Envisioning your future

Dr. Stephen Covey identifies his 2nd habit in his famous book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” as “Begin with the end in mind” and envisioning the future is a great motivator to get our offices organized!  Here are some ways you can envision your “organized” future:

  •  How will you feel when you have space in  your life?
  • What are some things you envision yourself creating in your “new space?”
  • How will you act relatively to this “new found freedom?”
  • What can you do to continue to keep your office organized?

All the best to you as you “clear the clutter” and stay tuned for my last tip!

Be Passionate

Think about the last goal that you achieved that you truly were happy about. How much energy and passion did you have around that goal?  It is a lot easier to achieve goals when we have a sense of excitement and passion around them. 

The first step in creating successful goals is to wrap them around your passion and interests.  Certainly, there will be some goals where you just need to achieve them.  But even those – I encourage you to look for creative ways to link your passion, energy, and your interests.    The goals that you have a better chance of achieving are the ones where you are passionate.   Here are some examples of my goals that are linked with my passions:

I want to be healthy and I love to swim!  My goal for 2012 is to swim 4-5 times a week.

I love to read!   I want to be more intentional about reading and my goal is to read 2 books a month.

I love my husband!  We will continue our date nights since this are a practical way to keep our love alive.

How about you?  What are you passionate about?

Simplify

Years ago, I picked up a small book entitled, “Simplify your Life: 100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things that Really Matter by Elaine St. James (Hyperion, 1994).  This book contains practical ways to simplify our lives in our household, Life style, finances, job, health, personal life with a concluding chapter on “hard core simplicity.”    I believe the philosophy of simplify can help us live out with the “one thing at a time” attitude because as we get make our lives less complicated and cluttered, we can be freed up for innovation, creativity, and enthusiasm.  If we’ve stopped and analyzed the “why” of the task, and stepped back and seen the task in light of how this task fits in with our organizations or team’s goals, we can simplify.  Simplify means that we can make our lives less cluttered and complicated by eliminating things that we just do out of habit, boredom (they call this busy work) or because “that is just the way we’ve always done this.”  Author Elaine St. James in her chapter on “Work Less and Enjoy It More” cut back on her workday by 10 percent by scheduling her day to end an hour earlier.    What she realized is so applicable to us. In her words, “I found that I had fallen into the trap of believing that I had to do everything today, or at the very least, by tomorrow, so I was constantly working under unnecessary pressure, which is no fun.”  She learned how to prioritize calls, set up more realistic time-frames for project completion dates, and build time (for interruptions) in her schedule.

I hope that these 3 S’s have made you reflect upon your current work habits and I encourage you to STEP, STEP BACK, and SIMPLIFY your work and home life so as Elaine St. James says, “not to deny yourself the things you want, but to free yourself from the things you don’t want. “

Step Back

The 2nd “S” in the 3 S’s of a “One thing at a time” mentality is Step Back. Step back means that we step back from the task that we are working on and see the task in light of larger team goals or business goals.   We can discover that this task is best served by another staff member – or we may find that this task, though we enjoy it – will not significantly increase revenue or lead to new business.   Step back also refers to stepping back from the “this is the way we’ve always done it” mentality and see if there is another way that we can get the same result by a more streamlined method.  Is there a way that this function can be automated?   With technology, the way we used to do things is drastically improved.  Are we making effective use of our human resources?  Is every person in our team adding value by the tasks they are doing?   Perhaps this task is a perfect growth opportunity for a team member. I may need to invest some time on the front end, but what a gift for me and the team if this person could get this function accomplished AND expand their skill set at the same time?  I say this is a win-win!

Step back from your task – look at the activity in light of your team’s larger mission or goals and think about other ways this task can be accomplished.  Perhaps other people? Perhaps using technology? Or perhaps this task doesn’t need to be done!

 My next Blog posting will focus on the 3rd S – Simplify!

Two More Weeks to Accomplish your Goals!

It is hard to bgirl at laptop thumb upelieve that 2011 is almost over!  Are you feeling satisfied with what you have accomplished this last year?  I know, why am I bringing up accomplishing goals in the midst of holiday busyness?  Well, it could be the perfect opportunity to go back to the beginning of the year goals and congratulate yourself on all that you have successfully accomplished – in any and all areas of your life – work, personal, physical, financial, spiritual, and relational.    And then, find one actionable item you can check off your list that will make a significant difference to your job, business, and life. You have 2 weeks to do it!

Recently, our worship leader at church shared about her trip to Zimbabwe and how grateful the women she met were.  Did these dear women have a lot?  No!  In fact, having three meals a day is not option for many people living in some of the poorest regions of the world. However, these women were content with what they had -whatever that was. 

So, in the midst of our accomplishing our goals – it is important that we don’t lose sight of being grateful for what we have. 

And so, though this blog posting is on goals – it is a perfect time of year to reflect upon the blessings.  I love what Charles Dickens said “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

Staying on Course

clock finalI don’t know about you, but I have a challenge in starting projects that I don’t find exciting.  Especially if it involves projects that (in my mind) will take a long time.  When I am writing, I can think about the countless things that I can get done quickly (and check it off my list). So writing can get pushed to the back burner.  Or the same holds true for my getting motivated to work on my bookkeeping and financial statements.   It is so hard to get myself seated down to actually begin the project and then when I start – I can get off course with so many distractions – emails, phone calls, people, and other priorities!  Perhaps I am my worst distraction!           

Here’s a simple idea. Your kitchen timer can be used as your accountability buddy.  Set the timer for 15 minutes or 20 minutes (or 30 minutes) and tell yourself that you will do this particular task or project until the timer goes off.  What inevitably happens is that you will be so “into” the project that you will work another 30 minutes (or longer!).  And soon you’ll be done!