I’ve talked quite a lot about becoming organized which means more productive, but we really did not discussed some tools to stay focused. Some tips and piece of advice you can practice. Plainly speaking, I’m addicted to planning even though it looks hard to start. Never-the-less, once you are in a game, you won’t believe how your life has changed.
Lets discuss some apps, tips and programs which can help you to stay organized and focused without stress. You will also find out some habits which will make you more productive.
1. Write Down Everything You Can
To be frank, I do not care you use a blank piece of paper or ‘Notes’ on your iPhone X, the major principle here is to fix every idea, every thought and every insight. It will help you to unload your brain since it really does not need to carry all information you receive. Your phone or notebook can handle any.
I recommend you to test a simple paper and applications available for both iOS and Android. For instance, you can try Evernote (one of the most popular app for notes), Google Tasks, Doist and others. Check ‘top’ apps for organization and business in Google Play or AppStore to find out more.
If you use a laptop in your office, a tablet at home and your smartphone while stuck in a traffic jam, choose application which will synchronize all of your notes. Some people are obsessed with real paper since crossing out of all tasks they have done brings real pleasure. Here the only one way to find out which planner suit you best is to try it out.
In case you don’t have ideas which thoughts and information to write down, I can offer you to make a calendar of B-Days and important dates, your logins and passwords to social networks and mail, your postulates and life motto, motivational quotes and on. Plus, you may divide all notes by folders to make organization even more clear.
2. Have a Weekly Planning Habit
Similarly to daily planning and annual goals, try to make a habit of weekly planning. It is harder to miss a workout if you have written it down on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, 9 PM. Daily planning is also important, but weekly plan is a skeleton of your schedule. You can start weekly planning with Google Calendar or buy a special weekly planner where you can fill in all appointments and tasks.
There are some ideas which activities and appointments you can write down in your weekly schedule. For instance, sports or important business meetings, family time (I know it sounds unusual, but your family will thank you), time for meditation and relaxation, plans for weekend, etc. Planning both time for business and time for rest will surely help you to keep life-work balance and stay organized.
3. ‘Good morning’ and ‘good night’ Rituals
According to one of the most popular motivational speakers of our times Brian Tracy, we live in a word of screens. You check Instagram every single spare moment, you play games on your smartphone while stuck in a traffic jam, you are constantly chatting with your friends. It is no surprise that in the evening of your busy day you are not able to relax, you need a phone with 100+ apps to check.
Morning and evening rituals is a must: just try not to check e-mail, Instagram and other applications one hour after you woke up and one hour before you’re going to bed. It will calm your brain and will give you more concentration during the day.
You can make up your own rituals, but putting off any digital devices is a must. You cannot even picture how much information we receive in a world of digital and how hard to cope with this thread. Moreover, I recommend to limit laptop/mobile phone usage during the day since it will make you more focused on your current tasks and goals.
4. Pile up Small or Similar Tasks Together
C. Bailey, the author of The Productivity Project claims that having a maintenance day depends on how carefully you take care of errands and all other life stuff. For instance, such small tasks as calling to your bank, your daughter’s school or submitting auto insurance form. What is the idea?
Pile up small or similar tasks all together making a to-do list. You may check special to-do lists online to write down all small tasks. What about me? I have 45-minute blocks of time every evening when I can look throughout similar and not significant tasks which take 5-10 mins each.
You can make up your own ‘small tasks list’ or ‘check list’ together. Some people make their own lists of belongings to take for traveling, some of them like to delegate homework. Planning and scheduling is all about testing out, so you need to try all variants to find your perfect one.
5. Be Patient
The secret of success is being patient. Every goal can be reached if you make small steps to your dream. The key phrase here is ‘every day’. We eat sweets and fast food for ages, but we want to lose weight in a month. It is not fair.
Being patient in planning means putting your goals on practice with a taste of reality. Keep in mind that getting organized and staying organized takes time, especially if it’s first time in your life you write down your goals, dreams and ams tasks. You have been accumulating bad habits for years and planning is the first step to start living your dream life.
Another piece of advice is to make super-small and sustainable changes, because nobody needs fast changes and nervous breakdowns. Nobody needs 3-hours night sleep for months, to lie in bed for a year later. If you strive to wake up at 4:30 AM, start with 6:00, then with 5:50 and then wake up at 5:40 and on. In other case you won’t be able to keep up because you didn’t take the necessary systems in place and it’s just a huge stress for your mind and body.
Instead, try to stick to the world-famous concept of C. Duhigg’s The Power of Habit — it does not matter how fast you change yourself, it is all about the result. Try to focus on one small thing you can change during the day and total all the pluses in the evening.
When it comes to goals, I’d like to give you a personal advice. For the past few years I found out that there is no sense to set more than 2 goals for a year. Everybody can write down his goals, but you cannot be concentrated on 3 or more goals.
Use D-G-P (Dream – Goal – Plan) principle to write down your goals and make up monthly, weekly and daily plans to make your dreams come true in the nearest future.