Starting a New Productivity Tool Using Unrealistic and Unachievable Goals

Me and my shiny new personal kanban board.

It’s inevitable. It will happen every time. You finish a new book that outlines a shiny new productivity system or you watch an inspiring YouTube video on how to make a personal kanban board or how to effectively separate the hours in the day or perhaps you read an inspiring post on the internet’s blogosphere.

You’re excited. This is it! This is the missing piece in your toolbox. With the new tool that you discovered, you can achieve all of your goals.

And the tool or the advice or the system is probably excellent. It will help you. But all of these various techniques miss out the very first step you must take:

When you first use a new-found shiny and exciting tool, you will populate it with unachievable goals. Every time.

Perhaps you’ll schedule too many goals. Or perhaps you’ll schedule too little time. Or perhaps your goals are simply unachievable… but let’s not go into that unhappy and emotional topic in this particular blog post.

After you have completed this first step and have entered too many goals in too short of a time, then the next step, unfortunately, is that you must fail miserably. I’m so sorry about this. It hurts, and depending how many times that you’ve been through this gauntlet, it may take a few months to get back to planning and creating your future or it may just take a few days. I’ve done this so many times now that I’m able to pull myself off the ground pretty quickly and get back to work.

The third and final step of this baptism is to use the tool again but in a much more reasonable and practical way.

I just learned how to use a kanban board. They’re beautiful! I love them! When I watched a YouTube video on using a personal kanban board, my heart actually beat faster as I became excited about the possibilities and just the sheer fun of using one.

And then, unwittingly and unwillingly, I went through the above ritual yet again. Every time. I’m 50 years old and have been exploring the productivity space for 25 years, and I still make this mistake every time.

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