Ok it’s end of January, many of us continue to dig out of snow and when we put the shovel down for a moment, we wonder how quickly time flew by and I have not really kept up with my goals for the new year.
I call this time of year the “quick/slow time to Spring”. What I mean is that now that holidays are over, we are so focused on just getting by that before we know it, March and April are here and we have lost sight of what we wanted to achieve.
Some of the complaints I hear from my executive coaching clients are (some of these used to be mine):
1. I have so many other things going on, I just have to get them done.
2. I have been doing making changes (if you really look..no you haven’t)
3. Maybe I overpromised myself. (and you stop everything)
All of these are real feelings so don’t judge them. What you need is a simple plan to get you back on track.
One of the best things I had ever read, many years ago, was the Charles Schwab, the founder of the Wall Street trading company, used to keep an index card on his desk and listed the most important things he had to accomplish that day.
As he finished them he crossed them off. This helped him see that he was achieving his goals. If he did not finish something he just moved it to the top of his index card for tomorrow.
Now I have been using a form of this for the past 15 years and it has served me well. I keep an excel spreadsheet with all of my projects that I have to work on. I keep them separated into different columns based on divisions I oversee and I have a column for my own personal projects as well.
Each day I look this over and choose the 5-6 things I HAVE to accomplish today. Now please understand I am not saying you are accomplishing the whole project. You are completing the next “action Item” that has to happen to move the project towards completion. This could mean making a phone call or doing research online, or writing a quick outline of what has to happen at a meeting.
Remember, projects are just a series of action items that have to happen.
Balancing many projects or wearing many hats can make your head spin. Many of you reading this understand what I am saying so to you I recommend that you implement this strategy for a month. Try it and see how it works for you.
Commit to listing in one place all of the things/projects you have on your plate. Then each day pick the 5 action items that have to happen that day. Cross them off as they happen. Move those that don’t get finished to the next day’s list.
I promise you that you will see improvement with your accomplishments as well as having a feeling that you are on top of all you have to handle
This is a basic time management process that allows you to be pulled away to handle other issues while giving you a roadmap you can refer back to in order to keep your important tasks from getting lost.
Let me know your thoughts.