Five ways to be productive and finish your projects

It’s the new year, it’s even a new decade. What better time to make a new year’s resolution. Mine is to be more productive, and to finish more of my own personal projects. 365 days from now, I want to look back and see a nice collection of finished projects. How am I going to do this? I’ve decided on five rules.

Infographic showing five ways to finish your projects in 2020

My whole idea centres on the concept of keeping up momentum by doing small, specific pieces of work every day, that all work towards a pre-planned goal. The goal isn’t rigidly defined, and is more a direction to go in, but it’s specific enough to keep on track.

Have an objective

Know where you’re going. I have a calendar, for each month there is a mini project to complete. By the end of the year I should have 12 completed mini projects. Over time these projects might change, but at the moment I have 12 and that’s the main goal.

Take bitesized chunks

From experimenting, I have about a three week attention span when doing a single piece of work. After week three I am usually bored, or have derailed myself with something else. To help with this, each month long project has a definite end, and I’ve allowed myself the final week to document the project.

Do your research

I’m not going into this with a vague plan. The projects I have chosen all fit together and build on each other to produce things greater than their individual parts. To achieve this I’ve been doing research and collecting information that will help. Already this has made me cut down on some things I want to do, and helped me discover far more interesting projects than I’d originally thought up.

Review your progress

It’s important to stop and reflect regularly. I’ll do this monthly to make sure I remember the end goal, and haven’t distracted myself with a random side quest. It also means I can maintain momentum by seeing how far I’ve come.

Keep going

Small, continual, regular efforts are far more useful than large infrequent bursts of activity. Doing something daily means it’s always in your mind, so starting the task becomes easier. It also makes it harder to miss a day.

Another New Year’s Resolution for 2020 of mine is to maintain this blog much more frequently. I have a suspicion that a more frequently updated blog attracts more traffic, and if I see visitors coming here, I’ll be more motivated to add content. Build long term goals into your plans for the days when you’re really unmotivated!

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