How to Make 2018 Your Most Productive Year Ever

Author: Kristina Proffitt

4th January 2018

With the start of the new year comes the inevitable onslaught of New Year’s Resolutions. Plenty of studies over the years have shown how ineffective they are at helping us to change our habits, yet many of us still go through with this yearly tradition.

The problem is, our willpower fizzles with the passing weeks and we slip back into the habits we wanted to change.

We think that instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, it helps to make small, conscious changes in your routine. Small changes are much easier to adopt and, when added together, can make a big difference. And ultimately help you reach these pesky new year goals.

Here’s some changes that we are making to our content marketing strategy and that can inspire you too.

Plan ahead

The further in advance you plan, the easier it is to reach your goals.

For example, one of my goals is to publish more content on this blog. I can write 14,000 words in a day, but I would never publish those words on the same day. It’s best to let things stew for at least a couple of days so that you can view it objectively. Taking time away from something can make a huge different to how you view it. You can then use this new perspective to improve on your original idea and fix any issues.

As of this year, I’m going to plan my blog posts a month in advance. That way, there’s plenty of room for manoeuvre, as well as plenty of content in place if something goes wrong. I’ve started using a content calendar to note down ideas and penciling in when I want to publish specific posts.

Expect the unexpected

Unexpected events can and do disturb even the best laid plans. No matter how far in advance you plan, there are just some things you can’t prepare for. Planning in advance does help you to handle things better when the unexpected does happen, though.

It’s always worth having a couple of backup ideas just in case something goes wrong. We have a long list of ideas to choose from, that way if something happens and the article we’d planned for can’t be published, we have something that can go in its place.

To-do lists help you to be more productive, but you can't be prepared for everything. Just remember you never know what's around the corner...

To-do lists are…underrated

An effective to-do list keeps you focused even when you’re still recovering from New Year’s Eve. If you really want to get into to-do lists, Bullet Journaling is like a to-do list on steroids. If you want something simpler, use symbols or colors to separate out tasks that you need to do urgently, those that aren’t urgent but need to be done, and works-in-progress. That way, it’s easy to see at-a-glance what you need to do and what you’ve already done. At the end of each day, rewrite your list and add in any new tasks. This cements your list into your brain and keeps you focused.

We use Basecamp to manage our projects, and we are going to make a conscious effort to add more to-do list to our projects especially when they involve getting content from another member of the team.

Find the right environment for the task

The right work environment can make a huge difference to how productive you are at a specific task. Ss we spend a lot of time researching and writing, it’s important that we can concentrate. Some of us prefer to work in noisier environments, while others prefer to put headphones on and block out external stimuli. If we get stuck on something, we find a change of scenery can be useful. It helps to go for a walk or grab a coffee from a nearby Starbucks.

If you get stuck on a task a change of environment can unlock your creativity.

Go dark

Sometimes you just need to switch off from the outside world. Constantly checking emails and being active on Slack drains your attention and can be counterproductive.

Instead of being so reactive, switch off. Focus on one task at a time. Use something like the Pomodoro technique to block out your time and ensure you’re not focusing on one task for too long. This mono-tasking approach is something we’re going to do more of this year, as some of our best work as come from doing so.

When you’re not used to multitasking, it can be difficult to give one task your full attention for a long period. That’s why it’s important to tart off small, and gradually build your way up to working on tasks for longer.

Conclusion

These small changes are quick and easy habits we can all adopt to become more productive. Because they’re not as dramatic as most people’s New Year’s Resolutions, they’re much easier to stick to long-term. Which means they’re much more likely to make a difference, too.

What small changes have you made to your routine that have made a big difference? And what are you planning for 2018?

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Kristina Proffitt

Date: 4th January 2018 | Category: Productivity