Ellen Faye | The Productive Leader Blog
Improving Leadership Effectiveness One Task at a Time
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The Productive Leader Blog

2013 Records

2013 Records

There is no better time than this week to set up your paper systems for 2014. Here is what I do:

  • I start with an empty Bankers Box
  • I pull out all my household financials (bills paid, bank statements, etc.) for 2013 and put them on one side of the box
  • I pull all my (personal) receipts from 2013 and put them in a gallon zip lock bag marking it with Personal Receipts 2013 with a black sharpie and toss those in the box
  • I take out my 2013 business records and put them on the other side of the box.
  • I take all the papers out of my 2013 taxes bin and put them in a 10 x 13 envelope, marking it “For 2013 tax prep” – I lay this envelope on top of the other stuff in the box
  • I put the lid on the box marking it “2013 Financial Records – shred in 2020” (7 years plus one for good measure)
  • The box then goes under my desk until my 2013 taxes are filed.
  • After my taxes are filed, the box goes to the basement for storage, pulling the “Shred in 2014” box.

This simple perpetual process keeps everything in order with minimal effort. If I drop the ball and don’t pull 2013 out now then I end up mixing 2013 with 2014 and I’ve just made myself a lot more work. If I take the time to do this now, my systems are in place and I’ve set myself up for a smooth 2014.

Relaxed or Stressed?

Relaxed or Stressed?

Get a handle on your JOMTI.  On your what?

JOMTI – Just One More Thing-Itis!

You know that urge to squeeze one more thing in…and then it makes you late.  It makes you late for the holiday party, the concert, or puts you at the mall with only an hour left to shop.  It makes the traffic heavier, it makes the prices higher and it makes the blood pressure rise.

Now, what if instead of making that phone call, answering that email, or checking Facebook one last time you left 5 minutes earlier.  I know, it’s hard to do.  But consider the benefit.  Ask yourself – it is worth it?  Even if it was an important task, ask yourself:

  • Can it wait?
  • What if I did it later?
  • What if I didn’t get to it at all?

The trade off for doing one less thing? MORE JOY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.

Wishing you a wonderfully joyful pre-holiday week.

 

Long List?

Long List?

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.”

waiting for pick up

waiting for pick up

I spent some time in our storage room on Sunday getting rid of stuff.  My business wardrobe from the ’80’s is now sitting on the front stoop waiting for pick up from the Vietnam Vets (www.ScheduleAPickUp.com).

Sunday morning I wasn’t aware that those suits were even in my home.  Today I’m sad.  It is the end of an era (NO ELLEN – that era was over long ago – no respectable women feels like they have to dress like a man today).   But, I’m highly confident that tomorrow I will have forgotten that those suits have moved storage locations.   I have a picture of my favorite navy suit – I wore it for a photo shoot for a hotel I managed – it’s in the brochure.  That’s much better.

Goodbye skis I bought before Alex was born (soon to be 21), I’m sure you’re not safe anymore.  Pack ‘N Play that I kept in case someone needed one…I suspect your not safe anymore either – but I’ll leave that up to the experts to decide.  So long work bins I’ve evolved out of…it’s time for you all to go back to the universe and to someone who can really use you.

Ellen Delap (www.professional-organizer.com) posted a great Psychology Today article earlier this week about what happens to the brain when we let go of something.  Letting go activates the part of the brain that is tied to identity…like you are giving away a part of yourself.  Author Kelly McGonigal Ph.D. talks about how to strengthen your willpower and separate. (And for my NAPO colleagues – it’s very cool that both experts sited in this article were our keynote speakers at NAPO2013).

Interesting…I already feel better with my stuff out of the house – but it did sting for a second.

Ellen Faye's To-Do List Categories

Ellen Faye’s To-Do List Categories

Last week I wrote about setting up your to-do list by priorities so that you didn’t have to copy the same information over and over again.  This concept captures the new way of managing time.  The reality is that no matter how hard we work or how organized we are, we can no longer get everything done.  When planning how to use our time I have found it most effective to group my to-dos into priorities.  Many time-management gurus have their own methodology.  Mine is a hybrid – based on what I’ve seen WORK with clients over the past 12 years.  As with everything I do, it’s easy, because we’ve learned – if it’s not easy it doesn’t happen.

Critical – must be done today before I leave the office or go to bed

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