Articles and News

My 3 Top Tips for Motivation & Productivity

My 3 Top Tips for Motivation & Productivity

This week, I am writing about how motivation, focus and productivity.  As a "solo-preneur" with big dreams, I need to keep myself motivated and maintain focus to make sure I hit my business goals.  Making changes in your career also requires all of those things and I encourage my clients to treat their career transition much like a work project.  Of course I encourage my clients to harness their personal strengths and values to keep them engaged but sometimes they also want some more practical tips!

As a coach, I have been exposed to a plethora of motivational and productivity “hacks”.  Some of these are way more useful than others but I’ve tried a lot of them out and picked the ones that work for me.  I’m often asked how I stay on track and so I thought I’d share my top 3 practices that have the biggest impact for me personally.

Top Tip One: Get Visual

I am a very visual person.  My highest value driver is Aesthetic and I feel most motivated when things around me are in harmony and look pretty. 

At the end of 2019, I created a Vision & Action Board for where I wanted to Dynami to go in 2020.  I used glitter, coloured pens, string, photos, buttons and anything else I could get my hands on.  It had various sections, some focusing on the business with revenue targets and new programme launches, and some focusing on my purpose and how I was going to look after myself to achieve my goals.

I had a strapline for the year: “2020: the year of the career”.  I had my 3 words for the year: Create, Thrive, Inspire.  I had my 3 key drivers: Love, Adventure, Home.  And lots of photos of me, my husband, my dog, my campervan, my holiday snaps and my guitar.  It is beautiful!

I have this board in my office and it’s visible to me every day.  It connects me instantly, visually and emotionally with what I need to do and why I want to do it.  It makes me feel grounded, confident, with purpose and it keeps me moving forward.

Top Tip Two: Dial up the internal resources you need right now

I have some lovely coaching cards called “At My Best”.  They contain 48 different words relating to strengths and values and I use them with coaching clients to help them to identify what traits are reflective of them when they are at their best. 

Whilst I encourage my clients to play to their strengths wherever possible, the truth is that we are all capable of “dialling up” different traits that might not come naturally to us when required in order to get things done.

Now I have a little weekly practice that I created myself.  On a Monday morning, I spread the 48 cards out onto the large table in my office.  I then think about what my goals are for the week.  I pick three cards which represent the traits that I think I will need to dial up that week in order to achieve my goals.  I then get out another lovely set of coaching cards which are a variety of photographs of different things and I pick the one photo that speaks to me of “how” I need to be that week.

This week, for example, I am focusing a large amount of time on writing content for my upcoming online programme "Get Clear on Your Career".  My three words for this week are: Creative, Patient and Focused.  These are not necessarily key traits of mine but they are things that I can summon up to help me stay focused this week. 

The magic this week happened with the picture card.  I found a photo of a grand piano.  I play the piano and this made me realise that, although these aren’t my natural traits, I have experience of using them to create something beautiful and (to me) worthwhile: music.

These four cards get stuck on the wall in front of my desk so I can see them all the time.  They remind me that I can use all the resources within me even if they’re not my natural traits.  They also remind me that it’s just for this week and I can probably get back to playing to my strengths again next week!
 
Top Tip Three: Full Focus Planner

My third top practice is actually a product that I make use of, created by Michael Hyatt call the Full Focus Planner.  This is a beautifully presented (aesthetic!) diary come journal come notebook which helps me to focus on some very good practices. 

The Full Focus Planner gets you to state upfront your annual goals.  This sets the foundation for your quarterly, monthly and weekly goals.  It encourages you to have morning and evening rituals as well as workday startup and workday shutdown rituals.  These last two are invaluable during lockdown!!

Each week, it helps you to review the week just gone: successes, what you want to keep, what you want to let go of.  You then plan for the week ahead and pick your weekly Big 3 goals.  Your daily planner (double page spread) then becomes a combination of your diary, your daily Big 3, your other tasks and a jotter.

This planner definitely keeps me focused and productive.  Being a creative soul who loves to acquire new knowledge, I am easily distracted.  I have learned that creating a structure for the essentials enables me to be flexible and creative around the edges without being pulled away from my goals.

What to do now

I know that everyone is different and that one person's habits and practices do not necessarily work for everyone else.  However, there might be some ideas in here that could work to keep you on track.  Here are a few things you could do:

  • Create a career vision board: what is your long-term vision; how will you break that down; what is important to you; what keeps you going; how will you look after yourself.  Get creative with photos, colours and bits of string!
  • If you're less visually motivated, perhaps you'd like to write a career mission statement which you can keep close at hand to remind you of the bigger picture.
  • Each week, or even each day, ask yourself "what resources do I need to keep myself on track?".  If you'd like to buy the cards that I use, you can purchase them here.
  • Get yourself a daily planner.  There are plenty on the market.  The Full Focus Planner is expensive but comprehensive.  A planner will help you to keep on track and connect your longer term career goals with what you need to be doing each day.

I'd love to know your own motivation and productivity practices.  Please do share!

If you'd like to have my blog delivered to your inbox every Friday (before it appears on SM the following week), sign up here and receive our workbook on how to create a career you love.

« Back to Articles list