Do you know what you want to accomplish today? This week? Within the next year? I do a lot of coaching with entrepreneurs and executives who have acknowledged their goals at varying levels of degrees.

Some people prefer to take opportunities as they present themselves, while others would rather have a detailed plan of what they want and when they want it.

I want to challenge you to think about the goals you have and how you are working towards achievement.

Not just your present goals, but also the ones you had in the past and are incomplete. Do you find yourself thinking about something you promised you would do, but never got round to doing it?

I’m not necessarily talking about “work” here. I like to use this word to describe any task, whether it is personal or related to your job. Now, I’m sure that you can come up with a number of reasons why you weren’t able to go through with the items in your list. But it all boils down to one reason: absence of a clear goal.

Maybe you were faced with a task that was too big and complex, maybe something else got your attention and you never went back to it.  When you can identify where you want to go and what you want to accomplish, you can focus on moving forward in that direction.  Narrowing your focus to one goal is one of the keys of progress and productivity.

At the same time, it allows you to identify opportunities within the scope of that task.

This doesn’t mean you have to change your proven methods. If you have had success in the past achieving goals while keeping your eyes and mind open for surprises, you can apply these new techniques to do even more and work smarter. On the other hand, if you are still struggling to meet deadlines and complete your to-dos, this advice can put you on the right track to achieve your goals.

I’m all about using what you have right now, so you can easily experiment changes fast. Go ahead and write a list of unfinished tasks, including your objectives for the next one or two days.

This is your map. This is where you want to go, this is your compass. What would it take for you to actually reach these goals?

The first step is to identify what hinders your productivity. Here is my suggestion, when you wake up in the morning think about the things that might take your energy away from the work you want to complete: do you feel rested? Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do? Do you feel particularly stressed about meeting somebody? Are there any tasks that you will definitely be able to complete? (To read more about this and other questions, go to page 25 on my book).

Being able to identify the things that stress you and those that you can use to your advantage makes a great difference: you can try to change or avoid the negative things, and maximize the positive ones (for a sample list of positive things to do, go to page 26 of Your Best Just Got Better).

I encourage you to go and write 5-10 things that make your day better and set you up for productivity.

Make it a point to do at least one of these things each day for the next 5 days. This will have huge impact on how you work around your tasks to actually reach your goals and make your best better!