An executive, whom I greatly admired, once told me “if you aren’t meeting them by June, you will not meet your goals for the entire year.” I took those words to heart and for the next 2 years, with great stress and feelings of inadequacy, I mentally gave up on any goals my organization was not meeting at mid-year. Now, with great confidence, I can assure you of this: Checking-out on goals that were important to me, because I believed there was no hope, was not an effective strategy. You know what else? Eventually, I figured out he was wrong. At mid-year, there is plenty of time left to meet your goals!
If you set goals for 2016 you have not yet reached, have metrics you are falling short on, or plans you have not yet implemented, don’t give up on them now! It is not too late; there is a lot of quality time left in 2016. Get going now with commitment and determination, and I bet you will be surprised by how quickly you progress.
These 5 tips will help you to get focused, re-focus, and stay focused on the things you want and/or need to accomplish in the next few months:
- Plan your day. Planning gives you a sense control. Feeling out of control will derail you in a heartbeat. Take a few minutes to determine and recognize your commitments for the day, and schedule what you will work on during specific blocks of time. Already have 3 meetings booked for tomorrow? How will you spend your time before, after, or in-between them?
- Prioritize your tasks. A moment spent prioritizing your daily plan and action items will help ensure you invest your valuable time and energy on those things that are the most important and impactful.
- Practice the 10 (or 30)minute rule. If you find yourself procrastinating on an important task, commit to working on it for 10 uninterrupted minutes. When the 10 minutes ends, you may find you are “in the flow” and able to keep going, accomplishing more than you expected. The 10 (or 30) minute rule also enables you to break one large project into bit-size tasks.
- Just say “No”. It might be that chatty co-worker, an additional project, or another piece of pie: That feeling bubbling up inside is giving you a warning. If you are going to accomplish your goal, the smartest thing you can do is just say “No”. Practice graciously declining – It gets easier, I promise. You’ll be glad you did, and others will likely respect you for it too.
- Take a break. Being burned-out and overstressed wreaks havoc on your ability to meet goals. Concentration lags, productivity drops, and costly mistakes or derailing behaviors are much more likely to occur. A break actually increases your focus and productivity. Go to lunch, take a walk, or do some stretches. Meditate, phone a friend, or take a vacation! A little time spent shifting your focus, changing your scenery, getting re-nourished, and moving your body does wonders for your ability to get things done!
The time is now to reassess, plan your strategy, and put in the effort needed to meet your goals. Don’t let anyone, not even the voice in your own head, convince you to give up. Even if you fall short, you’ll end this year much closer to your ultimate goal, and positioned for a great start to 2017!