Congrats on making it through the first month of the year. I find it’s always challenging getting back into the rhythm of work. Everyone is so ambitious at the beginning of the year. The risk with this ambition is that everyone gets excited by the big picture, but fails to execute on the things that actually matter.

I find that I easily get distracted by the end goal and then don’t take enough steps to break down the big thing and figure out what I need to do this week or today to reach that big goal.

One thing that’s been helpful for me is to have somewhere (Google Sheet, Google Doc, Note on your iPhone … where ever) that can be your “go-to” spot to log all your “future” ideas. When I set out working on a project, I find I get a lot of “what if we did this” ideas for the future. By simply getting them out of my head, it helps keep them from being a mental distraction because my creative mind knows I’ll come back to them later, but won’t let myself spend time thinking about them today.

The key to getting things done is figuring out what you need to get done and when. Note — the “when” is the most important part.

It’s easy to get addicted to having a volume of productivity. But, the volume of things you get done isn’t the goal. You want to focus on getting the right things done. This is why having a place to log all your future ideas is critical. Every time you have an idea, you need to ask yourself if it fits with your short term goals. Or, is it something that’s more long-term?

For example, I had the idea to start a YouTube channel back in the summer of 2016. I really wanted to make it happen, but I also knew it would quickly become a distraction. So, I put it on my “future ideas” list and then revisited that project when the time was right.

A few weeks ago, after reviewing my goals for Q1, I realized that a YouTube channel would fit perfectly with a few other things I was working on. So, I launched the YouTube channel. I recorded the first 5 videos in one afternoon and then launched the channel a few days later. I was able to move quickly because I didn’t have other distractions. I focused on the YouTube channel for a few days, and launched it.

Take time this week to create a “future list” with your team so you have one central place to log ideas. Then, focus on what you need to get done now, and schedule time to review your “future list” so that you can pull projects off it that make sense to focus on when the time is right.