We spend so much time worrying about all the little things that need our attention and need to get done. The start of a new year is a great time to think about the big picture. Take some time now to think about what over-arching thing would you like to improve, change or accomplish this year. Be sure to only pick one thing. Any more than one is too much.

Think of it as coming up with your personal theme for the year. One year, I wanted to focus on embracing change. Another year I decided to work on becoming a better listener. You may want to become more productive or patient or achieve a specific goal like writing a book or launching a new product. Perhaps you want to lose weight or eat healthier, save money or read more. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do so long as it’s one thing and it is a SMART goal that is specific and measurable.

That’s the starting point and for many, unfortunately that’s also often the end of it as well. Once you have selected a theme, then what? You get busy, people demand your attention, you get distracted by other things and before you know it, several months have passed by. Sound familiar?

It doesn’t have to end at the beginning. Once you have selected your annual theme, devote some time to thinking about the specific things you will do to achieve that goal or make that change. Write down distinct, measurable tasks that can be done in a set amount of time. Then, take that list and prioritize it. Start by selecting the top three first, knowing that you can always go back and pick a few more. You can use a task management app like priorigami: the art of productivity to help you track and prioritize your tasks.

When you have identified your top three priority tasks, schedule time on your calendar to get them done. This piece is critical. The only sure-fire way to get something done is to schedule it. And just to be safe, schedule a backup time as well in case something comes up preventing you from tackling it the first time.

Just as important as completing tasks, is documenting your progress. One easy and reliable way to track your progress is by keeping a Done list. It will feel good and it’s a good motivator to visually see what you have accomplished. Also, hopefully you’ll be seeing real world benefits as well.

TRY THIS OUT: What’s your personal theme for 2017? What are some specific tasks that you can do to achieve your goal? Prioritize three of them and schedule time on your calendar to get them done this month.

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