How To Effectively Get Shit Done This Year

Mar 30, 2016 | Mindset & Productivity


How is 2016 treating you so far? We are already done with the first quarter of the year…And I must ask: Where the heck did it go??
I hope you had a more productive beginning to 2016 than I did. I remember finishing 2015 full of ideas and motivation and I was committed to making 2016 my best year, both professionally, and on a personal level (health, fitness, etc.). Now, I am not saying it was all bad and that I accomplished nothing…but I haven’t achieved half my goals for the quarter so far!

I live in Australia and the last 3 months were the kinda ones you spend outdoor in the sun as much as possible. Summertime. I had family and friends visiting every second week because it was school holidays here and that’s when everyone takes time off. And that’s fine. The reason I work for myself is exactly that: I want to be able to take time off when my brother comes and visit me from France 🙂
BUT what is NOT ok, is that I let this completely overrule my schedule and that it took my focus and attention away from growing my business. I focused on day-to-day tasks and lost track of my long-term goals.
But let’s be honest… Summer isn’t the one to blame here. The problem is that I didn’t have a good system.


After hours of looking at different planners, journals, diaries and etc… I still felt unsatisfied. Nothing out there worked the way I needed it to. So I created my own system, which I simply call my “yearly planner”. I can’t guarantee that it will work wonders for you. Maybe we are totally different people when it comes to getting stuff done. But I do think that it can help you get organized and achieve your professional and your personal goals. You can download the planner here (in A4 and A5).

Now let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we?


1- Yearly goals

We start the year by setting the big picture. What are the big goals you want to achieve this year? No need to go into tons of details here, simply write down what would make you feel proud to have achieved and satisfied in 12 months from now.

You only fill this page once a year, so take your time as it will shape the rest of your planner/year.

The page is divided in four sections: business, personal, health & fitness, relationships. Pretty straight forward right? Here is how it could look like:

2- Committing every day

I love this part. What is the ONE thing that you want to commit to doing every day this year? You have to be REALLY specific for this one. You can’t say “exercise” because that’s too vague meaning there’s a greater chance you won’t stick to it. Try things like “do one hour of yoga” or “go swimming for half an hour” or “walk for 40mns” or “meditate 20 mns” or “paint for 30mns”, etc.

Once you’ve picked your objective, define what is green (=achieved or overachieved), yellow (underachieved) and red (=failed). Grab 3 color pencils and color at the end of each day accordingly.

My one? One hour of yoga. I color green if I do, yellow if I do less than an hour, red if I didn’t get onto my mat at all.

This is a great opportunity to set a personal or health/fitness goal. Coloring red is extremely disappointing. Trust me… not a nice feeling.. so you’ll probably do whatever you can to avoid the red dots 😉 

And there you have it, you’ve rapidly formed a habit.

By the end of the year, it will also be a great way to look back and see what color dominates. Remember, this isn’t about coloring everyday green. It is perfectly fine to skip days and to have red dots.

This is simply a way to keep you on track and accountable.

3 – Three-month goals

We fill up this page 4 times during the year (every 3 months). It looks exactly like the first one (yearly goals) except this time, we’re going into more details.

Write the 4 dates into your calendar to remind yourself to re-assess and re-define your goals every 3 months!

Each time, read what you wrote as your goals for the year and ask yourself: What do I need to do over the next 3 months to be closer to my end-goals for the year? And this time, be more specific.

Here is what it could look like:

4 – Monthly tracker

Once we have our goals for the next quarter, each month we fill up a monthly tracker page, to make sure than we keep on top of things. Kinda like the “one day at a time” page, this one is great to stay motivated and moving forward.

On this page are your monthly, weekly and daily goals to cut down your quarterly goals into even more specific goals.

The yearly goal page and the 3-month-page were strategy oriented, meaning you mostly focused on long-term goals. This page is crucial because it has you thinking in terms of actionable steps.

What do you have to do NOW to get the results you committed to get in 3 months?

Start by your monthly goal, making sure they’re achievable (better to overachieve than to underachieve). Then think about what can be done weekly to help achieve this result, and then daily. Don’t forget this isn’t just about business, use it for your personal goals as well.

Here is an example:

5 – Progress log

This is one is pretty straight-forward too. At the end/beginning of each week, we reflect on what we did the week before, what we didn’t and we draft ideas for what we should tackle next week. Easy!

6 – Daily to-do and productivity journal

This last one is the one you need to get used to the most!  Everyday, write down what needs to be done for the day and prioritize “must-do’s” from “to-do’s”. Don’t forget the tasks you set in your monthly tracker! You can do that in the morning, or the night before, it’s totally up to you! I personally like to do it in the morning with my cup of coffee. I find it sets the tone for the day and get me into a good headspace!

At the top of this page are 6 things I truly recommend you do before you even sit in front your computer. Tick them off before work and you will have already accomplished so much. All before 8 am. You can read this:  if you want to know more about being productive before 8am and how it can change your life. It’s a great read.

Each day when you’re done working, write down a few lines (or more!) in your productivity journal. You can use any notebook you’d like for that too. It doesn’t have to be long and! this is not a diary. Productivity journals are a great way to get to know yourself and the way you work so you get better at it.. why not give it a try?

(Wondering what the hell is a productivity journal? Listen to this podcast)

That’s it, that’s how I roll..! I hope this helps you and if you like the idea, you can download all the pages of the planner here and even more resources to grow your handmade business in the resource library —> ACCESS IT RIGHT HERE!

I print my pages as I need them and keep them all together in an A5 binder with pretty separators and covered in washi tape! Let me know in the comments what you think of my system and/or how you use your planner pages!

A final note: When I was looking into journals, templates, and more generally a system to become more productive, I found a lot of great stuff out there. I just couldn’t decide on which one would work best for me so I ended up nerding up on Indesign and created my own. BUT I do want to acknowledge the ones that inspired me and give you access to their sites in case you want to check them out: about ‘one day at a time’ —> here | about productivity journals —> here | planning your year ahead and keeping track: here and also here | about being productive… before 8am –> here

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  1. Laurie

    Love the, “One day at a time” sheet. This is a great idea for two things I put off all the time. In both of the business I do. I can see myself printing these out and actually using them. The monthly tracker will be helpful to, since my planner is just a calendar without any of the productivity features.

    • Deborah Engelmajer

      that’s great Laurie! The “one day at a time” has changed my life, it’s so simple yet so effective!



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