It’s become a routine with me, and I’m guessing millions of others, that every New Year, I reassess how I’m spending my time and if I’m “getting the most out of each day” — in quotes since the definition of that phrase is different for each of us.
It could be the most productive work towards a certain goal, it could be spending quality time with friends and family, it could be self-care or, more commonly, a combination of all and more.
As the demands on our time continually increase, it’s time to make a stand for what’s important in our lives.
We’re always talking about “getting more done” or “getting things done” when what’s really important is “getting the RIGHT things done” at any given time.
So how do you know if something is “the right” thing to be doing?
Ask this one question of each task/project before you start it:
“Does it bring me closer to my goal of X?”
If the answer is “yes”, do it.
If the answer is “no”, delegate or ditch it.
Now that you know whether a task is worth your attention, it’s time to actually get it done.
In order to get it done, you must be fully present — that is, focused — on whatever it is you’re doing any any given time.
With smartphones, email, Twitter and Facebook, not to mention all the distractions inherent in working from home, it’s easier than ever before to get distracted.
I recently read a quote from Esther Dyson (a commentator on cyber businesses) who stated ” I worry about something I call Mental Diabetes Type 2, a lack of ability to think in a concentrated fashion over a period of time.”
WOW! That’s a pretty strong statement and one that bears some attention not only from a “self” perspective and ensuring you stay focused, but also from a “client” perspective and keeping them engaged amidst a world of distractions (more on that next week).
MY REQUEST TO YOU
What are you doing to ensure you stay focused and “on target” with your goals?
And by “doing”, I mean what steps are you ACTIVELY taking to ensure that the latest, greatest bright shiny object or other distraction doesn’t take you off course?
Here are a few things I do to keep on track:
* Schedule everything and if I originally think it will take an hour to do, I give myself 45 minutes — I find that if things aren’t scheduled, one task can take the entire day. Scheduling also forces me to be realistic about my daily Action List.
* Use my timer to complete tasks in pre-defined periods of time — if you’ve been reading me for a while or are a client, you know how much I adore the Polder digital timers.
* Chunk things together. Have calls to make? Blog posts to write? Group similar tasks together so that your brain is already “in that mode”.
* A new tool which I’ve been using all of 5 days and takes no more than 5 minutes a day, but which is having an amazing impact on how I start (and end) my day is Bonnie Hutchinson’s “Every Day Manifestations”.
* And, most importantly of all, I continuously ask myself “Does this bring me closer to my goal of X?” before saying “yes” to something or getting started on a new project.
I challenge you to try scheduling your day AND sticking to the schedule — even if you don’t finish everything, I guarantee you’ll get a lot more done than you otherwise would have.© Copyright 2010 Sandra P. Martini