4 Secrets to Staying on Task + Setting Goals (Plus, the Planner that Changed my Life!)
Updated: Oct 15
As a small business owner, staying organized and prioritizing can be a challenge. The never ending mountain of to do lists, honestly makes me want to throw in the towel some days.
Even as a fairly organized person there are days I’ve worked the entire day, but by the end of it, I’m not even sure what I got done. Sound familiar? It wasn’t until I found my favorite planner and learned some strategies for prioritization, that things finally changed.
In this blog post, I’ll be sharing the secrets I’ve learned to prioritize tasks, stay organized, and work my day like a CEO. I’ll be covering:
How to map out your goals
How to stay organized and prioritize tasks
The psychology behind decision making
How to create a plan that works for you
If you’re sick and tired of starting and ending each day feeling overwhelmed, then you’re in the right place!
How to Map Out Your Goals
Are you running your business or is your business running you? When I first started my company, it definitely felt like my business was running me. Instead of starting the day intentionally, I’d respond to any unopened texts or emails.
This could last a couple hours, leaving only the afternoon to finish everything else that was still on the to do list. I got so fed up and disappointed with myself that I started researching planners I could buy. I found one that had a section to set goals, then break those goals down by month, and then by week. This peaked my interest.
I went on their website and downloaded their Passion Roadmap. I love the way it starts. It says, “Set a timer for five minutes. Imagine that whatever you write on this piece of paper will come true within the designated time frame. Think of it as a wishlist describing your ideal life. Ask yourself, “If I could be anything, do anything, or have anything, what would it be?” Write every single thing down that comes to mind and be as specific as possible. Lastly, do not feel the need to be realistic or justify our dreams. Just write.”
The rest of the page is broken down into 4 quadrants: 3 months, 1 year, 3 years, and Lifetime. I want to challenge you to grab a sheet of paper and try this out!
If you’re serious about accomplishing these goals and you want a planner that has sections to break it down, check out The Passion Planner. Use code ABIGAILH260 for 10% off your order. P.S. I tend to go with the plain black or a solid color, but they have so many cute options!
How to Stay Organized + Prioritize Tasks
Prioritizing is much more important than staying organized. You could reorganize your office space everyday, but that’s not going to help your business grow. One of the biggest things I prioritize is IPA’s. IPA stands for: Income Producing Activities. Having a clean and organized space to do your work is important, but if your office is going to take a while to clean out, find somewhere else to get your IPAs done first.
Here's the system I use to prioritize each and every day. It's called the Kanban Method and it consists of 4 columns:
Master To Do’s
(Get everything out of your head)
(3 things you’re currently working on)
(things that can’t get done until someone sends you more details/info)
and last but not least,
(for all the things you’ve gotten done today)
The key to this strategy is to only be working on 3 things at a time. I get a lot of new ideas while I'm working, but I put those in the master to do's list. This ensures I stay focused on those top 3 things, before jumping to something else. I usually put this on a clipboard, but on days where the ideas are overflowing I use a giant magnetic whiteboard!
The Psychology Behind Decision Making
Have you ever gotten to a point in your day where you feel like you can’t make any more decisions? When I get started on my day early, by about 3 or 4pm it feels like my brain can't take anything else. It's even worse if I've been on my phone a lot! This is called decision fatigue. The human brain can only make a certain number of decisions each day until decision fatigue starts to set in. This is why why we can tend to feel mentally drained after a long day. Everyone’s number of decisions they can make daily varies, but on average they say the human brain can only make up to 35,000 decisions in a day.
This seems like a high number, but think about it. You’ve probably ignored notifications while reading this, or taken a sip of coffee, or even taken a quick phone call and came back to continue reading – each and every one of those decisions counts towards the total number. One of the things Steve Jobs is known for, is wearing the same outfit every single day. He does this in order to reduce decision fatigue. Setting goals can feel like a one big giant decision, but when we make the time to do this, it makes everything else easier to prioritize. Goals are great for a direction, but once you have a goal it's important to break it down into steps. No one gets on an airplane without knowing its destination. Set your goals to set your direction, break the goal down into actionable steps, and stay focused on the tasks that get you closer to your goal.
Here's a preview of how easy the Passion Planner makes it to break down your goals!
How to Create a Plan that Works for You
Setting your goals makes prioritizing tasks so much simpler. Goals are great for setting a direction, but the smaller tasks that you'll have to complete to hit your goal, are just as important. What I love about the Passion Planner, is that it gives you the ability to turn your goals into a plan. The best way to use the planner is to set your goals, then input your monthly tasks, and weekly tasks. Using the Kanban Method daily along with the planner, makes for a much more focused and productive day!
If you’re ready to ditch the overwhelm and get back to what truly matters, this planner will change the game. If you’re not a pen and paper gal, they even have digital planners. You can download them straight to your iPad and write tasks in with an Apple Pencil! Whether you plan on paper or digitally, this incredible resource that can take you from overwhelmed to empowered! Don’t forget to use code ABIGAILH260 for 10% off your order. If you want to checkout the planner layout or see how other people use the planner, check out Passion Planner on Instagram. My planner doesn't always look as pretty as theirs, but as long as it's affective, that's all that matters to me!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.