Be Productive

How to Be Productive in Q4 and Achieve Your Goals

With 3 months left in 2017 this is a great time to be productive. Decide what you can achieve in the time left. Is there a goal from the start of the year that you haven’t been able to start yet? Or maybe a new goal has emerged as the year progressed. You might have work goals or a personal goal or both.

How Productive Can You Be

Well it’s time to get focused, create a simple plan and make Quarter 4 your most productive period this year. How great would it feel to achieve something important and finish the year on a high? How well would that set you up for a productive 2018.

3 months is a good length of time to plan. Not too long to get demotivated but not too short to feel too much pressure.

Your Most Important Goal

First identify which goal you will work on. If it’s a goal you set at the start of the year evaluate if it is still important to you. Is it still relevant? Is it possible to achieve by end 2017?  If so then ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What will it look like or feel like to achieve this goal?
  2. What do I have to do to complete the goal?
  3. Can I break the goal down into sub-goals?
  4. Do I need help or input from anyone else?

Make A Plan

To help you plan what needs to be done break down the goal into smaller sub-goals. Brainstorm each sub-goal to list out the tangible tasks or actions required. You can do this on your own with a pen and paper or with a colleague using post-it notes or flipcharts, etc.

Once you have all your tasks, decide what can be done when. Are some tasks inter-related? Do some tasks depend on the completion of others? Can you identify milestones or achievements along the way so you can tell that you are on track?

Now using a 3 month calendar view map in when you aim to do your tasks. You can use Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Excel or simply create a planner yourself on a chart or board. You can also check out our Q4 Planner template here.

Measure Progress

You already thought about what achievement of your goal will look like or feel like. This g=helps you decide some measurable targets. What will change? What will be new? Will you start doing something you haven’t done before? Or maybe your goal involves not doing something you currently do!

Don’t over plan

When you are mapping out the work, be realistic about how much time you have. You are probably already busy so where and when can you create “extra” time?

Build in some slippage because life will inevitably throw some unexpected things at you. And if you miss some target dates you may become demotivated. It can work well to overestimate the task times initially to build momentum. Then as you see how things are going, revise the later task times to stretch yourself more.

Also be practical. The last month of Q4 is December and we can’t treat this like a normal month because of all the Christmas activities. So aim to finish your plan mid-December.

Leave a 5 day cushion at the end of your timeline with no tasks planned so you can complete anything that didn’t get done. Then if unexpected things crop up you will still have a chance of completing your overall goal on time.

Track Your Progress

By completing your plan you have actually completed your first milestone. Now you need to work through your tasks tracking your progress as you go. The easiest way is to capture the date you complete things so you can compare the Target Time with the Actual Time. If you miss a Target date does this have a knock-on effect on the remaining Targets? Readjust your plan as required.

With any goals and plans, whether personal or business ones, it can be really useful to tell someone else what you are doing. This can make you more committed to the work which can help on a day when your motivation might be low.

Celebrate What You Achieve

If you complete your tasks and ultimately your overall goal then celebrate! But if you haven’t finished by the end of Q4 don’t despair. Just think of the work you have done so far. This is likely to be a lot more than if you had no Q4 plan. And from your plan you know exactly the tasks that are left so you are more likely to complete out the work.

And you can also celebrate your skills in Project Management. If you have used the approach described here you have used classic Project Management and Project Planning technique. These techniques can be applied to any project large or small, business or personal.

Find What Works For You

Like all our productivity tips at we recommend that you: 1) tweak our suggested approach to find what works best for your work and 2) stretch yourself a little so you can achieve new things.

Have a productive Q4 and be sure to let us know how you get on. And Contact Us if you want to talk about Productivity training.


Be Productive Surprisingly Sunshine Can Help

Be Productive – The Sunshine Can Help!

Be Productive Surprisingly Sunshine Can Help

We are experiencing some fantastic weather this week in Ireland.  Here is a photo I took earlier at my local beach. The weather forecasters promise it’s going to last for a few days but in Ireland we are always a bit reluctant to believe them. The temptation is to down tools, stop work and get outside to make the most of it. Hopefully some of you have the flexibility to do that but many won’t be able to take time off at short notice.  But I bet you are already making plans to adjust your schedule so you can squeeze in some time to enjoy the sunshine. You may be getting up an hour earlier to take a walk on the beach, or starting earlier so you can finish early. Maybe you prefer to take a long lunch break and work later in the evening to allow for it.


But take a look at what’s happening.  Because you have a clear, tangible goal (i.e. get out into the sunshine) you much more ffocusedand productive while you are in work.  Have you set a deadline? Are you getting through more work in a shorter space of time? How are you achieving this?

Well a number of things may be happening:

  1. You are not allowing yourselves be distracted so easily
  2. You prioritise the items that are a real priority for today
  3. We take more control of our time and don’t let others distract us


And you know these are 3 great habits to use during a regular week (i.e. when it’s lashing rain and there is no rush to get home!!). Set a goal, decide a plan to achieve it, really focus when working on it, don’t let other people or things distract you and really enjoy yourself when you succeed. For more tips read our article on Planning & Prioritising in Business.

So what are you waiting for, stop reading articles online and get out into that sunshine! As ever please share any of your ideas, tips or tools in the Comments below.

If you would like further information on being productive or wish to book a Be Productive training session, please contact Moira or Ann on our Contact Form.