Last year I read a book titled The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It explores one woman’s year-long dedication to greater happiness. The Happiness Project helped me to discover that I feel happiest when I am producing. I feel most productive when I write, work, create, conceptualize and finalize.
I’ve found that I am constantly starting projects only to unintentionally ditch them after a few days or weeks. I’m not sure if it’s a lack of determination, time, interest or a mixture of all three. Regardless, I’m craving more finality in my life.
I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with the amount of topics I want to learn more about, the things I want to do, and the goals I want to conquer. With that knowledge and some major inspiration from Gretchen Rubin, my productivity venture was born.
Essentially, I have embarked on a journey toward living a more productive life. I thought I’d share how I went about creating an action plan toward being more productive, in case you choose to work toward higher productivity as well.
What I used:
- -A notebook
- -A pen/pencil
- -A quiet place to think, reflect and write
What I did:
- I started by titling my first page: What do I want to be capable of? Don’t be afraid to go nuts here. Think about what your ultimate goals are. Here’s what I wrote for reference: I want to be capable of providing all-encompassing freelance marketing and advertising to clients. From research, strategy, writing, photography, videography, design and more. I want to be a one-stop shop. From ideation to execution I want to be able to provide expertise. Perhaps someday a Creative Director or a founder of an agency. I want to be an author. A blogger. I want to create. I want to have confidence that is contagious. I want to be capable of loving my body. I want to be a good friend.
- Next I wrote down the skills I already have that will help me get there. I titled this section: What I Know.
- After looking at what I know I listed What I Want to Learn. For me, this list was exceptionally longer than the What I Know list.
- OPTIONAL: After that I listed some of my current projects I’m working on. I would call this step optional if you don’t have any passion projects started yet. This was more of a *hey wait a minute don’t forget about this stuff you’ve already started* step.
- Next I listed the major goals I want to accomplish in the remaining months of 2017. I wanted to keep this list pretty focused and relatively short. So I chose one thing from my “know” list (to continue practicing it), one thing from my “want to learn” list, one thing from my “passion project” list plus one personal goal outside of my lists to focus on in 2017.
- So by this point I’ve drastically narrowed down what I’d like to accomplish in the very near future so that my list looks less overwhelming. I have identified four major goals that I’d like to work toward. They involve being healthier, writing, mastering strategy, and learning more about design.
- Next I wrote out what a typical weekday would look like if I made sure to dedicate some time to working toward each goal noted in step 6. I literally broke down each step by the time of day. I included everything from allowing one ten-minute snooze at 5:50AM to reserving an hour of writing time at 8PM. It was important for me to be very specific on this step.
- After this I took some time to reflect on the day I had just illustrated. My days will probably not be as perfect as the one I illustrated on paper, but it was nice to see exactly the kind of effort and time it was going to take to work toward each of the goals.
- Next, I wrote down a few things that may have to be sacrificed in order to make more time for the goals. Including, but not limited to, things like social media and Netflix.
- Finally I did some research on tools to use that could help me track time I waste on my non-productive guilty pleasures like social media. (I found an app called Moment that tracks the time you spend on certain apps)
This is just the beginning. Taking the time to develop the action plan toward creating a more productive, and in my case, happier life felt like the first step toward a challenging but exciting journey. If I come across any tips or tricks while I work on being more productive, I’ll share them on my blog under +Other.
I read somewhere that you should be stubborn about your goals but flexible about your methods. So if your action plan isn’t working for you, change the plan not the goals.
I would love to hear about how you remain productive in the comments!