How Focusing on Your Most Important Goals First Can Develop More Ease and a Greater Sense of Accomplishment
You are not going to get everything done. Not in your lifetime. Not ever. Get over it.
What you can do is get the most important things done. And that is all anyone can hope for.
To do that, though, we all are going to have to give up stuff. Giving up trivial stuff may or may not be easy for most of us, but it is do-able.
Giving up goals we may want, even want badly, may not be so easy. The first step is identifying what is important, what is close to our core being, what nourishes us at a deep level vs. what is “entertaining,” what is merely satisfying, but not necessarily nourishing our souls.
Giving up stuff is huge step. This tip and the next one will attempt to create some clarity around this.
We can take lessons from the late Steven Covey book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
In The Seven Habits, Covey proposes that you:
◊ Be proactive. Make things happen rather than waiting for them to happen.
◊ Begin with the end in mind. Motivate yourself – and direct your energy and activities more effectively – by clearly defining and visualizing your goals.
◊ Put first things first. Eliminate time wasters (like mindless talk, channel surfing and social networking) and focus on things that will improve the quality of your personal and professional life.
◊ Think win-win. You achieve things more easily in a cooperative effort than in a competitive struggle. Instead of thinking "their way" or "my way," look for how others can achieve their objectives as you realize yours.
◊ Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Persuasive communication is essential. But it begins with being an empathetic listener. Most people do not listen to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
◊ Synergize. Ally yourself with capable individuals. Their strengths will compensate for your weaknesses and move you closer to your goal.
◊ Sharpen the saw. Balance all four aspects of your life – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual – to become more effective. Sharpening the saw means renewing yourself through family, friends, exercise, and devotion or meditation.
While Covey recommended beginning each day with a 15 minute planning session, I suggest doing this at the end of the day. Planning your next day at the end of the day allows your subconscious mind to work overnight on the challenges in your next day’s projects.
◊ After you've listed everything, label each item with an A, B or C. A stands for "Must Be Done." B means "Should Be Done." And C is "Could Be Done."
◊ Return to the A's and number each task according to how vital it is. An action toward your most important goal (whether it's career advancement, better fitness or learning to play the clarinet) should always be ranked A1. Your second biggest priority is A2. And so on. Rank the B's and C's the same way.
◊ Set a time limit for each task. This cannot be overemphasized. Marketing guru Dan Kennedy tells us this is the one key ingredient that most “time management” systems miss and is what can set us apart from the crowd. It is based on the understanding that work expands to fill the time allotted. So, if we don’t allot a specific amount of time, the task can continue to expand…indefinitely.
◊ Work in “Power Blocks.” Rather than trying to run a marathon every day, keeping up the same speed, run short sprints. 45 minutes is a good rule of thumb. Start off each day working on task A1…for 45 minutes. Focus and do not let anything interfere, phone calls, emails, Facebook, etc. At the end of 45 minutes, get up, stretch, walk around, get a glass of water, breathe. You can take 5-15 minutes to relax, then dive into another power block.
◊ There may be times when you are on a roll and don’t want to stop. Be flexible, you may just find that occasionally you can run two power blocks into each other and get a project really well tackled.
◊ Now start on A2. And continue down the line. Only after all the A's are finished should you turn to the B's – and only when those are completed do you start on C1.
◊ You won't get everything done on your list each day. Maybe you're so busy you don't get to the B's at all. And that's fine. But at least you're working on what matters most. (As Covey puts it, "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.")
◊ Carry the undone items over to tomorrow. Do your planning session at the end of the day for the next day.
And you may think this is only for work or business. Not so. Tell me why you cannot do this for personal tasks as well?
Covey's real contribution was not efficiency techniques or time management strategies. It was urging us to focus on the important, not just the urgent. He reminds us that there shouldn't be a gap between what you value and how you spend your time.
Tip # 104 Getting Things Done
How to Clear the Swamp When You’re up to You’re A** in Alligators
Thanks for reading.
Till next time, Happy Trails to You,
Much Joy, Energy, Health and Love,
P.S. Don’t be a hog: Share this information. That is, if you find my “mental meanderings” useful.
If so, send your friends to my site: http://joyenergyandhealth.com/
P.S. #2 Also, don’t be a stranger. Email me or visit on Facebook and share your experiences with this course.
(Facebook name: Matti Anttila. http://www.facebook.com/ )
P.S. #3 These tips may not all be appropriate for you. Use your favourite decision making technique to decide. See tip # 3 for my favourite.
P.S. #4 Thank you. It is an honour and a privilege to explore this adventure with you.
Any and all information provided here is not a substitute for the advice of a licensed medical practitioner. Individuals are advised not to self-medicate in the presence of significant illness. Always consult with your licensed medical practitioner first before undertaking anything…be it supplements, exercise programs or other protocols. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Do not construe the information provided here as authoritative health advice…or authoritative advice of any sort. All information provided or referred-to on this website is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be health, medical, financial, accounting or tax advice, nor should it be relied upon as such. Matti Anttila is not a licensed financial planner, doctor or health practitioner. If you're not inclined to Do-It-Yourself then please, before you Do-It-To-Yourself, obtain professional advice.
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