The hardest part about our goals is being honest with ourselves. Are we spending the time required to accomplish them? Or are we just letting the time go by while saying we’ll do it tomorrow.
Well it happens to me ALL THE TIME.
I tell myself I’m going to work on something, and then one football/anime/music cover YouTube video later, I’m putzing around for a whole few hours. I just get lost in the vastness of the internet, and all of the goals I set out to accomplish that day are pushed to the next.
This happens with a lot of my friends too!
It’s just so easy to get lost in the interesting vortex of the internet and options out there that we can access at the speed of light.
So how can we stay productive on our computers?
We have to ingrain full honesty and accountability into our daily systems.
I think one of the scariest things we can do is have full accountability for how we spend our time. That’s because when we show another person what /exactly/ we spend our time on, all of the excuses just peel right off.
So that’s why I propose you take on the following steps.
1. Create a calendar with your current activities.
The first step to staying accountable to your goals is to fill out your calendar. You have to audit what you spend your time on.
New York Times Bestselling author of “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”, Ramit Sethi, says this about priorities:
Quite often when you calendar out your week, you see that you have more time than you thought. You’ll start to notice gaps between tasks where you do absolutely nothing.
And that’s fine.
The point of calendaring is to get ruthlessly honest with yourself. Where do you spend the most time? What do you want to spend more time doing? I’d advise you to get real honest and see if everything you’re spending your time on is really that important to you.
2. Fill in the gaps with things that move you towards your goals.
This is the part where you remove the time you spend on things that don’t give you any fulfillment, and fill in any gaps with things that do.
The key to this step is to be a little bit vague.
I know what you’re thinking. “Wait… what? Why would I want to be vague about my goals?”
You want to be vague not in the sense that you’ll do something eventually, but that you’re going to spend a specific chunk of time towards “goal time” in a way. Because your goals will change — and you want to be flexible when that happens.
For example, I set a “Top 3 Tasks” block on my calendar for priorities I list out the night before. Depending on what happens on the previous day, I’ll be able to set new goals and react accordingly on a daily level.
So be vague with what your going for, but definitely set aside time to work towards them.
The time to specify is when you set your priorities the night before.
3. Share your calendar with a trusted friend.
This is perhaps the most important step.
If you do a lot of solo work, no one is pushing you or keeping you from making BS excuses about not doing anything.
When you share with someone your calendar, you have no excuse to do anything but be real.
You and your friend are going to see just how much time you spend on things that are important to you. And that’s scary. But you have to do this if you don’t have a boss or professor pushing you.
Keep in mind that this is all from my experience.
When I shared my calendar for the first time, I had to be brutally honest with my friend on what I was spending my time on.
It felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders being honest with my putzing around on the internet. Now I can focus on staying accountable to not only myself, but him as well. This pushes me to stay focused, because I know someone is watching.
Create systems, and share them.
If you couldn’t tell, I love systems (calendars are the best systems).
The point is to automate as much of your day as possible and make things effortless. You’re not choosing to work on your goals — it’s simply in the calendar so it has to be done.
Let me know what you think!
Side note: I typed this whole article in Bear, thanks to a recommendation from a friend. Love it so far, and may be convinced to switch to this from Evernote.