by John Hawkins | February 29, 2012 5:40 am
Are you struggling to get all of your work done? Are things falling through the cracks? You ever feel overwhelmed? Like you have so many things to do that you can’t possibly do it all? Well, there is hope for you because you can organize your life and the good news is, although it does take a little time and effort, it’s not all that hard to do.
1) Set goals and prioritize. This is the very first step and it’s where most people fall down. They don’t know what the hell they’re trying to do in the first place. Do you want to be the CEO at your company or is it “just a job” that’s paying the bills while you take steps toward another career? Are you looking to get laid by as many women as possible or get married? Is your top priority getting a new car or putting back six months’ worth of savings?
Take a little time to think about these things. Ask yourself some important questions. Where do you want to be in five years? If you had an infinite amount of money, what would you be doing with your life? How can you do some of those things without an infinite amount of money? How is your life shaping up in its important dimensions? How’s your health, your love life, your career, your spirituality, your cash flow, and your friends/family? If you rated yourself on all those dimensions 1 – 10, what would your rating be? Now, how can you improve your life on those dimensions? What values do you put the highest and least priority on? Health, love, security, freedom, passion, success, comfort, etc., etc., etc. Once you put these values in order, it will change your decision-making process forever.
Once you have a clear sense of your goals, dreams, values, and priorities, decision-making and organization become an order of magnitude easier.
2) Map out the steps to achieve your goals. Once you know what you’re trying to do, you can start planning it out. Break it down step by step. Let’s say a big goal of yours is to bench press 200 pounds. You may want to start by joining a gym. Next you’ll want to max out to see what you bench. Next you’ll want to get a trainer, read a book, or do research on the Internet to find the best routine to increase your bench. Next you’ll want to log your progress. You may need to change your diet, get friends to work out with you to increase motivation, or try a new routine to improve your results. Getting everything broken down into manageable steps, as opposed to “bench 200 pounds” will make all the difference. The big goal may seem overwhelming while each step will seem doable.
3) Write it all down. Whether you get a day planner, a notepad, or just type it out on your computer, it’s important to keep a list of everything you need to do. So, if you have something you need to do, big or small, jot it down. This is more important than you might think, not just because it keeps things from falling through the cracks, but because it will give you some peace of mind. You don’t have to worry that you’re forgetting something important because you know that you write down everything you have to do in the same place and you can refer back to it.
4) Plan it out. Once you get to this point, there are a lot of different methods you can use to start clearing your to do list. You can put everything you have to do in order from top to bottom and work from the top down. You can give all the items a grade of A, B, C and do the most important items first. You can pick one of your top 5 most important items each day and knock it out. You can put a date on each item and refuse to let anything stay on more than a month.
You can give each to do list a point value based on a combination of importance/ difficulty and try to score a certain number of points each day. Any of these approaches can get you where you want; so pick one that appeals to you.
5) Start executing. So you’ve got your goals in place, you know your priorities, you have a list of things you need to do, and you’ve got a method for your own personal madness. Now, it’s time to start doing and….you’re not that motivated. What do you do? Pick a task you haven’t wanted to work on and take the first small step towards getting it done. After you’ve gotten started, suddenly the task won’t look so daunting. If even that seems like too much, pledge to yourself that you’ll spend 10 minutes working on your top priority. You could probably take 10 minutes of waterboarding if you absolutely had to; so certainly you can spend that much time doing something on your to do list that you’re reluctant to tackle. Once you’ve gotten started, don’t be surprised if it feels so good that you finish it and move on to the next hardest item on your to do list. Why is that? Because ironically, as often as not, motivation can follow action just as easily as action can follow motivation. Get the ball rolling and suddenly you may be surprised that it’s easier to keep moving than to stop.
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