Productivity planner: How to Refocus

Productivity expert Moira Dunne shares top tips plus an 8-week planner to help start the year right.

“A plan keeps everyone on track and gives the project a greater chance of succeeding”

Being productive in today’s hybrid world is a challenge for many businesses, as employees split their time between different working environments.

The New Year is a great time to connect and reset the focus for a productive year ahead in business.

Continuous Improvement  

Woman writing on wall.

Before moving into 2023, it can be useful to reflect on 2022. Most companies implemented the hybrid model this year so there are lots of learnings. What has been working well? What can be improved? How effective is communication?  Are we all clear on the business priorities going forward?

Take some time within the business to discuss the best way to: 1) plan, 2) report, 3) present ideas, and 4) communicate issues across different locations. Consider using more collaboration tools to streamline status reporting and save update time in meetings.

Set Business Priorities for 2023

Then shift the focus to what the business needs to achieve in 2023. Review current goals to identify what is still relevant. What new goals and priorities have emerged? What will be realistic to achieve this year?

Practical Goal Setting

An alarming number of goals are not achieved. The main reason is because they are not well defined, or the description is too vague. As a result, it can be hard to work on a goal, particularly during busy days when many urgent operational tasks compete for time.

The key is to break a bigger goal into smaller actions. Then you can make small progress on these actions each week. All actions add up and, if well planned, the goal can be achieved by the deadline.

5 tips for setting goals

Turn a high-level goal into a practical action plan, work together and ask these 5 questions:

Question 1 – What

What change do we want to make? Be clear and specific. This will help the team decide the work that needs to be done to achieve the goal.

Question 2 – Why

Why do we want to/have to do this? What is the motivation, what impact will it make? Does this fit the overall business vision and purpose?

Question 3 – When

When does this goal need to be achieved? Agree the deadline and then work backwards to set target dates for smaller tasks along the way. This helps people stay motivated and focused throughout.

Question 4 – Why Not

What are the risks, the stumbling blocks or things that may prevent us succeeding? List anything that got in the way in the past; things to avoid this time.

Question 5 – How

How will we achieve this goal? What actual work is required to make it happen? Discuss the target dates for each action and then divide out the tasks.

Create an Action Plan

Now you have an action plan. A plan keeps everyone on track and gives the project a greater chance of succeeding. There is a Goal Planner template available to download from the website at this link:

Be realistic about time

And finally, take a realistic view of the workload and schedules within the business. Where will you find extra time to work on these goals?  Plan one goal at a time to avoid overwhelm. Once people make progress on one goal, they will be motivated to tackle the next.

Best of luck with your business goals for 2023. I wish you a productive year.

8-week Planner
Moira Dunne
Productivity consultant Moira Dunne is founder and director of