One down, four to go! The first (and usually busiest) quarter of the year is behind us. That means talk of resolutions, plans and strategies have taken back seat and I’m fully focused on EXECUTION.
And that’s where many of us sometimes struggle. We write down the vision, we ‘speak it into existence’ and we hope for the best. But when it comes to execution, life can get in the way.
“I’m not sure how to do this, and learning how will take too long”
“I’m not sure where to start”
“There’s just so much to do!”
The struggle hustle can be REAL — but today we’re talking about solutions and not problems.
Completing big and small goals is less daunting than it seems at first, you just need the right strategy in place. Between running this site, launching my book, consulting for clients and actually having a life, I know what it means to have A LOT going on, especially when I’m giving 100% to every different project. And most of the time, it goes pretty well.
So today’s blogpost is pretty practical: here are my top 5 ways to get stuff done this Q2:
Plan, plan and plan again
If it’s not written down, it probably won’t happen. There’s a saying that goes: “A goal without a plan is just a wish” and I fully believe it. When you break down big tasks to smaller steps and add some dates to it, everything begins to work like clockwork. For example, with a good, date-based plan, no longer are you worried about how you will print the report you’re working on, because you’ve planned to figure out printing on X date. You’ve postponed that concern for another day. Right now your main focus is the most important thing: getting the report written in the first place.
I always ask clients, colleagues and people I mentor “when do you plan complete do [insert activity]?”. Just like setting a date with friends, adding some dates to your plan levels up your commitment, you’re less likely to cancel. (Obviously, things still get moved about, that’s life! But there’s a lower probability of it happening).
2. Take a step back to think and prioritise
We overlook this one SO much. Many of us are rushing to get things done that we rarely question whether it’s even worth doing right now, or ever. For example, if you’re trying to build your social presence in a niche academic or business area, your goal may be to get followers. But not just any followers, followers that actually care about what you’re sharing. But in this world of social-media comparison, it’s easy to get distracted when you see what everyone else is doing. Slowly, you start to focus on getting followed by anyone, even if they may not benefit from what you’re sharing. So you start to post more generic content that pleases them, instead of focusing on a smaller (but super passionate) group of people who care about your niche.
For the ‘doers’ out there, this step might feel counterintuitive. Stopping doesn’t always feel like progress — but as the saying goes: direction is better than speed. So get input from trusted advisors, and regularly refresh your plans. You don’t want to waste your time chasing goals that were never really yours.
Time to pause: If you can relate to this point, take this as a sign to pause right now for 15 minutes and rethink your priorities. Rethink your ‘why’. It might be a great time to journal it.
3. Use tech, it’s no longer optional
There are literally thousands of websites and apps designed to make your life easier. Yes, it may take a day or two to get used to using the tech, but it’ll save weeks of struggle and potentially £££s/$$$s as well. My current favourites are:
Asana — for my to-do lists, project management and collaborating with others
Buffer — for social media, my fave!
IFTTT — an O.G. in the productivity world, that connects all your apps together
Toggl — for tracking how long it takes me to complete different tasks
These apps all have free versions, which are very helpful if you’re just getting started. The incredible team at Steady Planner giving away $800 worth of productivity apps for free — all you have to do is enter their giveaway (click here). Not sponsored, enjoy!
4. The people around you matter (essential!)
There really is nothing sweeter than working with people who ‘get it’. Together you will sharpen each other’s minds, learn some new skills and complement each other’s weaknesses. For example, if you really struggle with tech or social media, working with someone who loves that stuff will completely transform how you work (or, you can hire us). This year I’ve really learned the value of doing things in groups — the load is lighter and therefore your projects (both business and hobbies) will be more sustainable.
Note: there usually is a transition period where things might be a bit difficult as you get to know how each other work. But if you’re patient, honest and focus on the project more than your ego, you will be fine.
5. Remember it’s bigger than you
“The one who plants is not anybody special, nor the one who waters, for God is the one who brings the supernatural growth. Now, the one who plants and the one who waters are equally important and on the same team, but each will be rewarded for his own work.”
— 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
Ultimately, as you may know by now — faith plays a huge part in my life. What Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3 is especially beautiful because it shows how we play a part in the work we set out to do, but ultimately it’s God’s hand on it that brings it into full bloom. So in a way, the pressure is off.
Keeping in mind that it is ultimately God who brings success, I also continuously ask myself these questions about my goals:
Am I passionate about this/do I like this?
Do I have the basic skills and am I willing to grow in this area?
What does God say about this, do I feel called?
I’m not saying I get it right all the time, but constantly keeping God’s desires for my life at the centre of my work provides clarity. Don’t be afraid to change your approach or let go of a project if you have a repeated conviction about it.
Those are my 5 favourite strategies for making the hustle a bit easier, in the the next blogpost, we’ll be talking more about REST. I’m taking a different view from the normal “do less, sleep more” concept, because for me, there’s more to the equation. The blogpost will be based on the sermon I’ve giving at church on Sunday— wish me luck!
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