Staying on Track
How do you stay focused/motivated/energized?
So you’ve decided to do something, the next step is to define a solid reason (your why), track your tasks and make sure you’re working on the right things.
For example, say you’ve made the decision to start a blog/vlog or book. We’ll explore some ways to track your tasks and making sure you’re still working on the right things.
Figure out why you’re doing this – this will be your core priority. Are you doing this to make money? To help others? Having this clearly defined will allow you to better decide on what tasks you need to do.
By the end of this post, you’ll have a way of staying on track of what you decided to do.
Tl;dr; – Listen to whatever motivational triggers you need when you are on your commute (For me, that would be listening to “Fearless motivation“– it’s free for Amazon Prime members – free trial link). Use software like Trello to track tasks and a recurring timer to keep yourself in check.
1) Tips for defining a reason
Try to find a reason where you’re not just doing it for yourself, but for people you care about.
Also note that internal motivation is a better driver than external (physical rewards-based) motivation.
Finally, use this project as a redirection for your bad habits – when you find yourself about to get distracted (emails/Facebook/explicit videos/video games), use that energy to make progress on this project– this is a tough one, but it brings a huge confidence boost when you are able to control yourself at moments where you are weakest.
If you’re having difficulty defining a purpose, I guarantee that these speeches will help you to find one.
You can also join Amazon Prime to stream these motivational speeches here’s my referral link for a 30 day trial.
(full disclosure: I get a small commission from these referral links at no cost to you)
Moving on to the details
Now that you have the internal drive, I’m going to get a bit into the details and name one solution that works well for tracking your tasks– Trello – I’ve tried a lot of task management solutions already and this is the best. If you already have your own tool, then use that.
2) Task tracking
When you set off to do your own project, there are so many ideas you will have. To make things less overwhelming, you need to write them out.
- If you like to keep your notes digital, use Trello – you can group tasks into buckets (or ‘cards’) – great for jotting down all ideas, then sorting through them later.
- If you need something tangible, there’s always post it notes. You can do something similar by jotting down all ideas, then categorizing them on a whiteboard.
- Tip: Write out tasks that will take 1-2 hours to accomplish. Anything shorter is probably just paperwork stuff.
- Pick the task depending on your energy level (i.e. for the tasks that require more thinking, do those earlier in the day)
- Pick the tasks that you feel will have the most impact – if there are several of these, just pick one and do it. Save your “decision energy” for more important things.
One thing at a time…
At this point you probably have ideas for multiple projects – try your best to do one project at a time (1 completed project is way better than 2 half-finished projects)
Each day, pick two of these 1-2 hour tasks to complete (they are probably going to take you longer than you expected).
3) Are you still working on the right things?
As you make progress on your project, you may start wandering off… That article looks interesting, I just remembered I needed to respond to…, maybe I’ll watch TV instead.
To combat the distractions, you can do the following:
- Set a recurring hourly timer – when you hear that beep, ask yourself “Am I doing the right thing?” This keeps you in check in case you start going off on a tangent on something that isn’t as important (like tweaking the way your blog looks).
- Ideally, this will not be an alarm where you’ll be pulling out your phone to turn it off.
- Set a time limit for your breaks so you don’t start bingeing.
- I use Blip Blip for Android. It beeps every hour at the times that I specify. It sounds like my old Casio digital watches.
I hope this has helped you to stay focused on your tasks.
Define the purpose, redirect bad habits to your project, and expose yourself to triggers that will get you in a high confidence / high energy mode.
Here is the soundtrack I’ve been listening to lately:
- Feed your mind with Success – It is included in Amazon Prime – free trial here if you aren’t already a member.
Lastly is a tip for people who consider themselves morning people - make the decision to go to sleep early the previous night.
It is VERY tempting to go and start binge watching some online videos - be wary of getting sucked down the rabbit hole…
Keep on hacking efficiently!