As the New Year is upon us, I’m prepared to bet that most of us will be making some half-hearted resolutions about losing weight, doing more exercise, leaving the office on time and all that good stuff….. but how many of us will be sticking to our good intentions come February?
Over the last couple of years in particular I’ve been on a mission to get more focus and clarity in my life and work and to help my clients do the same – because, without exception, it is the one challenge we all seem to struggle with. Too much to do; not enough time.
I wish I could say I’ve got it all completely nailed. I haven’t. But I’ve made some incremental changes (that, for me, is DEFINITELY the way to do it) and I’ve made some good headway. And in 12 months’ time I hope to be able to report back with even more progress. In fact, forget that. I WILL report back with more progress (because one of the things that works for me is public accountability). No pressure…..So here are a few of the things that have made the most difference to me:
1. Sorting the inbox out. My wonderful PA Pat has done this for me and it’s revolutionised the way we work. She’ll let you have her inbox tips if you ask nicely. Email her on email@example.com. On that note, OUTSOURCE or DELEGATE whatever you can. I have worked with Pat for four years and should have employed her years ago.
- 2.Scheduling ‘white space’ in the diary. Free time between meetings, free time each week – diarised (otherwise it won’t happen). No more running between appointments with no time to breathe. I hate that feeling of always being ‘just on time’ and of not having enough time to reflect between appointments.
- 3. Blocking out Monday mornings. In 2014 I’m blocking out Monday mornings to work from home and prepare my week and month ahead. Which means I can relax and enjoy my Sunday without having to think about work. (It also means I can avoid the Monday morning rushhour!)
- 4. Prioritising three things. Each day, I identify the most important things I need to do that day. And do them. But I’m human so sometimes I get stuck. I procrastinate Particularly if it doesn’t feel like an easy thing to do. So I then adopt the ‘just take one small step’ approach and make a start. That normally gets me off on the right foot!
5. Creating rituals. A ritual is a ceremony in which the included actions, and the order in which they are done, is established and fixed (thanks Wikipedia). In my mastermind group, we’ve each established some rituals to help us start the day well. I have some phrases I use to get me in the right frame of mind. I say them whilst I’m making my morning cup of tea. Whilst I’m drinking my tea, I’ll also do a couple of minutes of deep breathing.
My colleague, who is writing a book, commits to writing her thoughts down before she has her morning shower….another friend meditates for ten minutes before breakfast. The point is, that these things become so much part of our day that we do them on auto-pilot and none of them takes longer than ten minutes. And we are accountable to each other (by text each morning!)
I will have some more tips to share with you in my next blog and if there’s anything that’s worked for you, I’d love to hear about it. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll share the best ones!
To a wonderful 2014 for all of us.
P.S. We still have places at our next Choas to Clarity event on January 16th. Find out more here.