Posts Tagged ‘planning’

Personally, I do not make New Years resolutions. There’s nothing wrong with making resolutions. They make people feel warm and fuzzy. It’s nice to feel warm and fuzzy sometimes. The problem with resolutions is that most people drop them by the end of the month – some people simply state the resolution and never even really try. Do you know many people join gyms in January? A lot!

If you want to get organized this year, whether it is for your home, office, car, purse, or brain, I have a challenge for you.  Write down the resolutions. Post them up somewhere prominent. Put them in your planner. Tell your friends and family.  But don’t just stop with stating the resolution – turn it into a goal and turn that goal into your reality. Set manageable deadlines and milestones.

If you want to “get organized in ’09” stop being so broad. What do you want to organize? Even if you feel like you want to organize “everything,” list what everything means to you – your home, your office, your paperwork, children’s rooms, the garage, the basement, family photos.  List out what you want to do so you have a better picture of what is ahead of you.

You can NOT do everything at once – even if you have nothing else to do with your time. So break down the work. What is your goal for January? The office? Okay, great. So maybe at the top of your January calendar page you write “Goal: Organize my office.”  The next thing you should do is decide what you can do each week to get you closer to that goal. For example:

  • Week 1: Filing all papers so that all 2008 stuff is out of the way and I have fresh files for 2009
  • Week 2: Organizing all office supplies and making sure I purchase the appropriate ones so I have everything I need.
  • Week 3: Getting everything out of the office that does not belong in the office
  • Week 4: Rearrange the furniture, have a cleaning crew come through, creating a marketing plan for 2008, etc.

While “organize everything” and “organize my office” are broad goals, these narrowed down sub-goals are practical, achievable goals. Of course, you can break it down further. For week one, a daily goal could be to spend 15, 30, or 60 minutes a day filing (based on how much paper you have!). Of perhaps your goal is to schedule someone to come in during week one and do the filing for you. Perhaps you’ll hire a Professional Organizer. Maybe during week 4 you will with a feng shui expert, a cleaning crew, an interior designer, and a marketing consultant who can have you create a system for marketing your business.

This same formula can work for every area you want to organize. Just scale it appropriately. Maybe you spend a week cleaning out your car and set daily goals: toss all trash, buy a receipt organizer, buy small baskets for the car and talk to the kids about only having as much stuff in the car as will fit in the basket. When everyone gets out of the car, they put all of their stuff into their container. Purchase a mobile organizer that holds notebooks, pens, calculators, etc.

If you want to achieve your goals, whatever they might be, you have to do more than simply stating them. Take action. Start now while the calendar is fresh and there is optimism in the air. If you start planning now and work toward your goals, you will achieve great success this year.

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Plan your day before you start reading emails or checking voicemails. Take 10 to 20 minutes at the start of your work day to figure out what you need to get done and by when. Set priorities and realistic goals. Make sure the things at the top of your to-do list for the day are things that absolutely need to get done today. Work your way down the list with things that can be done at a later date toward the bottom of the list.

Make sure the items you add to your list contribute to your overall project or business goals. Planning your day before you get inundated with emails and voicemails is a great way to establish some direction and lay a foundation for the day. Even better – if you can make the list the evening before, you’ll be ready to get right to work as soon as you arrive.

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My last post gave you some information on how to use your values or commitments to figure out what your priorities and next actions are. But maybe you have to take a step back and figure out what your commitments are.

I’m involved in various projects and organizations and sometimes it’s good for me to map everything out so I can see exactly what’s going on. If you are like me, you have a lot to think about, and if you tried to list everything out in your head…well, you might skip a few things.

I’ve been aware of the process of mind mapping for a while, but recently a colleague of mine mentioned some software she came upon called FreeMind. It’s a fantastic free mind mapping software. What is mind mapping? Well, I am no expert on the subject, but for me, mind mapping is a way to get everything out of my head on a certain subject so that I can track what’s going on. I called my first mind map “commitments,” and listed everything I could think of that I was committed to – my business, my networking group, a class I am currently taking. Each one of those commitments had subcategories. For my business, some subcategories were advertising, this blog, client relations, administrative work. Using the FreeMind software helped me to work out the details of each commitment I have. It also made me realize – boy, I need to cut back on my commitments!

Try a little mind mapping of your own. Mind maps can be used for all kinds of things – planning meetings, book reports, speech outlines, plotting story ideas, and general note taking. You can do it on paper in list form or in brainstorm form, whatever works for your brain. Or you can click on the link to the list of available mind mapping software I have included below. You can also visit this Mindmaps Directory for a list of 100s of examples of mind maps. Also, the Innovation Network has a great eight step plan to help you understand and get started with mind maps.

For more information on mind mapping:

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