I was reflecting on the irony of how December always brings a sense of peace and reflection...
...And then January and February come along like a tsunami.
You know, just for good measure.
In just the 2-3 short months of 2021 so far, there has been exhaustion, challenges, sickness, frailty and even loss.
In such chaos, it is so easy to lose the plot, the thread that binds everything you want to do together.
Back in February, I set out with a bold list of things to get done for the month to come.
But by the end of the month, I had hardly tackled even a couple of the things.
So much for productivity...
The thing is, I was very busy, and I did do more than I'd ever tackled for work. I made huge strides with courses and my output at work was at an all time high.
However, it is all too easy to get caught up with the rush that January and February bring, and to become very rapidly over-subscribed.
Somehow you find yourself far away from the intentions you made at the beginning of the year.
It is all too easy to lose track of the days, which can soon turn into months.
Last month, this small change in my daily planner has been helping keep my monthly priority in focus:
1. I wrote down, for that month, the three most important things I wanted to do or feel on a strip of paper.
I used a piece of rectangular paper, kind of like a bookmark, and wrote my top 3 things for the month I wanted to give time and energy to doing and feeling.
2. I placed it just behind the current page of my daily planner.
Each day, I moved it to sit poking out from behind the page for that day. That meant each day I'd glance over the things, projects or to-do list.
If you don't have a slip of paper, you could do something similar by writing your monthly intentions on a sticky note in an old planner, and keeping it on your current day, moving it along each day.
I've found having a 'floating' bookmark behind my main daily planner page for each day works well so far for keeping my monthly intentions on track.
3. This is easier to do if you use a physical planner for each day anyway: it becomes a simple 'stackable habit'
A bookmark with that month's general focus area and things I'd like to get done is a handy reminder that just slots easily in to an overall existing system.
Since I'm using a daily planner, it's easy enough to move the bookmark and as I do so, my eyes glance over the intentions I set out with at the beginning of the month.
This tiny productivity tip combines three powerful productivity principles:
1. The power of handwriting an intention
2. The power of seeing a visual prompt on a daily-ish basis
2. The power of stacking habits/systems
Finding micro-ways to realign with your intentions
Having a visual reminder with the month's focus, even if it's simply a slip of paper that says 'feel productive and chill this month', is a nice way to give yourself micro moments to realign.
It is these incremental, tiny moments of realigning and rebalancing ourselves that make all the difference in the long run.
Just like that missile needs to keep realigning because it is off course more than 90% of the time, so do we.
Here's an apt quote to end on:
"You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems." -J. Clear
We are forgetful creatures, so make an easy system for yourself.
If you can glance at a reminder of what you set out to do or feel even occasionally, those moments all add up, and you may find yourself having a more productive month. :)