Goal Setting (Im)possible? Productivity Startupers Share How They Stay Focused On New Year’s Resolutions

Keeping New Year's resolutions is possible with the right hacks © Photo by isaac Smith on Unsplash
Keeping New Year's resolutions is possible with the right hacks © Photo by isaac Smith on Unsplash

New Year’s resolutions are a lot like startups. Both start with a tremendous ambition for change and both often disappear soon without any trace of existence. Both fade away in oblivion for very similar reasons – inadequate goal setting, bad time management, lack of proper planning. So, around the dawn of 2020, we traced several Bulgarian startupers who have worked exactly on productivity and planning solutions and asked them a simple at first sight question: “What methods should one use to set and stay focused on their (New Year’s) goals?”

Elena Nikolova, co-founder at Escreo

“For the last couple of years, I have been using Trello board to set my year resolutions and plan accordingly checklist and tasks for each month of the year. I start with a reflection on the previous year, where I include “Highs, lows, lessons, start (doing), stop, continue”, then I list my values; You can divide the goals into personal and professional. It’s important to set specific actions to achieve the goal each month and have Quarter Milestone time where you list your accomplishments and have time for self-reflection.”

Dessislava Vasileva, marketing specialist at Kanbanize

“First of all, apply work in progress (WIP) limits to your resolutions. You can easily list 10 or even 20 resolutions, but pursuing them all in parallel may lead to overburdening and demotivation. From Kanban, we know that limiting work in progress is a powerful technique for achieving a stable workflow. Analyze your capacity & priorities. Start with a few points, depending on your capacity, and move forward when you get those done.

Secondly, learn from feedback loops. Plan to regularly review your progress and set calendar reminders, so you do not get carried away in the course of the year.

Finally, focus on value. Fell free to drop a resolution which is not bringing the results you were expecting. New Year’s resolutions should not be about just following the plan. They should add new value to your life.”

Stefan Vladimirov, (former) co-founder at Swipes

“If you don’t want to get distracted on a daily basis, you can try breaking down your days on productivity blocks, each having a concrete measurable result. For example, in the next four hours, I will work on a customer project X and my goal will be to finish the design of one screen. In the days when I find it difficult to sit down and work, I open YouTube and play some sort of ambient sounds,  like this video of a person programming on an old computer.”

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