26 December, 2018

Looking back, you did plenty, but could you have done more? Here are five tips to do just that next year.

It’s the end of the year. Adios 2018, see you soon 2019. It’s a time for testing the physical capacity of your stomach and your patience with your family. It’s also a time for reflection, for looking back at what you did during the year, at what you achieved in 2018. There’s a ‘year in review’ feature for everything from television to terrapins, so why not ask: did you achieve your goals?

So, what did you do? Have a wee scroll through your Instagram. Check your Facebook. Maybe don’t look at your Twitter output: it was the beer talking.

Pretty good, yeah. Some great weekends away. Those parties. The meals out. The family time. Maybe a new job. A most excellent holiday. Oh, and remember the summer? The seemingly endless summer. So many BBQs.

The world is a bit mental at the moment, making it easy to forget these moments. As you get older, hitting your 30s and 40s, times whizzes by that much faster, too. So it’s good to look back and see what a fine year you had.

Could you, though, have done more?

woman alone by lake

Did you say no to things you regret not doing? Did you say “not yet”—putting off something you could have done then? Did you not push yourself as much as you could have? Or did you not make enough time for the things you enjoy? Maybe you did. But maybe you didn’t.

You don’t want 2019 to be the year of what-ifs and should-haves. And, to help you achieve your dreams next year, we’ve drawn up five simple but handy steps to follow for getting more stuff done.

1. Set life-changing but realistic goals

Decide what’s really going to make a difference to your life. Is it rearranging the plants in your hanging basket for three hours a day? Is it streamlining your laundry system? Is it putting a deposit down on a car?

Concentrate your time, effort and money on things that matter.

2. Think before you spend

Doing stuff usually costs money, and quite often a lot of it, so big things usually require saving.

That’s harder to do these days, though. Partly because inflation has outpaced wages, but also because it’s so much easier to spend money. You can whip out your phone and have ‘his and hers’ sushi rollers on your doorstep the next morning.

So, think, do you really need them, or could that money go towards, say, saving for a holiday? In fact, saying ‘no’ to all kinds of pointless stuff.

3. Focus

Modern life has made us terrible at… sorry, lost my train of thought there. Concentrating! That’s it.

We are puppies and our mobile phones are butterflies: every notification a flutter of wings for us to chase. Decide what you need to do, set deadlines (ideally, choosing to do the hardest/least pleasant tasks first) and stick to them. And remove distractions from your environment. Phones, TVs, butterflies, everything.

two men surfing

4. Know your body

Think you need to be working at full pelt all day to be productive? Think again.

Not only are you grinding your joie de vivre to dust, but you’re also not being as productive as you could be. Oh yes. We all work better at different times of day (though late morning is popular), so work out how you function.

Also, having a break gets more done: one survey claimed that productive employees take 17 minutes of downtime for every 52 minutes of work. What should you do in those 17 minutes? A: Anything you like.

5. Commit

Your internal dialogue: “Yeah, I’m definitely going to do it. Yeah, next year. Can’t really think about it right now, ‘cos you know, busy and stuff, but I’m definitely going to do it.”

Fast forward 12 months. 

“Yeah, I’ve always wanted to do that. I’m gonna do it next year, I reckon, once things ease up, you know?”

Repeat ad nauseam. 

If you don’t commit, you don’t get things done. Whether it’s the power of paying a deposit or the motivation of mentioning your plans to people, whatever gets you to stake a commitment to reach your goals, do it and do it immediately.

Procrastination is the thief of time.

We hope 2019 is full of success and wanderlust, whatever and wherever you choose to go, to do, to achieve. But, whatever that is, be sure to do it – and do it with conviction. Over to you…

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