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Romans 12:2
Encouragement to fulfill God's purpose through Practical Life Application and Navigation

3 Steps to Greater Productivity

I love when Carrie Daws puts something special together for us and today’s post is no exception. Setting goals is one thing, but staying on track is quite another. Carrie has a 3 Step Process to turn goals into reality! Thanks Carrie!


You bought Lindon and Sherry’s book and became a master declutter-er. You bought the study guide and made sure your heart and head were aligned with Christ. Your calendar hasn’t been so empty in years, your email inbox is cleaned out, and the linen closet is ready for a magazine photographer.


Can you come to my house?




I’ve read the book (loved it!), and the study guide (awesome addition), and the 30 Days to Freedom devotional (okay, so only part of it). I made it through a TON of stuff: emptied out closets, deleted contacts, and unsubscribed from emails.


Not that I want you to actually open all my closet doors. Or admit to how many contacts I still have listed or emails I still receive in a day. And my calendar—it is so hard to protect time!


Back in January I wrote a post: 6 Steps To Getting More Done. I did set goals for 2015, and I truly want to finish everything I wrote down. So the question I had to answer for myself was this: How do I keep myself on track?


You know, past the first two weeks when statistics show about thirty percent of us give up on a new goal.


So I did what writers do when we have a question: I researched. I listened to the expert advice of those who appeared to be succeeding in reaching goals, and then I formulated a simple, three-step process.


Beware! I said simple. Not easy. You’ve been warned.


Step #1: Take care of myself.

I’ll be honest. This is my least favorite step. Outside of the fitness industry, who wants to drink a whole fruit smoothie with spinach when you can have a piping hot pizza fresh from the oven? Or get up before sunrise to go for a five-mile run? Or walk away from family happily watching TV at night to make sure I get plenty of sleep?


Not me.


But, when I do these things consistently, I find I’m more energized during the day, and I don’t fight that mid-afternoon slump. And with those benefits in mind, even this pizza-loving, cookie-craving, carb-a-holic can make one change every month or so to improve my health.


Step #2: Write down annual goals.

I‘m a list maker. LOVE them. It seems I have lists for everything in my life. It’s what keeps me feeling like my life is not merely a swirl of chaos and that I really did accomplish something last week.


So when a virtual mentor (you know, one of those people you and ten thousand others follow online) suggested I make annual goals, that was easy for me. What could be bad about adding another list to my life?


Well, after doing this for a couple of years, let me suggest a few things. First, if you want to succeed this year, you need to define that. What exactly does success look like for you? Don’t forget to take into consideration your WHOLE life. For me this includes: career, physical, financial, spiritual, intellectual, family, and social.


And, you MUST limit the number of goals in each category, as well as the number of your total goals. Don’t overwhelm yourself by listing out fifty things you want to achieve this year! That’s too many. Instead, focus on the one or two you most want to see happen in each segment of your life, limiting yourself to around ten items total.


Okay, so I have fourteen for this year. You get the idea.


Two other critical elements:

  1. Sprinkle deadlines throughout the year. You don’t want to realize on December 1st you still have most of the items on your list to do!
  2. Post them where you see them. Regularly. I have mine printed at the top of my weekly goal list, which I’ll talk about now.


Step #3: Write down weekly goals.

In addition to annual goals, you need to set weekly ones. You can think of this like a To Do list, but a couple of tweaks will make it more effective.


Taking Lindon and Sherry’s advice in Declutter Now! Chapter One, organize your list into three categories: high priority items, mid-priority items, and low-priority items. Then, number the items in each section according to priority.


As you are making your list, be sure to check your calendar for upcoming projects or events, and don’t forget your annual goals. Add a small portion of one or two of those to your list. But again, don’t overwhelm yourself by listing out fifty things to do each week. Limit yourself to the most critical seven-to-ten high priority items, and the rest move down to mid-priority. Limit yourself to a maximum of ten mid-priorities, then everything else goes under low priorities.


Then work your list.


Yep, it’s that simple. While I will sometimes do something farther down the list, I try hard to first complete my high priority items before moving on to mid-priorities. And, if something comes up unexpectedly or I just plain forgot to put it on the list, I add a written note in the appropriate section so I get it done as well.


Last Thoughts

I don’t recommend you try to enact this entire post tomorrow. That would be stressful. But, you can pick the one thing that you most liked and start doing it. And next week, or next month, choose a second idea to conquer.


Little-by-little you’ll be like me: not where you want to be, but closer than ever before.


God rewrote Carrie’s dreams from being a full-time accountant to being a stay-at-home mom and an author. Carrie’s husband medically retired from the USAF in 2008 and they currently live in northern Virginia with their three children. She stays busy homeschooling and volunteering within military ministries. You can find Carrie at carriedaws.com.


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