How would you like to increase personal productivity, even with something enjoyable, like a hobby?
I will admit, I’m a huge bookworm. Ever since I was small, I have loved to settle in with a good book and lose myself in the story. There’s all sorts of books that I like to read, but in recent years, making time for this hobby and pastime of mine had fallen by the wayside.
After five years of being in school, I was straight tired of reading.
Getting a smartphone six years ago didn’t really help either. It was easy to lose time fiddling with Facebook and other apps than reading books.
So it’s taken me a bit to get back in the habit of reading on a regular basis, even though it’s something I love to do. It’s also not for lack of continuing to gather books with the best intentions of reading them. As you can imagine, I developed a bit of a “to-be-read” pile.
So late last year, I decided to get myself in gear and challenge myself to begin reading around one new book a month. Some months, so far, I’ve read more than one. There’s been a couple of books, however, that I carried into the following month.
Even though I needed a little push to get back in the groove of reading, I’ve liked this system because it allows me to create a goal and track it. There’s a spot in my planner that allows me to make notations for what I’m currently reading, and it’s helpful to see my progress as time goes by. Since I’m keeping track of what I’m reading in a given month, I can quickly glance back and see how many books I’ve read, which is nothing short of amazing considering the dusty book pile I had accumulated.
This type of goal setting can be used in many areas of your life. Making a goal to do one of something every month adds up to twelve instances a year, which is no small number. Congratulate yourself for staying on track with your progress.
I’ve personally left the rules very flex for myself in regards to this challenge. I attempt to get through one book each month, if the book is lengthy (Justin Cronin’s The Passage, I’m lookin’ at you) then it might take me more than a month to get through it. But there’s been a couple of times in which I was able to get through two smaller non-fiction books in a little less than a month’s time, so either way, it mostly works out to about a one book per month average (if not a little higher).
When I’ve finished a book, I just go to my pile of ones waiting and decide what I’m up for next out of the selections. If I’ve been on a non-fiction kick I might choose a fiction book or vice versa. I haven’t created a schedule of books to read, I just decide what I’ll read when I’m ready for a new one.
Other instances in which you can create a personal productivity goal spread over 12 months are:
- Up-skilling on a professional development skill or earning a certification
- Decluttering your house
- Taking a class to learn a new hobby or even learning about it a little at a time on your own
- Remodeling projects (preferably smaller ones – you may not want your bathroom, kitchen or a living room torn apart for a year!)
- Building a good quality capsule wardrobe
- Making it through a list of must-see movies or TV shows
- Attending a new networking event in your niche market each month
- Improving your physical fitness (many people strategize a marathon training plan over time)
- Growing your site or blog following
- Organizing family photos
- Digitizing personal paperwork
What other ideas would you add to this list?
Really, the possibilities are endless. It’s more or less determining what you’d like to do, then developing a plan to stay on track and create results. Results, by the way, are one of the best ways to motivate yourself. Looking back and seeing that what I’m doing is working is enough to keep me going.