What I’m about to say next might surprise some people, considering my track record in writing and publishing, and the fact that I’ve completed all by my thesis in a masters programme, but I struggle with productivity.
More often than not, I can’t force myself to just pick up any old project at a random point in the day and just start working on it. That never ends well. Usually because it never even begins. I don’t do well with non-specific goals and deadlines. I either completely avoid the work, or I can’t focus on it entirely because I haven’t placed any importance upon it.
On Monday morning, I decided that I needed to address that issue properly. I had woken up earlier than planned, and I had set myself a goal to record a video for my YouTube channel. That was it. And I couldn’t even make myself do that.
So, I took out some coloured post-its, and on each one wrote down goals for the day based around different topics. One was for a book. One for some video production. One for an event. The fourth was for my thesis group. When I had all four stuck up on my wall, I took out some record cards – four again.
This time, I wrote goals for the whole summer on one, and weekly goals on the other three. I made sure to cover as many different aspects of my life as I could into each one. I want to work on my writing career as well as my multimedia work. The end result?
You’re looking at it. Part of this week’s goals was to maintain a schedule for blogging and vlogging. Last Tuesday, a video. This Tuesday, a video. Last Thursday, a blog post. This Thursday – today… well, you get the point.
As well as beating my video production goals for a voluntary project (finishing up on Monday night, instead of Wednesday night), I managed to clear up my schedule to work on a book and a website for a couple of evenings this week – and that’s before we even hit the weekend.
For me, aimless productivity is a nightmare. But manageable to-do lists? They’re my keys to establishing a sense of productivity in my life that I can maintain more easily.