First off, create a list of things that you have to do. Next to each item, give it a number in terms of priority. (Ex. Getting a paper handed in by a deadline is a higher priority than cleaning out your sock drawer.) Once you have everything numbered, put the list in order by those numbers and you now have a priority list. While some people might suggest tackling all of the higher numbered priorities first, that usually proves to be overwhelming. Tackle a high priority item (doing that paper for class) with a lower priority item (cleaning the mud out of your older sneakers) so that you're reducing your list while not over-burdening yourself. I used to call my lower priority items "creative distractions" (CDs for short). I knew that when I couldn't face tackling a big project, I could tackle some CDs so I still was accomplishing something without the stress. I could walk away from the big project for a little while and mow the lawn. Then get back to the big project until I needed another break, so I'd wash the dishes while listening to music. My list got shorter and I wasn't so stressed.
You can do something similar when it comes to achieving goals. Break your main goal down into smaller goals and tackle them like the To Do list. It's up to you to set parameters for yourself, as only you know the time you have available in your day. Just keep moving forward with small and medium sized goals that result in achieving your larger, main goal. Best of luck to you!
The best approach is unique to each individual. Here's some best practices you can think about:
1. Document your long-term goals and vision (future type of job, lifestyle, education/training, geographic region, family, etc)
2. Read up on what it takes to get to your destination in life
3. Talk to people who have achieved what you're looking to achieve in different areas of your life
4. Come up with a detailed plan for how to get to your goals
5. Find someone or multiple people to keep you accountable - mentors, friends, family, etc.
6. Adjust to new information and challenges along the way (e.g. the field you're interested in is no longer in demand, how will you react?)
7. Check in with yourself every 3-6 months to see how you're tracking against your goals
8. Celebrate when you achieve minor and major milestones along the way!
9. Always show appreciation and love to those who help you get to where you want to go
5 WAYS THAT HELP ME STAY FOCUSED
SET CLEAR GOALS
Review your list of goals each morning and decide—realistically—what tasks you can accomplish that day. This will better your chances of success, it’s a good idea to start with a plan, and write it down. So here’s a 6 step plan for setting clear goals this year, following them should help keep your goals rolling along.
• Be clear and specific with what you want to achieve.
• Break your goals down into steps and reward yourself with something when you reach them.
• Track your progress, I guarantee you'll see improvements at staying on task.
• Be accountable, have a study group or a friend make sure your following through.
• Make sure you have fun, reward your sell every time you achieve a goal.
With each new challenge you succeed in, will make the next one even easier. The thrill and rush of success never wears off Marie. With each accomplishment you’ll increase your appetite for more new and exciting challenges.
WORK IN 60-90-MINUTE BLOCKS
Marie if you try and work for long periods of time, your alertness is going to drop off making you vulnerable to distractions. Scheduling distractions as a reward for productivity can motivate your brain to stay focused. Distractions are not all bad, but you need to make them work for you. Use them as reward for a solid chunk of work. If Facebook and Twitter are your thing, block off time in your schedule to post or browse other people’s updates, and stick to your schedule task. Remember, you control the distractions.
RECOGNIZE YOUR PROGRESS
Everything you may be working on can be easily be split into smaller parts and stages. For most tasks, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress. Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.
TURN OFF THE WORLD
Let’s face it, the world is a distracting place, avoid temptation by severing all ties. This includes email, phones, texting or any other interruptions, this might require finding a quiet place away from others so can work or hiding out in your room. If you need to, set up a system for urgent messages to reach you. This doesn’t include meeting your friends for a video game night.
SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR APPROACH
When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for your task. You could be doing everything same as last time, but the same approach isn’t necessarily the most efficient one this time. Quite often, you may find a number tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities. If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you your desired results.
This is a task everyone likes: rewarding yourself is going to make your task more pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated. Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in away you enjoy.
5 ADDITIONAL TIPS TO STAY FOCUSED
John recommends the following next steps:
1. Set clear goals
2. Write your goals down
3. Set a deadline
4. Visualize your goals
5. Take action
6. Develop self-discipline
7. Get support
8. Stay positive
Set your biggest goals first and write them down somewhere you will see them every day. Each morning, look at the goals and write out a plan that of anything you can do that day to move you closer. Do that and nothing else. Realize that what not to do is as important as what to do.
Figure out what is distracting you and what you need to block out in order to focus. We have information overload and endless priorities these days that are not priorities in the true sense. Focus on the big ticket items and block out everything else.
See this highly recommended easy read/listen: https://www.amazon.com/Compound-Effect-Darren-Hardy-ebook/dp/B005P1YCNK
2. Identify steps and make a plan, one or two actions each week and focus on doing small things every day.
3. Visualize yourself reaching your goal, including the process and work it will take to get there.
4. Write yourself a letter, dated with the target date, describing desired outcome by that day.
5. Take action every day.
6. Tell your family and friends.
7. Plan for setbacks, have a contingency plan for when things go wrong.
8. Review your goal and evaluate your progress every week.
1."S" stands for specific. Make your goal or objective as specific as possible.
2."M" stands for measurable. Include a unit of measure in your goal.
3."A" stands for achievable.
4."R" stands for realistic.
5."T" stands for time-bound.
GOALS - write down what you want to achieve so you can have a visual of your plan. It is important to WRITE it and not type on a computer. Start with one goal (for example..... organize your closet)
SET A PLAN - again, write this down in a modified outline form (almost like a check list). Writing it down with a pen on paper has you interacting with your task on a personal level. Set time slots for each item (and set a timer if needed). This will not only keep you on track but will also help you understand the length it takes to complete different tasks.
(for example: 1. Empty all boxes on the top shelf, 2. remove all shirts i do not wear, etc.....)
FOCUS & EXECUTE - what you have written down. Completing and checking off items on your list will give you such a sense of accomplishment while also teaching you how to manage
Practicing this will get you comfortable with the cadence of organizing yourself and your tasks. Doing this enough times will burn it into your head and writing it down will not be necessary.
2- Decide if your goals are realistic
3- Plan out your goals and what you need to accomplish each step along the way.