Often times, when we picture ourselves as more productive or disciplined, we imagine having an organized calendar, a to-do list that is constantly getting completed, we visualize ourselves as masters at completing tasks, goals and projects. It’s a great picture, and must of us really like the idea of getting there. You may have even tried searching on google “how to be more productive” and found 206,000,000 results. A little bit overwhelming, isn’t it? So many information, so many different techniques, tactics, habits to develop. Should you download evernote, or todoist? Should you start meditating, or taking cold showers, or maybe download a habit tracker, what about waking up at 6 am every day or deleting your social media accounts? I’m here to tell you why you don’t need to do all that stuff to become a productive person that rarely procrastinates. I’m going to show you how just one simple habit can have a massive and positive impact in your life, and you can easily start it today.
This habit, is the habit of thinking on paper and keeping track of your actions. Doing this consistently will completely change your life, I can guarantee it. Let me elaborate a little bit.
Your mind is not made to keep track of goals, prioritize, organize or schedule your life. Depending solely on your mind to do these things for you is absolutely ridiculous, you have thousands of different thoughts every second and you can’t possibly keep track of your most important ones for more than a couple of days. This is why you need a dedicated space to dump all of your ideas, goals, projects, actions, etc. You also need it because keeping track of your past actions allows you to review all the things you did well that you need to keep doing AND all of the “fails” you made that you need to improve for the next time. What gets measured gets managed, can you imagine a successful business that doesn’t keep track of their expenses/profits or a successful professional athlete that doesn’t keep track of their exercises and their time? Become a professional yourself, a professional of your own life.
I’m willing to bet than more than 90% of adults have never even taken the time to sit and write down their goals. Yeah, we all want more money, new skills and a six pack, but if you never sit down and bring more clarity to your goals, don’t be surprised when you still struggle to keep the same new year’s resolutions you’ve had since 2009. Do you know what I call an unclear goal without any sort of plan? A wish. Do you have any idea how many people live their whole life just wishing for things to happen instead doing something about their goals? I don’t know about you, but I prefer taking action and making things happen for myself over sitting down and hoping for opportunities to randomly come to my life.
The best part of it, is that starting and maintaining this habit is extremely easy. The very first thing that you need, is time (no more than 2 hours) a pen and some paper. Then you just starting dumping your thoughts there, think of all the things you want to achieve, goals, projects, etc. Then reverse-engineer every step you think would get you closer to them, stop only until you figure out what actions can you start taking today. You should really take your time with this exercise, get creative too. After doing this, you should have more clarity. You’ll notice how different things are once you don’t have that mental fog anymore. Congratulations, just by doing this you are ahead of 90% of other people, but it shouldn’t stop there. You must stick to these actions as much as you can for a week. Once that week is over, you will schedule some time, no more than an hour, to figure out what worked and what didn’t. Then, just keep doing the things that worked and think about some different ways to improve the things that didn’t, it’s that simple. Ask yourself, how can I make next week even better? and once again, take notes of every action you think will help you.
From now on, make this a habit, set a time every 7 days to review your past week and continue to try new stuff you think will get you closer to your goal. It only takes you about an hour each week, no matter how lazy you think you are, you can absolutely do this. Try it for a month, I promise you’ll see the changes quickly. Oh, and quick note, keep this paper close to you so you don’t forget about it, it’s very easy to do this exercise and then put the paper on a drawer, forever lost. Keep it somewhere you frequent so that you constantly see it. It’s all about taking action and responsibility for your life, as I always say, you’ve got this, and I mean it.