Let's face it. You have about a million things you "should be" doing. Pressure is raining down on you from every direction and it can feel a little bit overwhelming. What's hard is that the pressure isn't bad. You should be trying to make the world a better place, stand up for what's right, use less plastic, get 30 minutes of cardio in a day, adopt a dog, and on top of it all take time for yourself so you're not stressed.
There's an easy way to take control of this feeling and, maybe most importantly, be intentional and content with your decisions.
The problem comes when our goals get jumbled, procrastinated, or worst yet, forgotten. Starting a calendar with daily boxes to check off helps to solve this problem. The calendar operates more as a chart and helps you track progress over the month. You can have daily and weekly goals while leaving room for more overarching goals.
Some ideas for daily goals
- No sugar
- One hour of studying for CPA Exam
- One hour with your phone turned off
- Half-hour of exercise
- Listen to a podcast on the train to work instead of social media
- Healthy dinner
- 8 hours of sleep
- Do one kind thing for someone
- Take one CPA practice exam
- Two workouts > 2-hours
- Call mom/dad
- Cook dinner for spouse 2x
- Volunteer 1x
- Invest $500
- Schedule next section of CPA Exam
- Read one book for enjoyment
What we're feeling lost about is often structure, so this simple way of goal-orienting builds a quick framework towards progress. A strong indicator of success is the ability to define your goals, but also limit them. Even if you don't keep a goal calendar forever it helps build a snowball of confidence that builds with time.
The list above is useful but generic, so you might want to think about what you struggle with the most. Is it stress? Health? Disconnecting from work? Each of these problems has unique fixes depending on your lifestyle, work requirements, and personality.
Other options for increasing productivity
Leave home at home and work at work
Connectivity is great. The internet is allowing us to connect and grow like never before, but it's also limiting our growth. People are struggling to compartmentalize and balance how they spend their time into "work and life". Expectations are a little out of whack and it's throwing everything off. At work, social apps are taking up too much time, and at home we're responding to work emails, finishing up projects, and stressing about what tomorrow brings.
The app RescueTime gives you a report of how you spend your time on your internet based apps – where you spend your time, how often, and for how long? You can set productivity goals as well.
If you like the idea of a goal calendar but want it on your phone you should check out the app Any.do. This is basically the same thing, but more focused on the day to day goals rather than the same goals every day. Having a process of "goal elimination" proves very helpful to many.
Our CPA Review platform AdaptaPASS also has many helpful options to stay productive and on top of your studies. Having others around you encouraging you towards your goals is also a long forgotten asset. Put the phone down, look out for others, and tell people your goals. A few encouraging words or checking in on someone elses progress to encourage them is always a good place to start.