Mondays aren’t always the most productive days. Busy weekends leave us lagging, and it’s sometimes hard to find the motivation to get things going, so here’s a quick “jump start” to kick off your week and get you moving closer to achieving your goals.
- Realign with your intentions. Stop everything. Close the social networks, the news feeds, and your email program, and give yourself a fresh start. Get a notebook and pen or open a Zoho or Google (s goog) document and list your top priorities in life and business right now. What kind of life and business do you want to lead? What is most important to you? Rather than working in reactive mode over the coming week, commit to living proactively and moving your life and business in the direction you want them to go.
- Choose your “Big Three.” Make a list of the three things that would make the biggest difference in your life or business if you could accomplish them. Think about it. What three things, if achieved, would have the biggest impact on your overall success? In your business, maybe you need to do more marketing and lead generation, or maybe you need to hire a coach, and on the personal side, maybe you need to take better care of your health or spend more time with family. We have a tendency to work on things that are easy, don’t take much time, or are lower in priority, instead of focusing on those few things that would cause the biggest change. This week, take an entirely different approach and spend at least half of your time working on the most important things.
- Reserve time for your “Big Three.” You’ve listed your absolute top priorities. Now it’s time to adjust your schedule and to-do list to reflect your intentions. Open your calendar and set aside time each day over the coming week to work on each of your top three priorities (see sample calendar below). If possible, reserve the mornings for working on your “Big Three” so that, no matter what happens the rest of the day, you’re sure to make progress on those things that are most important to you.
- Choose the tasks you will complete this week. In order to move each of your top priorities forward, you have to take specific action steps to help you achieve them. What could you do this week for each of the items on your list to move them forward as much as possible? List one to three specific tasks, depending on complexity, that you could do to make progress around each priority. Create a to-do list (on paper or within an online tool like Backpack), listing them out by day, if necessary.
- Work from the schedule and list. When you start each day, the first thing you need to do is refer to your preset calendar and to-do list. Do not open email, news feeds, or social networks until you’ve completed your reserved time blocks and all of today’s tasks associated with your “Big Three.” Whatever is in your email inbox can wait.
- Do a daily recap and setup. At the end of each day, recite your top three priorities so that you stay in alignment with those things that matter most to you. Run through your to-do list to see what you’ve accomplished and what’s left to do over the remainder of the week. Adjust your to-do list to reflect any changes or additions that will help you make even greater progress on your top priorities. Finally, clear your desk and your browser so that you have a clean slate for the next day, and open your calendar and to-do list so that they’ll be the first things you see the next morning.
While it’s not always easy to stay aligned with your priorities and remain proactive when approaching your days, by taking the time to plan ahead and by making a firm commitment to your goals in life and business, you’ll be far more likely to achieve them. Stay focused, remember what’s most important to you, and approach each day with intention and purpose.
What’s your system for staying on track with your goals?
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