I’ve been thinking a lot about sticking to goals this week. (I’m sure the fact that I’m already slipping behind on my NaNoWriMo word count has nothing to do with this).
Here are some articles about finishing what you started, why it may be tough to stay on task, and some tools you can use to make it easier on yourself.
David Allen is a productivity expert and creator of the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology. Here’s a longish interview with him talking about distractedness, information overload (or the lack thereof), and dealing with the problem of the “busy trap”, where we’re always behind and struggling to catch up.
Here’s some thoughts on how to dive into a new endeavor and actually see it through. Some of the ideas are a little naively optimistic, in my opinion (“Just set deadlines and stick to them, it’s that easy!”), but the idea of framing your new effort with a manifesto is pretty interesting. It’s a way to really put a stake in the ground for yourself to stay motivated.
We turn out clocks back for Daylight Savings Time this week, and losing an hour of daylight can mess with your productivity. Here are a few simple strategies for optimizing your days to offset the darkness.
One of the seemingly obvious reasons for not accomplishing newly-set goals is being distracted by social media. The allure of the quick check of your Facebook feed can be hard to resist, and then you look up hours later and wonder why you thought you’d actually have time to work on that writing project (I may be projecting here, just a bit 🙂 ). Here’s an infographic from Mashable showing some of the different ways that internet addiction affects our brains.
Here’s a TED talk that gets into the theory of why we don’t seem to meet our goals. Daniel Goldstein explores commitment devices, tools we can use to maximize our chances of meeting our goals. They are basically a way to let your present self, the one that wants to accomplish your goals, to give a nudge to your future self, who may be distracted or tempted by other things. An example is freezing your credit cards in a block of ice to keep you from frivolous spending.
On a similar note, Write or die is an application that forces you to keep writing. If you stop for too long, you’ll receive some kind of negative consequence. If you have it on the most extreme setting, pieces of your work will actually start getting deleted if you don’t keep up with it. Yikes!
For a more positive-reinforcement version of the same idea, check out Written Kitten. It’s also a tool that encourages writing, but it does it by showing you a new picture of a kitten every 100 words. Whether you like cats or not, it’s a neat mind hack to turn your writing into a game.
Finally, here’s a comparison of four productivity applications for OS X and iOS. If you feel like you’re in need of a new tool to help you organize your way to meeting your goals, you might find some good options in here.
Good luck on whatever goals you’ve got set for the upcoming week!