It can be very difficult to keep on track when there is no concrete deadline. We often think, “Oh, I’ll work on it little by little.” Yet, we somehow lose focus of the task at hand and the ability to motivate ourselves. Typically, we need a time limit in order to make ourselves start and stay motivated to the end. Or, do we?
Make Your Own Deadline for Longer Tasks
If it is difficult to complete tasks without a deadline, why don’t we just make our own? By doing this, we are able to visualize an end time and establish daily goals to work towards the deadline we have created. If we stick to it, this imaginary deadline becomes concrete in our mind. Here are some tips to create a practical deadline:
- Pick a workable deadline around when you would like to finalize the task
- Figure out how many hours it will take to complete the task
- Divide the hours into even increments. For example, if it will take about 40 hours and you would like to accomplish the task within 15 days, divide the hours by the amount of days and that is your daily work goal for the task
- Stick to it!
Set Daily or Weekly Goals for Short Term Tasks
We all have several items we want to complete by the end of the day and the week but sometimes we can’t get to all of them. At the start of each week, make a list of the tasks you would like to complete by the end of the week. Second, divide the tasks and place them on a daily task list. Make sure to consider priorities when allocating the task to a certain day. Each morning look at your list for the day and start with the least fun ones first. As a result, you will enjoy the satisfaction as you complete each one and cross it off your list! If you don’t get to all of them, then roll those over to the next day or next available slot on your calendar.
The easiest way to get off track is to procrastinate and lose focus, which is often simply a matter of organization. However, if you write down your to-do list every day and keep it within sight, it will help you to stay on track. Try investing in a day planner or agenda. Day planners are especially great for hour-by-hour planning which helps busy people stay on track. Also, day planners often include sections where you can write out your goals/weekly aspirations. This is a small, yet fun and effective, way of maintaining organization and motivation.
Realize The “Why?”
This is easily the most important aspect of finding motivation. There should always be a “why” to every task you do – a purpose. First, ask yourself, what are my short-term and long-range goals and is this task going to help me achieve those goals? Abandon tasks that don’t help you meet your goals. Without purpose, we cannot fully invest ourselves.