Emails, meetings, infinite online distractions, and other interruptions can make it near impossible to get everything done. Here’s how to use goal setting to boost your productivity.
Set goals early and often. Write down clear goals for each day, week, and—when you are really busy—hour. Refocus on your list when too many things clamor for your attention.
Map your day before you turn on your computer. Take a few minutes in the morning, before the day’s demands barge in, to focus on your priorities.
Set up systems that support your goals. Your goals point you in the right direction. Your systems, says entrepreneur James Clear, are what allow you to reach them. A good system—for instance, setting aside two hours of uninterrupted time two mornings a week for a writing project—is a routine that, if you follow it, will help you make steady progress.
Set a timer. This is especially useful when you have a small increment of time available and want to put it to good use.
Do a five-minute review at the end of each day. This is key, says Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done. What worked well, and what didn’t? What can you do better tomorrow?
Reward yourself when you reach a goal. Do this every day if you can, but every week, for sure. Perhaps a nice brisk walk to clear the mind and stretch the legs?