While we’re discussing how to make time for our personal goals over on Episode 099 of Productivity Paradox this week, many of you have asked me how you can find success and maintain excitement while on the job in pursuit of your career goals…
I think maintaining both focus and excitement in the workplace is essential when it comes to experiencing high levels of productivity in the pursuit of success, so that’s what I’d like to focus on here today.
Let’s dive in!
One important idea to keep in mind is that, when it comes to finding success and maintaining excitement (i.e. motivation) on the job, it’s important that we first understand exactly how our working hours affect us… and how we can make better use of the time that we’ve got.
If you remember our discussion with Laura Vanderkam back on Episode 072 of the podcast, then you already know that tracking your time (both at home and at work) can shed a lot of light on how productive you are versus how productive you could be.
The key is to understand exactly how long your day-to-day activities take so that you can plan your day for success right out the gate. In that light, I encourage you to keep a time log for an entire week so that you can gain a better understanding of how you’re spending your time, and where you might be able to make room for some improvement when it comes to your productivity.
Need a refresher on how this is done? Check out another discussion we had with Laura Vanderkam back on Episode 023!
Once you have a better understanding of how you’re using your time (and how you can improve upon the ways in which you’re spending it), you can use that information to create an ideal schedule for yourself around your working hours.
I recommend having a planning session at least once each week (Sunday is my favorite day to plan for the week ahead!), so that you can clearly identify the tasks that need your immediate attention versus those that can be left until you’ve cleared the hurdle of the most pressing items on your agenda.
Because for many of us, a lack of excitement about our work has less to do with the actual work, and much more to do with HOW we approach it. When we don’t have a clear plan in place, our idea of what we should be working on becomes muddled, and we put far too much energy into items that aren’t necessarily aligned with the goals we have in mind… which leaves us with feelings of burnout at the end of the day.
Not sure of what items on your plate you should be focusing on, or what tasks fall under Urgent? Check out Episodes 033 and 062 for some helpful tips on using a Priority List and on How to Prioritize the RIGHT things!
For many of us, the excitement that we gain from creating a new plan with fresh goals can be pretty overwhelming… So much so that we run the risk of becoming just a little bit overzealous and are met with failure as a result.
The problem? We bite off more than we can chew in the pursuit of our goals that we get sidetracked along the way, and all motivation and excitement that we experienced at the start just falls to the wayside.
To prevent this from happening, setting small, doable tasks that are aligned with our goals is crucial. Even more crucial, is making sure that we hold ourselves accountable for the small tasks that we’ve set out to accomplish!
To start, identify small, bite-sized tasks that relate to a goal you have in mind. Then, take a look at your time log, your work schedule (and work-related items on your agenda), and find pockets of time in your day that you can devote to your bite-sized, goal-oriented tasks…
Limit yourself to maybe 2 or 3 small goal-oriented tasks each day (or each week—whatever you think you can reasonably accomplish), and then make sure that you get to them!
If you’re someone that benefits from reinforcement from another person, then finding yourself an accountability partner (a close friend or even a co-worker) might be the ingredient to your success that you’ve been missing all along.
If you enjoy more of a solo approach to your goals, that’s fine too! Sometimes, using an app, posting your goals on social media (if that’s your thing) or making a promise to yourself can pay off in the long-run when it comes to holding yourself accountable… Find what works for you, and put it into practice!
You’ve heard me talk about the importance of cutting back on unnecessary tasks, like answering emails, for example, time and time again… But in order to make time for your goals and create the success that you want to see, it’s important that you’re able to identify exactly what constitutes as “work” and what doesn’t.
Checking your email, scheduling meeting after endless meeting… Tasks like these, while they may seem important on the surface, can actually be huge time wasters when it comes to slaying your goals.
To nip your time-wasting habits in the bud, refer back to your time log and your ideal schedule. What areas of your schedule require immense focus? Those are the blocks of your day where checking your email or scheduling a meeting should never collide with.
Highlight areas of your schedule that lie at the core of the goal(s) you’re trying to accomplish and devote the most of your focused attention there—because that is the bulk of the actual “work” at hand.
Anything that strays from the core of what you’re setting out to achieve (email; meetings; phone calls), save for those moments in your day where you find yourself in between tasks that require your attention… You might be surprised by how much you’re able to get done by the end of the week!
In order to maintain excitement on the job, it’s important that you make pleasure a big-ticket item on your agenda… Because here’s the thing about the most successful people in the world today: They all make it a point to seek out the joy in their work, no matter what!
While nearly every job is going to have some elements to it that are less enjoyable than others, the key here is to learn how to tweak your schedule (your time) so that you’re spending more hours doing what you love… and fewer hours doing what you don’t.
Obviously, this can be difficult depending on your actual job, but another big takeaway here is that having a sense of progress in your work can lead to a sense of fulfillment and purpose, which can breed greater levels of joy in the future.
So how is this done exactly? Give yourself the opportunity to focus on the core parts of your job—of your work—that are measurable and that give you the greatest sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Keep track of them and refer back to them often whenever you find yourself in need of a boost of positivity.
The more you keep the successes that you’ve already experienced in your career in mind, the easier it will be to find the joy that you need to fuel your motivation to show up and crush your work goals each and every day.
What are some things that have helped you maintain your excitement on the job?
Share your ideas in the comments below… And be sure to tune in to Episode 099 of Productivity Paradox this week for some helpful tips and tricks on making time for your personal goals!
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