Today, I want to talk about goals, progress and happiness and how all three things are interrelated.
For me the first few days of a month are always about revisiting my goals, taking a moment to realign myself with my values and mission and then working out my plan on what I’m going to do to help me get there.
In this article, I explore why seeing progress towards your biggest life goals can make you a happier person inside and out.
Did you know?
Pursuing your goals and having something to work towards is important for psychological well-being.
I don’t know about you. But I’ve always been a very goal-focused person. During high school I always had multiple things I was working towards. Whether it was house captain, being better at a certain sport, getting good grades etc.
In university it was no different, and now as I build my business and work full time, I always have a goal I’m working towards.
Sometimes I find it hard to understand those who don’t have any goals. Who aren’t working towards anything particular. How can you not be focused on bettering yourself each and every day, even if it’s just something small?
Although some of us may be better at goal setting and achievement than others, I 100% believe to my core that both of these skills can be learned and reinforced through habit.
I love this quote from one of my favourite success coaches, Darren Hardy. He says:
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
On the same note, Tony Robbins advocates that “Progress equals happiness” and I do believe these guys are on to something pretty special.
The Science Behind It – Goals & Happiness
According to a 2007 study,pursuing personal goals gives a person structure and meaning in their lives. The research also indicates that people who make progress towards their goals have better mental well-being than individuals who lack a sense of direction or purpose.
It may not sound like rocket science, but when we achieve one of our most difficult goals it can give us the confidence, motivation and the emotional reaction we need to continue taking action towards our other goals too.
I live by this strategy every single day.
The Importance of Commitment and Consistency
Like most people, a few years ago, I used to determine my daily priorities based on rolling to do lists and knocking off quantity rather than quality.
I’d ask myself, which items are the simplest and easiest to get done today, so I can tick off as many items as possible on that list.
In my head, I’d convince myself that this method was super productive. But at the end of the day, I’d find myself feeling guilty and defeated because despite what I’d tell myself, I knew that the most important and complex task was left unticked.Have you ever felt a similar way?
It’s not that I was procrastinating. I just had my priorities in the wrong order. Since completing a productivity course earlier this year, I realised that all I needed to do was shift my focus from quantity, to quality.
And wow, that small shift of focus has significantly impacted my progress towards achieving my big hairy audacious goals. I also feel so much happier and satisfied at the end of each day.
Now I’d love you to give it a go too.
Think to yourself, what is the one biggest and most valuable thing you can do today that will help you take one step closer to your goals? What is the one thing that if you get this done without doing anything else, you’ll be happy with your achievement?
It’s amazing how simply shifting your focus to completing your high return activities FIRST and taking small steps towards your goals each day, can make you feel so much more productive and content with your life.
You will no longer have that guilt hanging over your shoulders due to not doing that one high priority task that you promised yourself you would do. Especially when the excuse for not doing it is due to completing all the “small” insignificant stuff.
Are you making progress towards your goals?
The toughest question of all.
I love this time of the year as you can clearly separate those who have been taking consistent action towards their goals, from those who were all talk and never walked the walk.
Some may have even started by taking one step towards their goal, but never actually established a routine which allowed them to build momentum and keep a consistent pace going.
Procrastination is the biggest killer of your dreams. It does more than just undermine your performance but now science reveals that it can also impact your well-being, happiness and satisfaction with life.
So, what are your goals?
Is it to travel the world? Lose a few of those extra kg’s you built up over winter? Is it to learning more about healthy eating? Or maybe to live a happier lifestyle?
Whatever it may be, it’s always critical to continue taking small steps each and every day to get there.
If you’d like to learn more about living a happier and healthier lifestyle, check out the resources below:
You wake up in the morning exhausted, tired and stressed. You had another night of poor sleep, yet a big day at work awaits you. As you start to get ready you recall all the things you need to do today.
The meeting with your boss that you need to prep for
That big project you need to have done for your colleague, Mel, by lunch
You need to take your dog to the vet
Your insurance hasn’t been paid
The tasks keep rolling in…
Stress starts to kick in and it’s not even 8am! You check your phone and see that there’s 100 outstanding emails!
“OMG. How the heck, am I going to get all this done today.”
You enter the office and already people are pulling you in multiple directions. The papers on your desk are disorganised and everything seems to be a scurrying mess.
Suddenly you realise that the plans that you had for your day have gone completely out the window.
You spent the rest of your day putting out fires and reacting to other people’s problems. Finally, as you sit back at your desk you look at the time and it’s 5:30pm.
“What! Where did all that time go?”
You get in your car and start to reflect on your day as you drive home.
“Shit!!! I totally forgot to take my dog to the vet. Oh and I didn’t get that key project done for Mel. Dang it!”
You arrive home feeling defeated, exhausted and saddened by your lack of progress in your day. You also realise that tomorrow is likely to be an exact repeat of today, unless you can make a change.
7 Productivity Tips that Can Transform Your Life
Yep. My life used to be very similar to that story. And for many of you, I’m sure you are probably experiencing something very similar.
These days, so many of us find ourselves flying by the seat of our pants, reactive to other people’s agendas and problems.
We also find ourselves working really hard on multiple projects at the one time, to only discover that by the end of the day we have made little progress on any of them.
This is where I come in…
To help you make some simple changes to your day, in this article I explore seven productivity tips that can truly transform your life.
Even if you start with just ONE of these things and remain consistent with it over time, you are likely to see massive growth in your productivity and progress throughout the day.
1) Focus Only On What You Can Control
Not rocket science, right?
But you’d be surprised by the number of people who stress out about every single thing in their lives, including thing they have no direct control over.
Trying to control everything in your life is only going to lead to significant disappointment, anxiety and overwhelm. There’s no point stressing over things you can not, and will not ever control.
Instead, focus only on what you can control within your inner circle. Switch off from the rest.
A great strategy that can help you with this is to detach and switch off from the daily news and media.
Most of the stories shared on those platforms are negatively skewed, fear-inducing and bias anyway.
They also start your day off on a negative by reporting the latest scandal, devastating accident or conflicts around the world.
By detaching from common media sources and news, you will notice just how much freer you feel in your day, and how much more clearly you can think about the actual things that do impact your life.
2) Plan Ahead & Limit Your Daily Priorities
Productivity tip #2 is to stop striving to get it all done. Instead, focus on getting the most important things done.
Although you may try to be a superhero with your numerous to-do lists and calendar tasks, you will be more effective during your day if you slash down your list to a smaller number of priorities.
Here’s how to do it:
Write down all the things you want to achieve in your day
Consider which tasks are most important to your goals and put a circle around them.
Cross off the trivial.
Estimate how long each of your priority tasks is likely to take you and schedule it into your daily diary or calendar. Make this a non-negotiable appointment with yourself.
As other tasks come up in your day, plan them around your top 3 priorities. You may even schedule them to be completed in another day.
Then as your priority appointment comes up, dedicate quality time to finishing that chosen task
Once your top 3 priorities are complete, then you can consider ticking off some of the others things on your list.
That way, even if you only complete those three things and nothing else, you’ll still feel satisfied with what you have managed to accomplish for the day.
3) Work in 60-90 Minute Intervals
Rather than working non-stop at your desk for an entire day, give your brain a chance to rest and rejuvenate.
You will be much more effective if you break your day into 60-90 minute intervals of uninterrupted focused work, rather than spending hours at your desk with no breaks.
Not giving your brain a break actually hinders attention, focus and performance. It is much more effective to give your brain short breaks in between as a little pick-me-up.
It is also easier to work at your optimum performance level for shorter bursts of time compared to trying to sustain it over a long period of time.
Some ways you can do this include:
Taking a short stroll around the office to get your steps up for the day
Do some stretches away from your screen
Go on a tea break or take a moment to fill up your water bottle
Engage in some deep breathing exercises at your desk
Eat away from your desk for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea
Catch up with a colleague for 5 minutes
Working for multiple hours straight without breaks will only put you in the vicious cycle of feeling like you’re working a lot but not getting much done.
This productivity tip is worth its weight in gold.
4) Get Up 90 minutes Earlier
Getting up 90 minutes earlier each day can give you a massive advantage in what you achieve in a given day. Especially, during the work week.
Although for some, the idea of getting up earlier may sound scary, those who are willing to get up earlier to knock off the first priority for their day, will unlock access to one of the greatest superpowers:
Being in control of their morning
Taking an additional step closer towards their biggest goals
There are no distractions, your mind is clear and your brain is at its optimum for high-performance.
Even if you can only fit in 30-60 minutes a day, this will put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors or colleagues, before the work day has even begun.
As part of my morning routine, I do this every day during the week.
It has had such a drastic impact on my life and there’s nothing better than starting your day feeling in control, and having made progress on one of your top priorities before you’ve even entered the office.
That way, if you do get pulled in multiple directions or need to put out fires, you’re happy to do so because you have already completed your most important priority for the day.
5) Make Time to Meditate in the Morning
My favourite productivity tip of them all….
Start your morning with a short mindfulness meditation. This is a great way to improve productivity during your day.
Meditation is becoming more and more popular in Western society as a way to more effectively manage stress and anxiety. But there are many other physical, emotional and mental health benefits of meditation too.
The benefit that I love most is that it can help to boost productivity in your day.
Meditation can help boost productivity by:
Improving your ability to focus
Slowing down your thoughts
Aiding effective decision making
Starting your day feeling grounded and balanced
Refreshing your body and relieving built up stress and anxiety that may have accumulated from the day before
Meditation is now a non-negotiable part of my morning routine. I find that it really helps to set me up in good stead to tackle the day.
It keeps me focused, organised and level-headed.
Sure, it is an exercise that can take some time to master, but there is little investment required and the basic concepts behind it are pretty easy to grasp.
If you’d like to learn more about meditation, you can check out our FREE/ Lite Meditation eCourse below.
6) Limit Phone Use
Multi-tasking is one of the greatest killers of our productivity.
Our mobile phones are one of our greatest temptations, yet it is something we carry around with us day in and day out.
Even at work, we can find ourselves checking texts from friends, emails and social media at multiple times during our work day.
By limiting your phone use or keeping it in your bag on silent or switched off whilst at work, you will notice such a drastic change in your productivity.
Some of you may have panicked whilst reading that:
“What? Switch off my phone…. I don’t think so buddy.”
But the reality is that the more you succumb to your phone and allow it to pull your attention away from your work, the more harm you are doing to your brain and its ability to stay focused.
You are literally training your brain to seek out distractions to keep occupied.
If turning off your phone during the day is not an option, then even just consider turning your phone app push notifications off.
That way, you won’t find yourself reacting to the constant buzzing or beeping of alerts on your home screen.
Instead you’ll be taking control back over your day, by only choosing to check your phone when it suits you. For example, between your 60-90 minute work intervals.
7) Delegate More
This productivity tip may be more relevant to some than others. But eve so, all of us probably have room for improvement when it comes to doing less ourselves and delegating more.
The problem with most high-achievers is that we often want to do it all. But we simply don’t have the resources to live this way.
There are many tasks in our day that we can delegate whether it be:
Delegating a straight-forward work task to a colleague or assistant
Paying for a house cleaner rather than doing it yourself
Getting your partner to cook dinner one night if you’re running behind or have had a busy day
Delegating some of the household chores to your kids or partner
Hiring a virtual assistant or someone on Fiverr to help you out
Hiring someone of Air Tasker to do some trivial household jobs
There are many ways you can delegate low priority tasks to save time in your day.
This will help you to get more done in your day by doing less yourself and spending less time on trivial tasks.
Top Productivity Tip: Start a Morning Meditation Practice
Meditation is something that has truly transformed my life.
It has helped me move from the person I was (someone who did not handle stress well, was constantly filled with anxiety and had scattered thoughts) to the person I am today (much more balanced, calm and focused).
Of course, I still experience stress and anxiety from time to time. After all, it is a common fault of high-achievers. But, I can definitely see the positive impacts it has had on my life.
If you are interested in learning more about meditation for productivity and how to get started, our 14-day Online Meditation Course “Journey to Calm” would be a great resource for you.
Adrianne is a health and wellness writer & yogi and in this post, she is sharing with us her experience so far during the coronavirus isolation and 10 healthy things that you can do to improve productivity at home during isolation.
Enjoy everyone & thank you, Adrianne!
These are strange times we are living with, all across the globe.
I know the first couple days of isolation we had grand plans of all the things we were going to get done with a month of free time as New Zealand went into lockdown for a month.
Two weeks in, we were feeling low in energy and hadn’t achieved much at all.
I know we aren’t the only ones, everyone I have spoken to has told me they lack energy and productivity at the moment.
So, I went to these ten healthy activities that I try to follow every day, but especially when I am feeling down, to improve productivity at home during isolation.
They may seem simple and somewhat obvious, but a reminder never hurts. Plus, if you’re like me, understanding why they improve productivity helps build the motivation to work them into your routine.
10 Ways To Improve Productivity at Home During Isolation
1) Get Out of Bed and Get Dressed
Sounds straightforward, but when you’re not feeling it, this can be tricky.
It’s easy to think, “I’m just at home, who cares. No-one can see me.” But doing normal daily activities helps to give you a sense of normality and mental divide between bed-time and day-time activities.
If you want to exercise, the first step is to put some exercise clothes on.
If you’re still working from home, change out of your pyjamas. I’m not suggesting you have to get your formal office clothes, the joys of working from home, right!
But maybe comfortable pants and a cute t-shirt that you love will get you into the groove. Test it out for yourself. See how you feel in different outfits.
In the words of Coco Chanel, “If you’re sad, put some lipstick on and attack!”
Your body is made up of approximately 60% water(1). Your brain and heart are made up of around 73% water.
This is why you need to be well-hydrated for your brain to function effectively.
It aids with all our bodily functions, including waste removal, ensuring essential nutrients reach cells, regulates body temperature, and acts as a shock absorber for our brain and spinal cords, to name a few.
Meditation is one of the most powerful tools you can practice to improve mindset, calm the mind, andcombat anxiety & depression.
You can also use meditation to improve productivity at home during isolation. It’s a free task you can do anywhere at any time.
A study by David Frew in 1976, found that transcendental meditators claimed reported higher work satisfaction, improved performance, and better relationships with colleagues and managers.
Boost endorphins with your favourite exercise routine.
For home-based workouts, try yoga, dance, aerobics, or Zumba. There are lots of free resources online that you can follow online to get a good, fun workout in.
Exercise aids physical health, mental health, and improves productivity! (2) So what are you waiting for!?
5) Eat a Healthy Meal
As the old saying goes, “What you put in is what you get out.”
You’ve got the benefit of being home and having a kitchen to cook with instead of the small tea room and vending machines at work. Use it to your advantage and make something delicious and healthy for lunch and dinner.
Proper nutrition has been linked to higher levels of productivity and overall health(3).
6) Clean up and Tidy
Take a leaf out of Marie Kondo’s book and tidy your space. “Once you are done tidying up, you will find it easier to keep your home – and mental space – clear and focused.”
By being surrounded only by the things that spark joy, your life naturally begins to achieve clarity.
When you have a tidy space and a clear mind, you will have more mental space to focus on the things you really want to.
7) Self-care Practice
You can’t take more out than what you put in. This applies to your energy levels as well.
Take time to look after yourself. Ease the mind, reduce stress, and you will be ready to be productive.
Self-care can be anything from a relaxing face-mask or bath to sitting down with your journal or reading a book. Pick something you enjoy that will bring a positive feeling into your life and re-charge.
8) Create Something New
This is another fun one. Get creative!
Do something that sparks creativity in your life. Once you get into a flow state, you will find you naturally keep working at it, and your productivity will boom.
Work on a project you have put down for a while, learn a new skill like a language, take an online course in something that interests you.
Paint, write, make jewellery, cook, build a website, design clothing online, knit, sew, macrame, make pretty wall art from toilet rolls.
You’re only limited by your imagination (and maybe some resources right now). But find something around the home you can work with and see where your mind takes you.
14 Productivity Quotes to Help You Take Action Towards Your Goals
January. That time of the year where everyone sets their New Year’s Resolutions and becomes excited about all the things they want to achieve throughout the coming year.
But, as many of us know, it’s not long before reality hits and the thought of change and taking action becomes a bit overwhelming. Often resulting in our goals being set aside and put in the “too hard” basket.
“Maybe, next year will be a better time…”
No. No. 2019 is your year and you CAN and you WILL do it!!
Taking consistent action towards your goals is the only thing that is going to get you there. But you must focus your attention on the right tasks and on a daily basis.
This is how you will start to see progress AND progress is a key indicator of productivity and happiness.
I hope these quotes help to inspire and motivate you to be more productive throughout your days to make your dreams a reality!
Motivation to Do It Now!
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” – John F. Kennedy
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Stephen King
“There’s a tendency to mistake preparation for productivity. You can prepare all you want, but if you never roll the dice you’ll never be successful.”-Shia LaBeouf
“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”– Napoleon Hill
The Importance of Embracing Change
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” -Charles Darwin
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs
Focus on Doing Impactful Work, not Doing More Work
“It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less.” – Nathan W. Morris
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” – Dale Carnegie
“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”– Albert Einstein
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss
“Being busy means doing stuff, being productive means getting stuff done.”– Anonymous
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”-Stephen Covey
*BONUS* – Motivation to Keep Going!
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”– Earl Nightingale
“Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.” – Michael Jordan
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”– Paul J. Meyer
“Gratitude drives happiness. Happiness boosts productivity. Productivity reveals mastery. And mastery inspires the world.” – Robin Sharma
I hope that these Productivity Quotes have helped to light your fire within.
You set your goals for a reason. Now it’s time to follow through and take action on them, changing your life for the better.
Don’t lose hope. Everything and anything is possible as long as you just make the commitment and take consistent actions towards your goals. Even if it’s just a small step every day, you will get there.