Tag Archive: getting things done



office-620817_1920There are way too many productivity tools out there to mention, making it even more important to choose the one that’s a perfect fit for you. The tool you use to support you on a daily walk through your to-do list should fit you as well as your favorite pair of shoes. After you’ve done your homework to learn exactly what the tools you’re attracted to can do and determine which is the best fit based upon your Productivity Persona™, you can’t stop there. Once you have the perfect tool for you in your hot little capable hands, you’ve got to work it if it’s going to support you. There are three major things you’re going to want to do:

  1. Set Yourself Up For Success-It’s important to use all the features to support you daily. When you get your tool, invest the time in setting it up completely, and no half-stepping! Add your contacts, and for electronic tools, sync it with your calendar, and add your business email so that you have access to it. It’s convenient to have it all in one place, not to mention the time you’ll save.
  2. Develop Habits– Once it’s set up you want to build the muscle of using your tool every day . If you haven’t been using something to support you on a daily basis, you’ve got to allow yourself the time to get into the swing of things. Use reminders to help you build this muscle if you need to. On a regular basis, add new calendar items, contacts and any updates, and use it to plan and to guide you daily.
  3. Back It Up!- Sync and back up your electronic device regularly—at least twice a week. It’s a good practice to set reminders in your calendar so that you don’t forget to sync and back up. There’s nothing worse than losing or having something happen to your electronic device and not having that back up. I’ve helped clients work their way back from that disaster and it’s not pretty. If you’re using a paper tool, maintain it the same way and share your calendar information with your assistant or another trusted party. If you’re a one-woman show, keep a second copy in a safe spot for easy retrieval in the worse case scenario.

I recently sent an email out to my list giving them a chance to borrow my brain and get any question they had about productivity answered. That week questions came from other places too. One question I was asked while on the phone with a colleague was, “How is it that I’m productive for three days in a row then have no energy or the right attitude to get things done?” What she shared with me was that during the last few weeks she found herself in a space where she was able to focus and get things done for about three days and then she just couldn’t bring herself back to that space again. She couldn’t stay focused and definitely wasn’t in the frame of mind to do so either.

Each of those days she had started working mid morning and worked until after dinner, sometimes stopping to eat dinner and then coming back to work and at times burning the midnight oil. She was burning herself out, which many women entrepreneurs do. What I suspected was that she wasn’t giving time to herself as was the case. No breaks to grab a healthy snack or take a quick walk or just breathe. She may or may not stop to eat lunch so she could continue to work her way through the things on her list and be farther along with her project. Plowing through those days got things done, but depleted her physically and mentally and it took a couple of days to get things moving again.

If you don’t have time during the day when you give to yourself, now is the time to start doing it. Create a morning routine that allows you space to breathe and to get grounded and focused. You might add a work out or some yoga and meditation. Let the focus be entirely on you. Not your family, not even your business, but on you. Create times during the day when you stop to take a break from work. Step away from your desk or out of your office and again focus on yourself. What do you need in that space? Maybe you need to fuel your body or take the dog for a walk. You will find that those breaks leave you refreshed and ready to knock off the rest of the things on your agenda for the day. Finally, know where to draw the line. Choose a time to end your work days and honor yourself and your time by sticking to it. This will give you the energy, focus and frame of mind you need and will put an end to the weeks where you run out of steam.

 


To-Do List and Pocket WatchThe list of things to do is so long that it can be difficult getting to the things that really matter. You know what it’s like to have a long list and have more things that need to be added before you can cross off the tasks you already have. Things get jammed up because you’re not organized, don’t know how to manage it all and if you’ve got productivity challenges or habits that don’t support you, it makes it even harder. To the point that you give a lot of time to putting out fires and not getting to what matters most.

Add the velocity of life and it’s even more challenging. Usually, people spend time working on things that are important and urgent because time isn’t given to planning, taking advantage of opportunities, and the all-important, highly avoided recreation and relaxation.

It’s time to dissect, clean up and fine tune your to-do list! Start by looking at everything you have on your plate and the things you would like to place on your plate. Make sure to include the things you’ve been walking around with in your head.

Once you’ve got everything listed, mark each item as something that either has to be done right now or something that doesn’t have to be done right now. As you do, keep in mind that you’re tearing apart your list here. The end goal is to only end up having things that are important left on your list, so this means letting go of all the things that don’t fall under that category.

Next, go back through the list and label each task either important or not important. Be very careful here, this is where things can get a bit tricky. Let go of the notion that everything is important, because it’s not. If something’s not related to your big picture, it’s irrelevant. It might be hard to do what I’m going to tell you to do now, but it’s necessary. Draw a line through everything that you’ve designated to be unimportant. Again, remember that you’re cleaning things up. Once you do, you’re only left with the things that matter.

Now that you have a list of only the important things left, you can see which have to be done right now and the ones that don’t because of the labels you gave them earlier. This is your new, fine-tuned to-do list and these are the things that should get your time. Focus on the things that have to be done right now first, then move to the things that aren’t a “right now” thing.

Moving forward, continue to focus on only the things that are important. Create new habits that have you planning and not waiting until the last minute so you have less fires to put out and things aren’t done in haste. You’ll have to face the daily temptation that will come from the things that aren’t relevant, but stay the course! Celebrate your wins, whether they’re big or small and make time for yourself. Continue to constantly and deliberately choose and remember that your focus is to drop the things that aren’t directly in line with the big picture you’re creating.

 

Being In The Flow


Meditating At The WaterI remember a conversation two friends had about me years ago that they shared with me. One of the things that was said during their conversation was that they had no idea how I managed to get everything done. At the time I was working 40-50 hours a week, going to school full time and I was a single parent. The truth is, I didn’t even think about how to get it all done, I just did it. Looking back at that time and the number of things I managed to stay on top of without missing a beat I saw that it was my intention that helped me.

I had learned to give myself a more stable foundation for getting things done and took steps to personalize my approach to it all and those things along with having a system worked, but intention was what helped me flow. Intention is a powerful thing.  It can be described as a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Desire causes intention, which causes action, which of course then causes the outcome.  Intention is what starts the momentum; the flow, and allows it to grow if you align yourself with it.

Aligning yourself with it means applying leverage by delegating the things that don’t require your expertise to complete. It also means making time to relax, the really breathe and appreciate things as they are and visualizing your outcome. Once you create the alignment, you can follow with inspired action which leads to more momentum and places you in the flow of things. Your mind shifts and is a part of the flow you’ve created and everything begins to line up.

When you are in this space of flow, there is no stopping you simply because you have set the intention and have a willingness to do that which needs to be done. You begin to see what things belong on your daily agenda and which don’t, so you delegate or remove them altogether. You’re able to start your day knowing there is much to do and that you will handle every task before you, and it happens just that way. You know when to ask for clarity and when you need to ask for help. Having the physical things in place to support your productivity is necessary and when you purposely create the environment within your being so that you flow, you become more effective and more efficient than ever. Being in the flow is how you get it all done.

 


Italian spaghetti and vegetablesWhat you eat impacts the results you get with your to-do list. Being productive takes more than the right tools and supportive habits. This is one reason why my approach to helping people get things done is a holistic one. I look at things on all levels, one of them being physical. The others are mental, emotional and spiritual.

Here, I’m talking about the physical level of productivity, which encompasses more than having your environment structured in a way that serves you. That is one of the things that first comes to mind when you think about being able to get it done along with tools and other things. One other necessary component on this level is diet. What you eat will either fuel or hinder your productivity. How many times have you stopped working to eat lunch, come back to what you were working on and just not had the energy or capacity to continue with the same focus or to continue at all? You might also find that there are times in the day when you lose concentration or it’s hard for you to be present. Then there are those times when you’re on the go all day so you either miss out on meals or end up eating things that you know you shouldn’t eat, but you do because it’s what’s available, giving in to the horrors of fast food. What’s convenient isn’t necessarily what’s good for you.

Look at what you’re eating that diminishes your productivity and make a shift to fueling your productivity. Your energy level drops off after you eat lunch, or eat particular things is because you’re consuming high-fat or large meals that divert the blood supply to the digestive tract and away from the brain, causing sluggishness and fatigue or you’re consuming things that lack nutrients. Another popular go-to are sugary foods which can make you feel like you’re spaced out, weak, confused or even nervous.

Making that shift in what you eat can contribute to increasing your productivity by 20%. Food impacts how clearly you think and concentrate, your intelligence level, memory and reaction time, and even how quickly your brain ages. Your brain is hungry tissue and even burns fuel even while you sleep, so eating breakfast is the best way to restock fuel stores and prevent a mental fog later in the day.  Consciously choose what you’re eating, especially for breakfast and lunch and snacking. Nuts and seeds have vitamin E and antioxidants; whole grains give you fiber, vitamins and magnesium; dark leafy greens are loaded with vitamins and minerals like iron which brings more oxygen to the body and the brain. All of these support cognitive function. Get plenty of fruits and vegetables along with plant based protein to fuel your body and keep your physical energy up.

Plan what you’re eating just as you plan your weeks and days. Create your menu for the week and think about some of the things I’ve mentioned that will help you get through your day and your to-do list. Leave out the heavy stuff and stay away from the high fat content. When it comes to snacks this is where it’s easy to just lose it so think about what you can eat to fuel instead of sucking the life out of your productivity. Make sure you get fruits in the mix; prepare a snack mix with nuts and dried fruit, prep fresh veggies and have them ready so all you have to do is grab them and keep things moving.

Fueling your productivity starts with awareness. Seeing what you’re eating that’s not supporting you and shifting to things that will support you. Planning is a big part of the puzzle and don’t get discouraged when it comes to planning. It really does benefit you and it’s definitely an investment of time, not a waste of it.

 

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