Sometimes I get to the end of the day and think to myself that I have accomplished absolutely nothing that day.
Sometimes that is true.
Other times it is only partially true, and when I look at my day in context with just that day I have actually accomplished a few small tasks that will eventually lead to the larger goal I have in mind, but I sometimes still feel disappointed with my output.
I will use writing as an example.
I follow some writers and have a few writer friends that are absolute work horses. They can write more words in a day and publish more stories in a month than some people will ever do in their lifetime.
I strive to be that productive, but for now I set more realistic goals for myself. Maybe I aim for 1000 words for the day, and when I end up writing 3642 words I feel even better about myself.
But what I also need to do is take whatever project I am working on and break it down into smaller milestones. Even the smallest milestone will help me get it done.
So let’s say I have a story that I want to publish by the end of the week (and it just so happens I do have a story that I want published by the end of the week). I have often times found myself saying that I will work on it today and get less done than expected and then feel bad about myself for not getting enough done on it in time to publish it by the end of the week.
What I have found is that it works better when I break it down into tasks so small that it seems ridiculous not to get it done.
Yesterday the first draft was complete. Today my only goal was to read through it and fix typos and make small changes. Tomorrow I read through it again fixing anything that might need fixing. Thursday I read through it again, still making any fixes I need to fix and then I format it. Friday I finalize the formatting if I need to and then publish it.
Every step I just broke down can all be done in a single day. Probably a few hours.
But it doesn’t need to be done in a single day. In fact the reading and fixing should have a rest period in between, but if time was of the essence could be done in a single day.
So with that project I have the steps broken down and scheduled. Now all I have to do is one little step each day and I know exactly when that project will get done.
So instead of thinking of a current project all day long and being disappointed in the lack of work I am getting done on that project, I can think of the single task that I need done for the day and feel accomplished when I get that task, and more, done for the day.
And exercising my productivity this way will help me increase my output and eventually reach that work horse level.