Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When There's Too Much on Your Mind

It's midnight and you are ready to sleep. You turn off the light. Suddenly you remember that you were supposed to call the doctor's office to make an appointment. What do you do? Do you get up, or do you go back to sleep. You decide to go back to sleep when you remember that your cousin has a birthday next week and you need to send a card. This goes on for the next 10-minutes, when you finally drift off to sleep. When you awake in the morning you feel exhausted and mentally drained. What happened?

You were not able to turn off the subconscious "pop-up windows" in your mind. Many people have multiple conflicting thoughts, ideas, tasks, worries, concerns, obligations on their mind. They are unable to concentrate or be productive because once they figure out one idea to focus on, here comes that thought about the ice cream you think you left on the counter. What can you do?

Once a week or more often if needed, I suggest you have a Brain Dump. A Brain Dump is an opportunity for you to get rid of all those nagging pop-ups in you mind. No matter how big or how small. Whether it is your responsibility or someone else's. Here's what you can do:

  • Set aside a block of uninterrupted time (30 minutes - 1 hour).
  • Take out several pieces of paper to work with.
  • Write down everything that is on your mind.
  • Take a break for a few minutes.
  • Continue the process. There are sure to be other ideas that pop-up.
  • Categorize your thoughts into different sections.
  • Assign priority to tasks that are your responsibility.
  • Delegate tasks that are the responsibility of others.
  • Begin to tackle your list. (If it's too much, see my blog about 15-minutes at a time)
  • Repeat the process next week.

This should help you think a lot clearer and get a good night's sleep as well. Tell me how it goes!

Also, I recommend you take a look at David Allen's
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

15-Minutes at a Time

Often time we look at our tasks as unsurmountable and almost impossible to complete. However, there is a great practice to complete any endeavor, no matter how big or how small - break it down into small pieces and tackle each task 15-minutes at a time.

This may seem too easy or almost insulting. However, I assure you, if you set your clock for 15-minutes, you would not believe how much you can accomplish. You could:

- clean your bathroom
- start a book
- research a website
- create a blog
- talk to a close relative
- review your budget
- sew on a button
- clear out your e-mail box or at least get started
- dream about the future
- scrapbook
- meditate or pray
- take a walk
- practice a musical instrument

The options are limitless. I'd be interested to know what types of tasks you avoid because you don't think you have the time. Think about that project or task you have been avoiding, set your clock...on your mark, get ready, get set, go! See you in 15-minutes.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Grandma's Mantra

Plan you work and work your plan. - Zig Ziglar and Grandma

Grandma's warm voice beckons me every time I think about starting a new endeavor.  Her words remind me that no endeavor should be undertaken without an intentional pause to think and plan my next steps, so I can execute my goal. No matter how small or large the project, take a moment to plan your work so the tasks ahead are more manageable. Planning helps you overcome the challenge when you actually have to work your plan. 

While you are in the planning process, keep some of the points in mind:

  • Break large projects down into smaller parts. 
    • Eating the proverbial elephant one bite at a time makes the journey ahead not seem so intimidating and creates opportunities for small victories. We often set ourselves up for failure because we put our goals far out of reach. Doing something "easy" can encourage to take the next step.
  • Set a deadline. 
    • For my fellow procrastinators, setting a realistic deadline can help us avoid leaving your tasks incomplete until tomorrow.
  • Share your goal.
    • By sharing your goal, you become accountable and less likely to drop the ball.
Whenever you decide to start your project, don't forget your plan - you'll need it along the way.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Journey Begins

The most unselfish at you can perform is to organize your life in such a way that you are not a burden to others and to accept your life as a gift.
- Peter J. Daniels

The above quote is from multi-millionaire, Peter J. Daniels's book How To Handle A Major Crisis. (pg 114) Ever since I read this book, I have been on a personal quest to plan, to organize, and to achieve. I have spent many years collecting information to help myself break past the road blocks in my life. .

The purpose of this blog is to help those of us who need additional motivation and ideas to get started, to plan and to actually achieve our life's goals. No matter how small or how large your objectives may be, it is my hope that you can find the support and resources you need to move on step closer to your dreams.

As we journey together through this blog, we will explore various tools and techniques for goals setting, planning and executing of plans. There is much wisdom in a multitude of advisors.

So with that, I will sign-off on my introductory log into my first blog.

See you at the top.