Put your best foot forward in the new year by starting projects you’ll actually finish.
Each New Year presents a moment to pause and reflect on the milestones and accomplishments of the past 12 months, and also to explore areas to improve. Motivation runs high in these early months when smoking cessation plans are formed, credit cards are shredded, and gyms are full to bursting. Whatever your goal for the coming year, it probably touches on something that most everyone can agree on – less stress.
Whether it comes from work, financial worry, or other areas of our lives, we’re constantly bombarded by life’s stressors. Luckily, we can go home at the end of a long day and enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle in our own personal refuge, right? Well, more often than not, home isn’t quite the stress-free safe haven you need it to be. It can cause additional stress due to clutter and disorganization or an ever-expanding to-do list. But here’s the good news – reducing stress in your daily life is simpler than you think. With these tips and suggestions, you’ll be on your way to shrinking your to-do list and becoming a happier, more organized you.
1. Set Goals
It all starts with deciding exactly what it is that you want to accomplish. Want to de-clutter your home office and create a filing system you’ll actually use? Toss the mountains of old clothes? Finally organize the garage? Pick projects that have a defined end point and you’ll be more likely to follow through.
2. Make a List
There’s never enough time in the day to do everything, so you’ll have to be choosy. Put all of your goals, realistic or not, together on a page. By doing this, you’ll be able to divide them into short and long-term projects and prioritize the ones that are most important. Keep an eye out for similar projects and group them together to save time and energy.
3. Plan Your Attack
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, you’ll have to put together a plan for getting it done, especially for the bigger projects. By spending time planning, you can save yourself time and extra effort in the long run. Follow these steps for any project that may take longer than a couple of hours:
- Give your project a name and decide when it’s finished. Determining your objectives up front will let you know when you can check it off your list.
- Write down all of the steps that you or someone else will need to take to get there. Include the resources you’ll need for each of these steps.
- Set a deadline for each major step, working backwards from whenever you want to finish the project. Take into account unexpected delays and interruptions when making your timeline.
4. Track Your Progress
Nothing boosts motivation and gives you a sense of accomplishment like putting a big red checkmark on your to-do list. One of the great things about spending time mapping out each step of a project is that it gives you more things to cross off as you complete them. Doing this will help you keep momentum as you move toward your goal.
While the New Year presents a great chance to turn over a new leaf and cut the clutter, any time is a perfect time to start. Just remember – make a plan and track your progress. The easiest way to have success to know where you’re going and to recognize your small victories in getting there. It’s all about progress.