Getting Things Done
Action: the accomplishment of a thing, activity, deed, or act; the manner or method of performing
Done: to bring to pass; happened; complete; to produce a desired result
Do you ever feel overwhelmed or fragmented in body, mind, and soul? Do you sense you are spinning your wheels, never accomplishing the things you want to do? If you answered Yes, then welcome to the standard condition of many of us who live in this developed society.
Remember when the “experts” predicted that by the 21st Century, we’d all be down to a 36-hour work week with more free time than ever before? “They” also predicted large unemployment due to new technology and automation. Well, I’m still waiting for that day and I’m sure you are, too.
In reality, most of us have never been busier. In previous ezines, I have talked about the “tyranny of the urgent.” Some of those conditions arise from our not being able to get things done.
First, let’s identify the problem. Is it possible that most of us are overcommitted?
If you have too much on your plate, what do you think happens to your productivity to get things done? Let’s use a computer as a metaphor for this condition. If you have the latest technology, you can easily run some very sophisticated programs but, if you open several more applications at the same time, what happens to the productivity of all the applications? At some point, no matter how capable the new computer may be, we can crash it by overwhelming the system.
Can we apply that principle in our own lives? Absolutely, yes!
Let’s take that a bit farther. Our own minds are very similar to our personal computers. Open two programs and both can run easily and efficiently. Open a third and some level of performance on the first activity is reduced. Open a fourth program and the problem increases, and so on.
Fact is that many of us may not get anything done because we’re trying to do everything ALL at once. The more “personal” programs you have open, the less effective each process will be.
Our fear is that we won’t get things done unless we multi-task. The result, at some level, is frantic and unproductive people where this approach actually increases the problem and less is accomplished.
You might say, “Ken, you simply don’t understand how much I need to get done!” Well, I might not have your To Do list, but mine is lengthy, as well.
Usually I write about something that has occurred to me in recent weeks. Let me explain. In the past couple of months, I found I was unable to focus at my usual level and that my personal energy levels were going down. Yet, I was eating better and working out more. After some reflection on my challenge, it was clear that my brain had too many programs open at one time. My system was feeling overloaded and was starting to shut down.
In many cases our initial reaction to the condition of lowered productivity is to push harder and maybe open even more programs but that just exacerbates the problem.
So what can we do to take action and get things done?
- STOP trying to do too many things at once and believing that you are being more productive. New brain-wave pattern research is suggesting that even driving and talking on your cell phone are two activities that should not be done at the same time. It simply is not safe. Yes, some activities can be multi-tasked but do limit them.
- Get your To Do activity list out of your head and into print. This is one of the most important strategies you can implement. It doesn’t matter how or where you document all your activities, dreams, even errands. Just do it! Having your brain try to keep track of all the things you need or want to do in a time space is not an efficient use of your RAM. Use a daytimer, Palm Pilot, cards, or anything that works for you. Create a system that can capture ALL your thoughts—no matter how minor—when and where the thought occurs.
- While engaged in an activity, limit or eliminate your thoughts about other things that must be done. Keeping future actions in your head keeps you from focusing in the here and now. If you have documented all your thoughts in a system that works for you (see above), you can forget about those new items until you are finished what you are currently doing.
- Schedule some time for clean-ups. Clutter and unfinished projects will rob you of personal energy. Look around you, both personally and professionally, to see what needs attention. Go in with an attitude of no sacred cows! You are looking to remove physical clutter and provide the positive mental results of being organized and up to date.
- I know your filing gets deferred but not doing it is robbing you of energy.
- If repairs are required, just get them done or hire someone to help you.
- Return items that you borrowed; request the return of items that you lent to someone.
- Identify items to delete.
- You have had a project on your goal list for 10 years but you’ve never done anything to make it happen. Is it still something you REALLY want?
- What possessions do you no longer use or need?
- I’m sorry but keeping that box of clothes that you outgrew 10 years ago is clutter.
- Is there a commitment on your list that no longer fits your passions and purpose?
- Do you have relationships that you find draining or that are not nurturing for you?
- Try some Quick Strategies.
- If the activity will take less than 2 to 3 minutes, do it now.
- Create a winning professional and personal environment that works for you.
- Limit distractions. Turn off your email while you are focusing on a project. That email can wait.
- Schedule time slots for specific activities to help you be most productive. Example: make phone calls from 10 to Noon; write on Monday mornings; schedule outside appointments for Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and so on.
Of course, many systems are available to help you organize your life. Use a process that works best for you or create your own. Make sure your life plays to your strengths. Without that element, it’s very difficult to get things done.
The following CRG resources will help in this journey: Personal Style Indicator, Values Preference Indicator, Job Style Indicator, Stress Indicator and Health Planner, and My Source EXPERIENCE Journal™.
In the end, Getting Things Done is about our own personal effectiveness—not our conditions or circumstances.
Getting Things Done
- Getting things done is more about you and less about your circumstances.
- If you feel overwhelmed, it will be difficult for you to get as much done as you could.
- Get your complete To Do List—I mean everything—out of your head and into a hard-copy or electronic form . . . or a combination that works for you.
- Organize your To Do list in a way that it serves your needs and style.
- Stop thinking about what you need to do while you are focusing on a task. The quickest way to get less done is to burden yourself with what you should do while you are doing what you are doing. Did you get that!? That’s where your list comes into play.
- Schedule time to clean up your clutter in all areas of your life. Chaos will breed more chaos. Fix that piece of furniture that has been broken for three years.
- Recycle items you no longer use or want.
- Getting things done means playing to your strengths. You can confirm them through using the Personal Style Indicator, Values Preference Indicator, Job Style Indicator, Stress Indicator and Health Planner, andMy Source EXPERIENCE Journal™.
- Multi-task only when it makes sense and when it does not become a burden.
- Getting things done is about your personal effectiveness strategies, not your circumstances.
- Remember: don’t try to live your life out of your head. Implement just a couple of these strategies and enjoy the feelings you’ll have because you’re getting more things done.
Until next time, keep Living On Purpose!.
For information on CRG Resources, please visit http://www.crgleader.com.