list of things to be done. If you’re like me, this isn’t difficult because I always have an ever-growing list of tasks that need to be completed.
- Have a top 3 list for the day and don’t go to bed until they’ve been completed.
- Break each task down, and be specific on what is needed to complete it.
- Break bigger tasks into more manageable sub-tasks.
Plan your planning session
Now let’s put your goals to work!
If mapping out your goals is the first step in getting more done, scheduling your planning session is arguably just as important, so I urge you not to skip it!
Spend time once a week reviewing:
- What you accomplished the previous week.
- What needs to be done in the coming week.
Remember to break your goals down into tasks and be specific.
The more prepared you are, the more success you’ll see.
Let your goals manage your schedule
Use your goals as your manager.
Break them down into manageable steps so that you can easily accomplish them throughout the week.
For instance, let’s say your goal for the year is to declutter your entire house. You’ll simply need to break the house down by rooms/areas needing to be cleaned and organized. This week you may spend three blocks of time working in the spare room.
Once the week is over, if you’ve completed the spare room, move on to the next. If not, just continue the following week until that room has been finished.
As you’re writing your weekly and daily to-do list, ask yourself, “Does this task help me reach my goal?” If it doesn’t, then reassess how important it is in your daily plan.
I must admit, I have so much fun crossing off my tasks throughout the day. Some days I’m certain I can hear the soundtrack to Rocky playing in the background as I cross off that final task!
Eat that frog
Are you a procrastinator? Truthfully, this is one of my biggest weaknesses. There are certain things that I’ll put off as long as I can. If I’m being honest, I absolutely dread them!
But in the book, Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy, he recommends you eat your frog first thing in the morning, so that compared to eating a frog, the rest of the day will be super easy!
In other words, start your day with those tasks that you do not enjoy so that they are done and out of the way.
Since I began using this strategy, I’m getting far more done and definitely not procrastinating like I used to!
Plan for interruptions
There is no getting around it. You’re going to get interrupted at some point in your day, and I probably don’t have to tell you that they are a huge killer of your time.
Every time you’re interrupted, it takes 25-30 minutes to get refocused. Holy moly, that’s a whole lot of wasted time when you consider how often you get disrupted!
So instead of waiting until they happen, why not plan for them? After all, most of the time, the interruptions in your day aren’t true emergencies.
Here are some ways you can easily plan for them.
- Block a specific time in your schedule. Perhaps 30 minutes at the end of the morning and 30 minutes towards the end of the day to begin with. After a couple of weeks, you’ll start to see just how much time you’ll really need.
- When you’re working on a particular task, ignore the text messages and let the phone go to voicemail. Once you’ve finished what you’re doing, then you can take a few minutes to deal with anything that has come up.
- Assign specific ringtones to different contacts so you know when it’s someone contacting you that requires a real interruption or something that can wait until you’ve finished what you’re doing. A lot of the time, anyone who contacts you truly doesn’t need an immediate response. After all, we all lived in a time where there were no cell phones and survived just fine!
I know it will be a little tough getting used to this, but in order to work more efficiently throughout your day, planning for these interruptions is an easy strategy to help you get more done.
Most of us can work for about 90 minutes before we lose focus and need a break. When we try to work past this, the quality of our work is significantly decreased.
Therefore, when scheduling your day, don’t forget to include some breaks. They don’t have to be long. Just a quick five to ten minutes is all you probably need.
Step away from what you’re doing and take a quick walk, vacuum the house, switch the laundry, fold some clothes.
Whatever you need to do to give your brain a little break.
Add extra time
Oh my goodness, how often do you plan something only to have it take longer than you thought? Ugh! This makes me crazy and I used to get so frustrated with myself.
However, the fact of the matter is, almost everything you do will require more time than expected, so let’s go back to what I stated earlier.
Always add an additional half of the time than what you’d typically plan for.
For instance, if you’re thinking an hour, make it an hour and a half. If you’re planning four hours, then make it six.
If you finish early, you can move on to the next task, answer emails and notifications, deal with the interruptions that came through while you were working, or simply take a little longer break.
It won’t be long for you to see how long your tasks actually take and you’ll be able to tighten up your schedule.
Remember, in order to be successful you need to be in control of your time!
Ahh, perhaps one of my favorite topics! Personally, I love a paper planner. I have found that it’s the perfect tool to help me manage my time and household more efficiently.
But this is not about me, it’s about you, and there is no wrong answer here. The important thing is that you use whatever tool helps you work more efficiently and better manage your time.
There are plenty of digital planners available and an array of paper planners that could make your head spin! Admittedly, I get ridiculously giddy over a good planner!
Whatever you decide to use, here are a few things to consider:
- A time block schedule. – Time-blocking is the single most important strategy I have found to Get. Stuff. Done! So make sure that your planner includes this important feature.
- Have something that incorporates everything you need in one location so that you’re not having to switch between notebooks and planners and try to juggle too many different things. After all, this is to help you work more efficiently.
- Determine whether day-at-a-glance or week-at-a-glance will work best for you.
- Make sure it has a place for you to keep your goals in front of you at all times.
I love that The Prayerful Planner incorporates my prayer life into it and that it has an entire page for each day of the week (except Saturday and Sunday – they share a page). It also has a place to write your goals. (As one of my loyal readers, you can get 10% off The Prayerful Planner by clicking this link here.)
However, I’ve recently changed to The Living Well Planner and honestly, I absolutely love it!
- It not only includes sections for goals but actually walks you through setting them up along with project planning for each month.
- Includes time-blocks each day. (Although, I would love for this to be a little bigger.)
- Includes a finance section to keep meticulous tabs on your budget at all times.
- Includes meal planning. A big time-management strategy and budget saver!
- Includes an area for reflections on grace and gratitude every month.
- It has a week-at-a-glance layout, which has been a game-changer! Having the ability to see your entire week at once will keep you motivated and on track to help you reach your goals.
No matter what planner you decide to use, just make sure it has everything you need to help you be more productive.
I have no doubt that if you implement these easy strategies to help you plan your days more efficiently, you’ll see a significant boost in your productivity, and not only meet your goals but blow them out of the water!
You’ll begin to see all that you are capable of and start challenging yourself to dream bigger.
Thanks for stopping by the blog today. I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and tell me your biggest challenge for getting anything done.
Until next time, my friend…..
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Tammy Rotzoll is the founder and owner of Footprints of Inspiration and podcast host at A Faithful God Podcast (which can be found on your favorite podcast player). She lives in Virginia with her husband and together they’re learning how to navigate their fun, new adventure as empty nesters.
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