August 25, 2019

Do One Big Thing This Month

Excuse me, do you happen to know what happened to January?

I don’t know about you, but for me, last month passed at a frighteningly brisk clip.  Here we are, four days into February.

Have you written down your goals for 2011?  If you haven’t, it’s not too late to start.  Decide what you want to accomplish in terms of your business, social life, family life, fitness, education, plus any category I’ve missed–and work backwards.  That is, write your yearly goals (by category, if you have a bunch of them,) and then break them down into:

  • quarterly goals
  • monthly goals
  • weekly goals
  • daily goals  

That’s a whole lot of goal-writing, and a lot of to-do’s.  But if you really want to make things happen this year, this is the process.

I’m all about goal setting, obviously, but I’m also about setting reasonable deadlines.  With this in mind, I’d like to encourage you to choose One Big Thing to accomplish this month.  It doesn’t need to be huge, but it should be something that you’ve been putting off for awhile, or even better, a goal that will move your business or personal life forward in a significant way.

So what’s it going to be?  I’m going to put some new content on this site, something I meant to do before New Year’s.  Does that sound like a good goal? It’s ok, but this is even better: 

  • I’m going to detail my Productivity Coaching services on this site, and
  • I’m going to (finally) add my free, download-able offering for those who sign up for my newsletter / list.

Do you get the idea? The more specific the goal, the better your chances of actually doing it.  And finally, declare what you’re going to do, as I just did.  This will keep you accountable.

You better believe I’m going to get my One Big Thing done, since I just said I would.  And if I don’t, please call me out.

So, who’s in? Declare your One Big Thing for February, and make it happen!

It’s January…Time to G.O.!

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and that you’re rested (yeah right) and ready for all that 2011 has to offer.

This is one of the busiest times of the year for me and my fellow organizers. The phone has been buzzing with lots of people looking to make good on a resolution or two. January is the perfect time to get organized–a fresh start et al. It makes perfect sense, then, that January is officially Get Organized Month. Have you be been bitten by the organizing bug yet? Have you felt the urge to weed through your filing cabinet, or at the very least, your sock drawer? (On New Year’s Day, my husband organized his closet with absolutely no prodding or input from me.  Fabulous!)

What area would you like to improve?  Offices, closets, dresser drawers, toy chests, and garages are the usual suspects.  If you’re a business owner, you may be looking to tighten up your financial record keeping, or finally write that operations manual.  No matter what you’re looking to organize, you’re more likely to succeed if you make a plan.  Rather than vaguely declaring, “I’m going to get organized this year…” put your goal on paper.  Be specific.  Then, write down all the steps you’ll need to accomplish the task.

In the spirit of G.O. Month, here are ten tips to get you started: 

  1. Write down your organizing goals.
  2. If you have a lot to tackle, for example “My Entire House,” break it down room by room.
  3. Identify any technical or fix-it issues: broken closet light, sticky file drawer etc.  If you can’t fix it, find someone who can.
  4.  Schedule organizing sessions in your calendar.
  5. Find an accountability buddy:  “I’m going to clean out my office on Sunday; please call me to make sure that I’ve started!”
  6. Gather the supplies you”ll need for your session, and get going.
  7. Remember that things will look chaotic for awhile.  Keep at it.
  8. Schedule time for clean up.
  9. Finish the job, no matter how many sessions it takes.
  10. To accomplish multiple organizing goals on a busy schedule, aim to finish one project per month.

Get ready…get set…G.O!

Thinking on Paper

It’s 6:15 on a Thursday evening.  I’m parked on the soccer field in my battered folding chair.  This is my sixth kid-activity of the week, four more to go.  (A few overlap, mercifully.)  As a busy soccer/flag football/dance mom, I spend several hours per week parked on various fields.  Since I’m also running a business, I grasp whatever pockets of productive time I can, otherwise nothing gets done.  (Except the laundry—all those uniforms.  But laundry won’t grow my business.)

I always bring a notebook and pen to these practices.   (I could bring a laptop, but I’m not that parent.  And yes, I pay attention during games.  Strictly eyes on the field.)  I use this down time to strategize, to brainstorm, and to create.  Writing keeps me on track towards making good on my goals.  It can do the same for you.      

Let’s say you have an idea swirling in your head, keeping you up at night.  It may be something as grand as inventing the next it-product, or more modest in scale, like designing your logo.  So you’ve got this idea, great.  That’s a start. Ideas are the life force of our creativity, after all.  But, unless you actually act on your ideas, you may as well keep them swirling in that head of yours.

So how do you begin to bring some clarity to your vision? How do you wrangle those whispers of ambition, those fragmented goals, and shape them into an action plan? By thinking on paper.

Brainstorming. Brain dumping.  Mind mapping.  These are variations of the same process, basically pouring all of your thoughts on paper, no matter how jumbled.  Doing so will help you a) clarify what you want to accomplish, and b) create a road map to get you there.

 Imagine you want to go into business as a professional dog walker.  You’re excited—you love dogs, and you’re thrilled at the prospect of setting your own hours, and answering only to your four-legged clients.  This is, however, your first entrepreneurial venture.  Where to start?

Grab a piece of paper, and do an interrogative brain dump.  That is, write down every question you can think of that relates to starting a dog walking business.  Write quickly.  It’s ok to be messy.  You may come up with questions like these:

  • Do I need a business license?
  • Where do I get one?
  • Will I need insurance?  What kind?
  • How many professional dog walkers are in my geographic area?
  • What do they charge?
  • Do I need any training or certification?
  • How do I market my services?

And so on.

Once you’ve finished brain dumping, the next step is to group the questions into general categories, such as

  • Business start up requirements
  • Monthly overhead
  • Market research
  • Marketing

 And so on.  Once you have identified the categories, continue the process by brainstorming all the ways you might go about finding answers to your questions.  For example:

Business Start Up Requirements

Do I need a business license?

  1. Call City Hall’s Business Division
  2. Ask local friends who own businesses
  3.  Do an online search

Or,

Marketing

How will I market my business?

  1. Business cards
  2. Flyers at dog parks
  3.  Website
  4. Referrals
  5. Social Media   

Keep going, until you have several possible solutions to all of those questions you came up with.  You have just created an action plan.  This is how your idea–your dream–gets out of your head, and starts to become a reality.       

There’s something incredibly powerful about thinking on paper.  It’s how “I’m thinking about” turns into “I’m going to.”

Go ahead.  Grab a piece of paper and see where it takes you.