Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Purpose, Planning, & Positive Action

By: Kim Peterson

Are you making the most of each day? Or do you feel that there is more “stuff” to do and not nearly enough time to get it all done? Do you have this nagging feeling that the days are flying by and you are just trying to hang on for the ride?

If this sounds all too familiar then please, take a step back, a deep breath and let the these P’s help you grab the reigns and get back in the driver’s seat.

Purpose: First of all, before tackling a year, month, week, or day take the time to get crystal clear on your Purpose. Why are you doing what you think you have to do? Is it to increase your health & vitality? Make a better life for you and your family? Increase your net worth & eliminate debt? Or are you crossing things off a to-do list just because they are there, for example, answering emails for hours on end that have no real bearing on your ultimate outcome, pushing papers from this spot to that on your desk, making a multitude of trips out because you forgot this or that and you need it right away. Stop and seek clarity. What are your goals professionally & personally (health, family, spirit, money, contribution)? Keep those in the forefront of your mind as you plan each day.

Planning: With your big picture goals in mind (or perhaps written and in front of you) plan each days’, weeks’ and months’ activities paying close attention to whether or not this activity is in line with taking you closer to your objectives. Is this activity having no impact at all or worse yet, taking you further away from your goals? Keep and use some sort of planning system whether paper or electronic (if you choose the latter, be super duper sure to back up constantly…I keep a hybrid of both as I’ve lived through my electronic system blowing up a time or two). Think of it as a most valuable tool and friend that is helping you to get where you want to be in all areas of your life. Plan daily. I find that first thing in the morning to review what my day is going to look like and last thing at night to review what did & didn’t get done and what is coming up. It only takes a couple minutes each time. You will stay on top of the steps it takes to get you where you want to go by keeping the big picture in mind. It will be much easier to get back on track when (not if, but when) you get side tracked. Plus you will have a record of your progress and accomplishments. This will serve as a testament to what you are capable of accomplishing once you decide and take consistent actions towards your goals.

Positive Action: Now you know what you want, why you want it and what steps you need to take to get there. With that foundation in place, it is time to take action, follow through, assess the results you are getting and tweak your strategy if necessary. Start each day a bit earlier to take advantage of the quiet time to contemplate, review and anticipate a positive outcome to your day’s activities. Try to get your most challenging or least fun items out of the way first thing. Stay on track and as unexpected items come up throughout your day, ask yourself “Can this be delegated to someone else? Or, Is this necessary to tackle right now? Or Does this really need to be addressed at all?” If you find yourself getting caught up in the overwhelm of answering emails, taking calls & putting out fires (because you are so busy right?), take a step back and a deep breath and remember your Purpose. A good majority of people are always busy and overwhelmed and stressed and unhappy. Unfortunately, they never achieve the things they want out of life because they aren’t paying attention to what is most important. Don’t let that be you.

Start with taking a big picture overview of your life, where you are and where you would like to be. Then get busy planning. The primary goal is to follow through on the important things. This will go a long way to living a more productive and less “busy” life. It can move you towards the accomplishment of things that you used to think were impossible. The truth is: when correct action is taken they become quite possible and in fact probable

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