If your Facebook or Twitter feed is anything like mine, you’re currently being deluged with offers for productivity coaches, apps and courses. Many of them might be helpful but is this really the first time you’ve tried to get organized and be more productive? No, and it won’t be the last – these systems are all too complicated.
I’ve been doing something different for the past year and I’d like to share it with you as a thank you for reading this blog. Keeping up with this idea takes less than 30 seconds out of your day – here’s how it works.
So, we know* that accountability is crucial when trying to reach a goal. We also know* that small, specific steps are the way to success. Add the magic of a simple shared Google spreadsheet and watch your productivity soar.
Part one: choose a goal and narrow it down to something simple you can do most days. Let’s say you want to get fitter in 2021. Nice goal but super vague – so make it concrete. What do you want to be able to do physically by the end of this year that you can’t do right now? I walk around our Open Space for 20 minutes every day – I used to be able to walk around it for 45 minutes a day and I’d love to get back to that.
Part two is easier to show you and then describe:
I created a Google sheet and called it Did I exercise today? Beth and I decided for ourselves what exercise meant – maybe hers was run three miles every day, mine was if I walk Daisy in the morning, I get to color that box. I made it a shareable document, so both of us can edit it. That means she tracks her exercise and I track mine but we can both see each other’s progress on the same sheet. Every morning, I open the sheet and if I walked Daisy yesterday, I color in the day’s square, If I didn’t, I don’t. That’s it. Not even a minute, even with my slow-loading laptop. Google documents save automatically, so that’s easy too.
As the months roll by, the chart will stay the same (I’ll add new months as they come along) but my definition of what constitutes exercise will change. Right now, I’m happy if I walk the dog for 20 minutes in the morning. To build endurance so I can reach my goal, I might decide to make that same dog walk last a minute longer each week. By the end of the year, I’ll have added 52 minutes to her walk – awesome, and more than my original goal. I might stop at 45 minutes or I might decide it’s time to reinstate my run-walk program at that point. I don’t need a new chart for each different fitness goal because Did I exercise today? covers it.
Beth told me she’s never exercised that many days in a row before. It’s not about perfection, mine is only what it is because I made my exercise goal incredibly doable and with a built in incentive – Daisy will let me know loudly if I don’t walk her.
Of course, we all know you could join and then color in your square everyday while never decluttering. But as Mrs. Cooper told you in first grade, you’re only hurting yourself if you cheat – no one else cares, they’re too busy enjoying the social accountability of checking in daily to color their square and building a decluttering habit that’ll last.
If you’d like to join, please send me your best GMAIL email address and your name:
Yes, I’m in!
I want to share the Joyful Surroundings LLC Google spreadsheet Did I declutter for 20 minutes today?
I can add as many people as are interested, so feel free forward this to a friend if you want to do this together.
*Shoutout to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits for creating the mindset that inspired me to create this spreadsheet. If you haven’t read his book yet, you’re in for a treat!