Tuesday, October 21, 2014

8 Tips to Help You Be More Productive

We love to make to-do lists. Whether it's neatly written on a notepad or tediously typed into your mobile device, it makes you feel organized to write it down. Then you feel awful watching item by item go by untouched and incomplete as you slowly procrastinate your day, or worse, your career, away. It's time to change and get to work on being more productive. Here are a few pointers on how to motivate yourself and stay on top of your task:

1. Be Positive

It's easy to start happy, but you need a way to stay happy. Procrastination is mostly likely to happen if you feel sluggish, unwell, disappointed, or frustrated. Start by being healthy. The proper amount of sleep and the right foods will give you the physical and mental awareness to tackle the day. Once you've got your body in check, work on boosting your emotional strength. Begin each day on a relaxed and happy note. Whether that means cutting out social media or resisting your email for a couple of hours in the morning, take some time to focus on you and feel ready to conquer the coming day.

2. Let Others In

 If you need a friend, or a whole company, to reach your goals, let them in on the game. Make the goals a priority and posted where everyone can see them. If your goals are primarily focused around yourself, use peer pressure to keep you motivated. Time Magazine suggests, "Give your friend $100. If you get a task done by 5PM, you get your $100 back. If you don’t complete it, you lose the $100." Things will most certainly get done.

3. Find Your Mantra

"Just do it!" from Nike is a great one. Create or copy a phrase to fit your goals. Post it on your computer, your bathroom mirror, your favorite book, or your forehead, if you must. Just see it, and see it often. When you find yourself in those moments where focus and attention are draining from you, repeat it to yourself and commit!

4. Make a game plan

More than a checklist, your game plan can create a sense of accomplishment and direction. Half the battle is just getting started. List your short-term and long-term goals and the steps for each. You'll most likely feel the most motivated in the morning, tackle your hardest task for the day, and use that momentum to take on the rest of the day's tasks.

5. The Power of People

Surround yourself with people with similar interests and goals. You are bound to eat healthier if you spend time with other health eaters; same goes for exercise. If you familiarize yourself with successful, motivated people, then you are more likely to pick up their traits than they are yours. It's even as simple as communicating via LinkedIn or Facebook groups. Use these people to bolster your spirits when you are feeling down or give you advice when you are stuck in the mud. You will be forever grateful to have a support system you can count on.

6. Learn from your mistakes

Don't let slip-ups or a bad day send you spiraling back to the couch of idleness. Take that opportunity to analyze what went wrong, it may be time to change your approach entirely. Step back, breathe, and remember no one is perfect, but you sure can try.

7. Treat Yourself

Just like in any other training situation (yes, dogs included), if you don't reward yourself for your successes you'll likely become burnt out for lack of recognition. Start simple with, "If I complete tasks a,b, and cbefore noon then I get ice cream for lunch." Build up to, "If we make amount of money this month, I'm taking a vacation." Whatever you love to do, connect it to your goals, let them support and sustain each other. You deserve a treat, but you also deserve to achieve success.

8. Remember Your Successes

Once you've become more focused, treasure your accomplishments. Remind yourself of what you have done, the small and the big. Write them down and keep them handy for those moments when you feel like you aren't going anywhere. Even remind yourself of where you've been for lack of trying and where you are today.

You can be your biggest obstacle. Once you find and sustain the strength to be motivated, you can accomplish amazing things. Refer to your list on how to stay motivated when you find yourself wondering off the path to greatness. Take it from a master procrastinator start today, not tomorrow.

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This article originally was posted on Inc.com.

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