It seems to happen once every few months.. I take all the things that I learned, all the things that I’ve accomplished, all the things I want to learn, all the things I want to accomplish, and I reach a standing point. I reach a cross roads. I see that I could easily ignore it and continue plowing through my days accomplishing as much as I can.. but where’s the joy? The happiness? Where’s the sense of true accomplishment? Its just not there.. so I have to do something about it :).
I’ll tell you right now.. there is no really easy way to organize your life.. Believe me, I’ve looked for it. There’s no easy way to wake up one morning and suddenly decide that everything in your life is going to flow smoothly.. I’ve tried that and it may seem to work for a few days.. then everything comes tumbling back down on you.
I’m sure many of you can relate.. You have 100 projects calling for your attention each and every day.. You divide your time out as best as you can and end up working on 6.. There are 4 more that NEED your attention and so you go to bed at night.. “Its alright, I’ll get it tomorrow”.. Tomorrow comes and still they remain undone.. It gets worse.. Some days feel great, you accomplish SOO much and then, its bedtime.. you lay down and suddenly you remember all that you still have left to do. But you’re tired, you need sleep.. You’ll just have to do it tomorrow. Rinse and Repeat.
So, what do you do?
Well ya know what.. that’s a great question ; ). I’ve been working on the answer lately, more out of necessity than choice. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the 80-20 rule.. 20% of what you do will produce 80% of the results, and vice versa. Its so true.. time after time I’ve seen it in the things that I do.
First, I looked at the math.. there is simply not enough time in a day to do all the things I feel that I “need” to do.. On the flipside, there are many things I’m simply going to “have” to do because I’ve obligated myself to them. Nobody said this would be easy ;). I’ve taken on responsibilities and I’m going to see them through.
The trick is learning to say no.
That’s where it starts.. for some of us this is very very easy.. for the rest of us.. not so easy ;). That’s been one of the most challenging things for me.. I love helping people and I love being able to make a difference.. The trouble comes up when I try helping too many people at once..
The other trick is learning to set boundaries.
Helping people is great, you just have to know where to draw the line and most importantly make sure that THEY know where you draw the line. Communication is so important. Lets say you’re a brilliant graphic artist and you have some great ideas for a company logo. These guys are brand new and definitely need the help.. you volunteer to just throw out some drafts for them ‘cuz you like what they’re doing. That’s awesome. Trouble comes when they expect more and ask for revisions and more revisions and more revisions.. From the beginning, you need to make sure you set boundaries. “I’m happy to help you guys out and I just want to let you know that I’m doing this on my free time. I’ll throw in a few quick drafts for you and anything extra will cost you.” There are many ways to go about it, just make sure that you set your boundaries.
So that’s where you start. Learning to say no and when you say yes, set your boundaries. I’m learning that.. I really am ;).
The next step is to organize what you DO have. For me, I’m going to go back to a “loose schedule”. I’ve tried quite a few things and that’s still one of the things that works best for me.. I’m also going to be careful not to micromanage. For me, that’s an easy trap to fall into.. each night, before I go to bed, I’m going to pick 3-5 MAJOR things to accomplish the next day. On some days, it may just be 1 thing. On others, I may do a whole 5! That saves me the mess of picking out 20 things and feeling lousy when only 15 are done.. It also gets me focused on the MOST important things.
I’ll go into more of the details later.. its past my bedtime again ; ).
As time goes on.. I’m going to share more of what I’ve learned and we’re going to:
Discover The 5 Unbelieveable Secrets of Extreme Productivity
And today we learned that one of the secrets is figuring out a way to reward yourself! This can be all sorts of things.. it can be anything! You have to have a reason for doing all this amazing stuff.. at the end of the day you have to have a reason for feeling accomplished.. And then act on it!
Maybe that means rewarding yourself with a new toy.. maybe rewarding yourself with a weekend vacation.. maybe setting aside time to read a book.. maybe setting aside time to write a book. Have a clear end to a productive day, something to work for and get excited about.. and then don’t let yourself down.
This is very important.
There’s nothing that can kill productivity faster than finishing off an amazing day only to feel like you haven’t done a darn thing.
..Today, Ted and I rewarded ourselves ;).
Highlight of my day:
We had a really powerful rain shower that took up most of the afternoon.. suddenly, out of nowhere, in the midst of a blinding downpour, the sun came out! For a good 10 minutes it lit up the entire sky with this amazing display of light.. Pouring rain everywhere and this absolutely amazing amount of sunlight.. it was incredible! No pictures.. camera woulda been soaked ;).