As 2014 came to an end, I set myself a goal.
I’d like to get rid of the feeling of anxiety I feel when I step to my work.
You probably know that feeling too… the “how-can-I-ever-get-everything-done-and-still-grow-my-business!!” feeling.
I have never thought the goal-setting process was an issue for me. I’ve always been focused on goals. Actually, I was overflowing with goals.
However, I’ve realized that the issue was not excessive goals. The issue was my inability to organize and manage my actions in a way that kept me focused on my objectives. My approach to clients — think about the big image and cut it up into practical steps — is much more difficult to do for my own personal business. Perhaps it’s because my brain is constantly flooded with new ideas, or I am completely overwhelmed by my list of tasks, or perhaps because it was more difficult to evaluate my own business.
Whatever the case, something had to be changed.
What I required were the structure and systems. I needed a road map. Therefore, I began to think and develop a system that was effective.
Goals vs. Tactics
One way to consider methods is how to break down your task into smaller chunks. If, for instance, you’re writing a novel, you’ll likely begin by generating an initial idea and then an outline, and then start writing chapters, and then begin writing. I’d recommend taking another step and concentrating on writing every day a tiny amount. This will help reduce the “oh my god, I need to wrap this up” type of feeling that comes with the deadline draws near.
Once everything is laid out, it’s much easier to keep on top of things. If I plan a chapter each week and allow myself 3 hours each day to do it, I’ll have enough time to complete each week with a chapter. If I write ten chapters, I will be finished within ten weeks unless there are unexpected events (which I’d likely include a small cushion for).
It turns out that breaking down tasks is an effective strategy for almost all goals.
The life coach Tony Robbins says, “If you think about the idea, you’re talking about a fantasy and if you imagine it, it’s feasible, but if you make it a priority to schedule it, it’s possible.” The trick, which I discovered, is to break down tasks into phases and plan them. That’s right, write them down on the calendar.
Making time on the calendar to do my own work appeared a bit odd initially, but then I realized that if I didn’t then, I’d surely plan another thing in its place. I’ve now set aside the time I need for all my daily activities, including social media and email, as these two areas are quick to become time-suckers.
HINT: Does anyone truly expect us to respond instantly to an email? Most likely not. Disabling it and checking it only at scheduled times removed a significant distracting factor for me.
Clean Your Desk
This might appear to be a minor thing, but having my desk clean has made an enormous difference in my concentration.
I’d usually start my week with a tidy desk and positive intentions. However, by the end of the week, I’d be surrounded by a myriad of small documents or sticky notes on them and notes that yell “pay pay attention!”. Making folders for the most important things to handle, such as blog post ideas business thoughts, and then removing them from my desk, help me remain focused on the task that is in front of me. Also, setting up groups in Evernote for websites I have found that I like to return to later.
The Schedule of Time to Assessment
Another important step is to schedule every month a time to revisit your goals and review the progress.
If, for instance, I’m trying to grow my list of subscribers to my emails, making time each month to look at the numbers and determine whether they’re in line with my goal in terms of numbers will help me determine how effective my approach is. If not, I’m able to tweak my strategies and attempt again.
Scheduling Time To Be A Human Being
I’m also incorporating this into my own life in order to build a healthier me. I’m now scheduling time to meditate and pray along with time for exercise, as well as time to eat lunch with my friends. These were things that were often removed from my schedule prior to.
This year, I’m beginning with the goal of completely organizing my life. If I could create time to procrastinate, it would be more effective. But I’ll put it on hold until next year.