Today, I’d like to give you some valuable knowledge to equip you and propel you upward and forward along these lines of prioritizing and follow through.
I want you to take out a piece of paper and write down all the items that you have right now that you are working on. Just write and write and write. When you are done come back here.
Okay, so now categorize each of these items into your life areas. Here they are again for you: Personal Environment/Home, Finances, Giving Back, Family/Parenting, Safety, Growth Opportunities, Self, FUN, Relationships, Health/Wellness/Aging, Spiritual, and your Professional Life.
Great Job. How many items do you have? 12, 36, 72, 96!?
Next to each item, I’d like you to evaluate the urgency of the item in your life. To do this you will need to write one of the following words next to each item: “urgent”, “not-urgent”, “some day” or “I’ll think about it”. Now go and do this to your list. I encourage you to put down the one which springs forward first, that is usually a good indicator of how important it is to you.
Now, any of those that say “urgent” are the ones on your front burner right now. Those that say “not urgent”, or “some day” we can pretty much just mark off the list and let them go out of our mind. Those that say: “I’ll think about it”; let’s just put a month and year on those. So go ahead and put a month when you think you might want to revisit these items. Now they are planned out there in the future and when you get to that date in the future, you may want to repeat our process again.
For all of those items which say: URGENT next to them let’s work the process which I will outline here. This will be a three step process. First we will want to PLAN what it is that we want to do with each item. Second we will want to Work The Plan. And third we will want to Celebrate Our Success.
We also need to be realistic here in our process. How much time do you actually have to give to any one of these projects? My guess is less than 2 hours per week and then those 2 hours will be spent over the precious time you have on the weekend. So realistically you might be able to spend from 2 to 8 hours over this next month working on any one of those items you labeled “URGENT”. The best part about all of this is to get you to really see how much you need or want to work on those items you are holding on the front burner and perhaps even go further and re-evaluate them as to if they are really all that urgent.
Let’s look at the big bigger picture here. If you had just 12 front burner “urgent” items and you could spend only 8 hours a month on one of them at a time; how many of the 12 would you realistically get done in one calendar year?
Here’s the valuable learning: “We spend a great deal of time ruminating on things which we think we need to do, think we want, things we are desperate to change and yet we are no closer to moving one step closer to solving or changing any of them. What happens is we spend valuable time and energy worrying about them, spinning our wheels, we talk a lot about them, and nothing gets done.” It is my experience that when my clients have this “stuck front burner syndrome” (my term); they are really stuck in a mental whirlpool of negativity. When we take the item out of their head and begin to examine it in greater detail, most of the time my client decides to just put it down beside the road and walk away.
Next time we will talk about how to get it done!