If you’re here, wondering how to plan a productive year, you already know you’ve got so much ahead of you. 2020 feels like a big one, doesn’t it? Possibly because of the symmetry in the year, 2020. The year of getting what you want.
Exciting, isn’t it? The thought of what you could do if your own brain didn’t hold you back. If you want to know how to plan a productive year, don’t just take it from us – listen to the experts.
MANAGE YOUR EMOTIONS
When you procrastinate or put something off, it’s linked to how you feel, not how busy you are. You might say you’re too busy to work out, or you might find yourself clicking away from a task, but it’s not at all because there is no time. Why not read this article on priming your brain and rewiring your thoughts?
Think about the tasks you’re excited to complete and the ones that you put off. Think about the goals you achieved in 2019 and the ones you still haven’t quite hit. It’s more likely that the goals that require a bit of effort are the ones that you find hard to hit. Start re-thinking your own approach. Putting off a workout or a tricky task?
Get comfortable with those negative feelings. Get comfortable doing something you don’t want to do, and show up even when you don’t feel like it.
Why it works: Tim Pychyl, Associate Professor at the Psychology Department of Carleton University believes we use procrastination in order to avoid negative feelings associated with a task. “It’s key to remember that procrastination isn’t a time-management problem,” he says. “It’s an emotion-management problem. We misregulate our emotions by believing that avoidance will make us feel better. It doesn’t.”
Instead, realize that you might never feel like it, but you should do it anyway!
STOP BEING VAGUE
Look at your to-do list. How’s it looking. Is it vague? Be more specific. Give yourself timed slots and write down exactly what you will have achieved. This boosts the sense of satisfaction you get when you achieve it in the time you expected or even earlier than you expected. Break down a task like ‘write an article’ into multi-stages and decide when you will have completed those stages.
Why it works: Grace Marshall, author of ‘How to be REALLY productive’ says: “When we’re in action mode, we want to get on and do. If our to-do list tells us the topic, but not the action, it creates more work for our brains, and we’re more likely to glance past it and search for something we can actually do instead.
GET A GOOD PLANNER
Help yourself out by throwing away any old bits of paper you’ve been writing on or scrubby lined notebooks. Instead, get yourself a planner that works to help you manage your goals and your time.
For example, The Project Book. You can write your top goals of the day, a break down of all your projects and there’s a timed to-do list section inside, too. This is how to plan a productive year, with a productive planner – of course!
Why it works: Clinical psychologist Barbara Markway says, “while many people think of productivity as it relates to their job, you also want to be productive at home. This might include getting cleaning and home organization done, or working on projects you keep putting it off. Regardless of what it is, planners help you to stay on track with each individual task you need to complete and encourage you to move on to the next one effectively and efficiently.”