how to be productive without setting goals
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You‘ve heard the productivity gurus, read the time-management blogs, and heard from the motivational speakers. Everyone repeats the mantra that goals are what get you to your dreams. Goals. Goals. Goals. Yet, what if you hate goals? What if you find goals stifling and preventing you from being your most creative? What if goals feel like you’re imprisoned and de-motivates you from achieving things?

The good news is that you can still move forward without goals, no matter what all the experts and speakers tell you. Over the past several years, I’ve written more than 200 blog posts, written 5 self-published books, and have built a popular blog about starting over in love and life.

Honestly, it wasn’t goals that kept me going. It was something deeper – a strong internal drive and following my purpose. I let my purpose lead the way and took action every day in pursuit of that purpose to empower others who were going through their darkest hour.

If you hate goals, here are 7 alternative strategies to get things done and move you towards your dream:

1. Set up a daily priority list

Wake up every morning and write down 1-3 items that are a priority for you for the day. This is your to-do list and you write down the most important, high value tasks that you need to complete. What three things, if completed today, would make today a success? If one task by itself would take up a lot of time, put one task down. If you can do two or three, add them to your to do list. Each time you complete an item on the to-do list, cross it off and celebrate. Start over each day with a high priority to-do list.

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” – Marc Anthony

2. Build up your daily habits

You don’t need goals but you can use an even more motivational tool to help you get where you’re trying to go. It’s called habits.  A habit is a daily routine or activity you do to help you achieve your end result. You build up habits by starting small and doing that activity every day. You hold yourself accountable by writing it down, telling someone about it and having a small celebration if you complete your habit for the day. Turn your life goals or dreams to daily habits and you’re sure to move forward on it.


3. Work during your peak hours

You might notice over your lifetime that there are certain hours of the day that are your peak hours. Figure out when yours are and work during those hours. Your peak hours are your most efficient and productive hours. For some people, this is early in the morning while for others, it’s late at night. Find the time that is most productive for you and schedule in the tasks that need to be completed for the day.


4. Work on what you’re passionate about

More than likely, you’re procrastinating or avoiding certain tasks because you’re not passionate about them. If you don’t know what you’re passionate about, try figuring out what it is you’re not passionate about. If it’s your current job, find ways to transition out of it. If it’s particular parts of your job, look for a way to change roles so you’re working on things you enjoy and assigning things to others which you don’t enjoy. Outside of your work life, experiment with different activities to see what lights you up.


5. Do work that doesn’t feel like work

Try to work on the tasks that bring you the most amount of joy. If you’re doing something and it doesn’t feel like work, do more of that. It doesn’t have to fill your pockets, it just has to fill your soul. When you’re doing work or activities that fulfill you, you’ll start seeing how easy it is to complete the task that’s in front of you. Also, when you work with joy, you’ll see more opportunities, success and luck show up.


6. Allow inspiration to guide you

Instead of goals, try using inspiration. This has been particularly helpful to me as a writer. Use inspiration and creativity to motivate you into action. Cultivate your inspiration by putting yourself in situations that will inspire you. This could be watching movies, observing art, reading, hearing from others in your field or being in nature. Use the inspiration as it strikes you to do work that fulfills your mission in the world. Raise your inspiration level by putting yourself in inspirational situations.


7. Live the life you see for yourself  

Many of us are working on a life that we want to have some day. Goals and dreams are all in the “some day” category but you don’t have to wait to get there. Live everyday like you’ve already achieved your dreams. Imagine if you’ve achieved what you’ve wanted in life. Think about how you would spend your days and what feelings you would have each day. Do those activities and cultivate those feelings. Fill your days with activities that help you feel free, abundant, kind, generous, creative, and of service. Imagine that some day is today.

“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” — Farrah Gray

Do you use goals to help move you forward? What are some alternatives to goal setting that you use in your life? Please share in the comments below!


  1. Vishnu your third point really resonated with me because for a long time I tried working late at night. What I found was that I became sleepy and the energy I put into my work was lacking. Now that I have started waking up at 4am to do the work I am passionate about, I found my results have increased. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Vishnu!


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