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How to Be More Productive at Work and Achieve Your Yearly Goals

How are your New Year intentions coming along?

What progress have you made?

We’re nearing the third week of January and hopefully this year is off to a formidable start!

When it comes to reaching our career goals it’s crucial to develop clear and specific goals, and have a strategy and plan for successful execution.

If you’re reading this blog you probably have some career or professional goals this year, so here is a process to make your 2017 a smashing success at work!

1. Get clear on the essentials

In the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, author Greg McKeown states, “Essentialism is not about how to get more things done, it’s about how to the get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

What is most important for you to focus on in your career this year?

Get crystal clear on the 2 or 3 most essential accomplishments or results you want to create and keep your focus on these areas.

Remember to have fun with this and make these goals inspiring and something that excites you.

2. Create an impact list

Once you know your essentials for the year it’s time to prioritize and create a daily strategy.

One way to prioritize more effectively is to create an impact list. This is different than a typical to-do list because it only includes the top 3-5 things that will make the biggest difference for achieving your goals.

Take 30 minutes this week and think about what’s most important to focus on each day. Do this weekly to stay clear on the essentials.

What are the top 3 things to prioritize today that will help you make the most progress?

3. Stop multitasking and avoid distractions

You can only effectively focus on one thing at a time but unfortunately many of us are juggling more than we can count. We also need to get very clear about how to avoid distractions and stick to our impact list.

To get help with this we can refer to Gary Keller and Jay Papasan’s book, The One Thing. In this book they discuss, among many other ideas, two valuable concepts to improve your chances of success.

1. Use The 80/20 Principle 

You’ve probably heard of the 80/20 Principle, which is also called the Pareto Principle, named after old-school economist Vilfredo Pareto. The principle posits that roughly 80 percent of our progress and results will come from just 20 percent of our actions and choices.

So, what is the 20 percent that can really ramp up your results?

2. Figure out what’s most important and give it your undivided attention

Think about the reason you’re doing what you’re doing and minimize your life. Activity is not the same as productivity. Your productivity will soar when you simplify and direct your focus.

This means you may have to say “no” to people and requests that aren’t aligned with your impact list, and to avoid those mind-numbing distractions like social media and entertainment.

4. Stay committed

One of the main reasons people end up faltering on their goals is because they aren’t fully committed. They encounter distractions, challenges, and competing commitments and eventually give-up.

There will always obstacles and ongoing challenges to deal with, but when we’re 100 percent dedicated and committed to our goals we’ll persevere.

To help you remain committed make sure you have a clear deadline for what you want to accomplish. I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you have a pending deadline and need to get something done your commitment, focus, and productivity increases.

Along with having a clear deadline, try publicly sharing your goals with other people. Let your colleagues and people in your professional sphere know what you intend to achieve and by when. This can give you that extra boost of accountability when you’re struggling.

Stick with your goals this year and don’t give up. Get clear on your essential and inspiring goals and create a system to manage distractions along the way!

Photo credit: Z S

How to Be More Productive at Work and Achieve Your Yearly Goals

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2017). How to Be More Productive at Work and Achieve Your Yearly Goals. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 12 Jan 2017
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