We all know that goals can at some point get overwhelming—especially the big ones. Most of us often give up even before attaining our goal/s. This is the very reason for doing one task at a time, every single day. The focus should be on accomplishing small steps that will give us small wins so that we get to enjoy the journey. Before we know it, all our small actions have added up to fulfill our big goal and now, we’re living the life we’ve always wanted. Our goals should always follow the SMART strategy, an acronym that stands for smart, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
It’s easier said than done though. Every day will become your battlefield, especially if you are struggling to find the silver lining in what you are doing. You might feel unmotivated to finish your work tasks so you procrastinate until it’s already crunch time and you need to rush to reach your deadline. When this happens, the quality suffers and your job becomes at risk. You should remind yourself that motivation is very unstable so we shouldn’t rely on it every day. What we should work on is building discipline. When you’re not motivated but you’re disciplined, you will still finish what you have to do and feel fulfilled at the end of the day that you powered through. There are various ways as to how you can build and stay disciplined. We listed down some tips below so that you can have more days when you are productive, happy, and fulfilled at work.
1. Have a mental visualization of your goals.
No one knows what the future holds but it helps to reach your goal by thinking that you’ve already achieved it. For instance, you want to work at a high-rise building in New York someday. You imagine yourself wearing a suit and tie and carrying your suitcase around 5th Avenue until you get to your office. You sit on your chair in front of your desk overlooking the skyline of New York. Your assistant hands you your morning cup of coffee as you read the day’s newspaper. You go from one meeting to another, excited to talk about projects for the company’s success. And then your time out at 5:30 pm, meet some friends over dinner and go home to a glass of red wine. That’s it. You’re living your dream.
Everything you’re doing right now is leading you to the fulfillment of this imaginary picture. You’ll look forward to finishing every single task of the day because you want that imaginary life to become your reality someday.
But as mentioned above, you want to also be able to enjoy the journey. So aside from imagining the destination, imagine as well the grind it would take for you to reach that. Imagine yourself going from one pretty cafe to another. Imagine learning about new facts and discovering new talents. Imagine the thrill of finishing a small project and being damn proud of yourself for doing so. Imagine as well the difficulties you’ve had to go through and that you were able to conquer them one by one.
2. Have a to-do list every day.
If we haven’t reiterated enough, big goals will overwhelm you especially if you are not seeing results. Your goal seems to be so ambitious and big that what you do is put them off another day, another week, another month, and another year. Time is ticking and you are not getting any younger. But to take that pressure out and still feel very much fulfilled with your everyday life, break down your big goal into small, actionable steps that you can do daily. Remind yourself that you are skilled and talented and that you have what it takes to reach your goal. You should just have a great strategy and commit to it.
If you focus on finishing your small tasks one by one, you’ll soon wake up to the life that you have always been dreaming of.
3. Make use of the Pomodoro technique.
There are many techniques out there to help you finish work every day. Use these to your advantage. One such technique is called Pomodoro wherein you work for 25 minutes straight and rest for five minutes. After the five minutes is up, you go back to work for another 25 minutes. The cycle continues until you have finished doing your task. For some, after they have done 4 straight 25-5 work and break rounds, they allow themselves to rest a bit longer, extending up to 15 minutes so that they return to work with a recharged body and mind. Set a 25-minute timer on your phone so that you’ll be given a signal when it’s time to take your five-minute rest. We guarantee this technique works and more especially for procrastinators because it will force them to work nonstop before they entertain any distractions.
4. Do not aim for perfection.
Perfectionists, most often than not, are unable to finish anything. They are so obsessed with perfecting every single detail that they stop when they are unable to or when something goes out of hand. But you have to remind yourself that no human or nothing on Earth is 100% perfect. There will always be flaws and room for improvement. If you think you are already perfect, then there would be no room for you to grow and become even better. So our reminder is to get rid of that idea that you always have to be perfect. Your goal is to finish your task for the day which will help you become a step closer to your ultimate dream. You can always incorporate changes along the way. And if you work ahead of time because your goal is to finish the task, then you just gifted yourself with more hours and days to polish whatever you finished before the deadline. Again, do not forget to take rests in between doing tasks so as to avoid burnout and committing mistakes.
5. Create an environment that inspires you to work.
Your workplace is a huge determinant of your productivity. Your environment helps you become more motivated and productive at work. It should be clean and free of clutter to aid your mind in releasing unnecessary thoughts. You would enjoy an ergonomic chair that reduces pain and ensures a comfortable working experience. Using a standing desk will help you shift from a sitting to a standing position at any time of the day. Having an under desk bike allows you to add more movement to your otherwise sedentary desk job. With this kind of environment and all the tools at your perusal, you will find yourself more alert and focused on work.
Note also that surrounding yourself with people who are better than you is a great motivator for you to strive for greener pastures.