Most people rely on their internal compass to get their important tasks done. But what happens when that internal compass doesn’t motivate you ENOUGH for you to get started?
Sometimes deadlines or bosses exert enough external pressure to complete the task, but other times even that isn’t enough. Add to this, that the more time passes, the worse the incomplete tasks make you feel, and the task becomes even more daunting.
How can you get those daunting tasks done?
Understanding which tasks are hard for you to complete and which aren’t is a good first step. When planning your daily work break your tasks into two columns “hard to complete” and “fun, easy or not so hard.”
Start with an easy task to stimulate your brain. Take advantage of the “pleasure seeking” chemicals and as soon as you finish the easy/fun task move to one of the “harder to complete tasks.” The hardest part of getting these tasks done is getting started, so alternate the hard tasks with the easy/fun tasks and take advantage of the “high” you get from the easy/fun tasks.
Don’t go it alone – Meet a friend at Panera or at the Library and work on your “hard” project alone – together. (Officially, this is called body-doubling.)
Break the “hard” project down into small little parts. Commit to doing the first two parts. You may find once started you’ll happily complete the task.
Chose a “Zen” environment – sometimes clearing space and removing distractions is very helpful as is playing soothing music or changing locations. Weather permitting try working outside.
Think about how good it will feel to not have the pressure of the project weighing on your mind. Consider that it feels worse to not do it than it feels to do it.
Why does LIFE BALANCE seem to be so elusive? Because it’s imaginary. No one is ever in equal balance. An admired colleague Krista Clive Smith once described it more like a symphony where different parts are louder than others at different times, but when listening to it as a whole it is harmonic and beautiful.
What would be possible if you gave yourself permission to live in harmony and not strive for perfect balance all the time?
I divide my “life pie” into 4 parts; business, family, service and self-care. No day, week or month is ever the same. If I lived in balance, my pie would look like this:
Not only is this unrealistic, imagine how boring life would be if every day and every week were the same. More realistically my life looks like this:One may say I’m never in balance, but that’s okay. Collectively my pies makes sense. By accepting that my life pie isn’t always going to look the same I find peace and harmony. Understanding this makes me feel grounded, happy and successful. How do you think a shift of perspective about life balance would effect you?
I’ve stumbled upon an awesome technique to get me through the day on those days that I have just too much to do and can’t figure out where to start or what to do first. I write each task, to-do, and action step on an individual post it. Then I arrange them in order of:
Do what’s most time sensitive first
Do what’s most important next
Do what has to come before something else before I can do the other thing
It does take a few minutes to write out the post-its, but it’s a very useful exercise. By doing this I am:
Getting clear on today’s priorities
Narrowing my focus on the most important things
Letting go of those things on my list that really aren’t important.
I’m loving these new 2×2 post-its
Post so you can see from your desk
Use a marker so you can read it from your desk
Color code if it makes you happy
If you have a lot of the same task to do, (phone calls, invites, notes to send) break it out in smaller groups (a few at a time – with each batch getting it’s own post-it) so it’s not so overwhelming.
The Best Part:
Taking down each post-it feels so good
You have a visual picture to get you through the day
At the end of the day when there is only a few post-its left you feel so good
And as much as I love my technology, sometimes low-tech is the best way to fly. Try it and let me know how it works for you.
No… not talking about Santa’s list. I’m talking about your TO DO list. If you’re putting EVERYTHING on your list you are probably overwhelmed. Before you say YES to a task or opportunity, run it through a filter list that helps you sort the yes’s from the no’s:
Possible Filter List Questions:
Will it help someone or something important to me?
Will it help me grow personally or professionally?
Will it help me reach my goals?
Will I have fun doing it?
Will it give me joy?
Not sure? Ask yourself:
What’s the worst thing that will happen if I say NO?
Why should I say YES, and why should I say NO?
If I say YES to this, what will I be saying NO to?
If the answer isn’t clearly “yes”, then it probably should be “no.”
I recently attended a workshop on digital filing. It was clear that the concept of a paperless office was completely unrealistic. What is clear however is that we can simply reduce our use of paper by training ourselves to think differently? I pose to you the challenge of going Paper-LESS. Yes, LESS PAPER! Easy Paper-LESS changes:
Don’t automatically print out receipts of on-line purchases – Do file electronic confirmations in an email folder (mine is called on-line purchases!)
Don’t automatically print out emails you need to act on – Do put the action item into your task management system (on your to-do list, on to your calendar, etc.)
Don’t automatically print out airline ticket confirmations – Do put arrival and departure information (including flight numbers and confirmation codes) right onto your calendar.
These are simply places to start. However the real trick is the “automatically” part. You are going to have to change the habit you now have of hitting the print button at every turn. Instead of hitting Print try hitting a mental Pause and asking yourself “can I do with less paper?” Because when Paper-Less you have less clutter, and less clutter means fewer distractions from your important work.
Help with the WHY’s and HOW’s
A professional organizer helps the client with the “hows.” A professional coach helps the client with the “whys.” An Organizer Coach combines these two valuable skills to best move clients towards their visions and goals in a realistic, manageable, and dynamic way.
A Professional Organizer enhances the lives of clients by designing systems and processes using organizing principles and through transferring organizing skills. (source: National Association of Professional Organizers)
A Coach is a trained professional who partners with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. (source: International Coaching Federation)
A professional organizer’s work is extraordinarily valuable to many individuals in many different situations. Learning new ways to manage space and possessions can have a substantial impact on improving the quality of people’s work and lives. But sometimes the actual act of organizing isn’t enough. For some people it is important to delve into the “whys.” Utilizing coaching techniques, an Organizer Coach can help clients:
gain clarity around their long term vision for their work and life
understand the value of creating work processes and systems to complement their visions and goals
anchor their actions with their long term goals through action plans, accountability systems, and support
Typically when organizing a business client we begin by assessing what is working, what isn’t working, and where the stressors are. By evaluating these issues utilizing a coaching style, the root problems tend to surface. Only when we understand the true problem can we solve it in a way that is longlasting and sustainable.