You are making copious efforts to progress but do you have an end goal in mind? Sometimes we can fall into the habit of doing *busy* work that makes us *feel* like we are doing something productive with our time that doesn’t actually get us any closer to our goals- assuming that we have goals.
First- if you’re trying to make progress without setting goals you are going to have a LOT of problems making progress- regardless of how much time and effort you expend. Learning how to set concrete goals that are then broken down into microgoals to identify the steps necessary to achieve that greater goal is imperative to progress.
I wrote a post a while back regarding the 80/20 principle but I’m bringing it up again because I feel that one of MY greatest hurdles- and of many people that I’ve met- is the ability to master time management, prioritization and goal setting. Goals without plans fail. Work without goals is ineffective. Exceptional success is dependent upon being clear about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it while maintaining the flexibility to make adjustments along the way.
It can be very helpful to keep a journal of your daily efforts, goals, successes and failures. How much of your day is spent focusing on the tasks at hand and achieving goals? Also- are you scattering your energy and effort around? For instance- are you playing on social media while you should be working or working while you should be relaxing? I’ve found that life can feel more fulfilling when we compartmentalize our energies. If you’re working while you’re supposed to be relaxing then you’re probably not really relaxing. If you’re goofing around while you should be focusing on a task then you are not going to be giving your best effort to complete the task in a timely and correct fashion.
Working in programmed chunks of time can help. Work for 45 minutes- take a break for 15 minutes and so forth. It’s also important to keep a clear mind and to not overwhelm your mind and/or body with marathon efforts. This method of time management is much more effective for long-term progress as you don’t burn yourself out trying to beat the clock then crash or give up. Regardless of how much time and energy you put into achieving your goals if you quit before you accomplish them you failed at achieving your goal and you also wasted you time.
Setting priorities can be helpful but it is essential that we focus our efforts on attacking them. Make a list of goals, microgoals and priorities (including rest and relaxation!). Also make a list of possible distractions that could hamper your efforts and prevent you from engaging in productive work. Remember that working while you should be relaxing is also a distraction. Our minds and bodies need to rest and rejuvenate in order operate at peak capacity. What can you do to minimize distractions and engage in productive work?