Only one thing done

One thing done is a good day

I am staying with my parents this week.  What I realize is that staying with them means operating on a different time schedule. The answer to:  how long will it take to do anything?  As long as it takes.

So what I get to learn is that pick one thing to accomplish each day and only one thing. Now that is a different mind set for me.  I typically set up pages of things to accomplish each day. I find the value of working with my parents is that I learn to pick the most important thing for the day.

And that important thing for them is not always what I think is the most important thing.

That forces me to ask myself, “ who do I serve here?” I have slowly learned how to be there for them and not take over their life.  It is a gift to be able to add value to a loved ones’ life and enjoy the things that they want to do.  It is a challenge to balance my ideas of important with their needs.

I start to appreciate the value of letting the little things stay undone. I now understand how much of my do to list can be the little things.  So here is my challenge to you. What would happen if you started each day with a clear idea of your most important goal for the day?

Do you have a good method for sorting the little things out for the important things? Some days this is hard because everything feels urgent and important.

Here are a few questions to help you sort.

What would happen if I did not accomplish this today?

In the big picture of life what is the value of this thing I want to accomplish?

Who does it serve?

Projects

What is a project?  I call a project anything that takes more than one step. A project needs some thought and planning to help it run smoothly for you. I find that the reason my to do list keeps growing is because many things on there are more than one step. So I take one action and then there is always a follow up action. This ongoing list seems endless and I don’t feel like I really get anything done by just using a to do list. What has helped me is to take all the multiple step items off that list and set them up as a project. A project gets it’s own page in my notebook where I can list out all the actions needed to finish it.  Here I feel real progress when I check one off and move to the next item. When I get stuck on a project, I ask myself this question: What is the next action?

Take any project that is too big or overwhelming and break it down into steps.

Start with imagining the finish of the project. What will the final outcome look like for you? How will you feel to complete this project? How important is this to you?  All these questions help you decide what projects are the most important for you to focus on today. List every step you will need to before you even start out on one action.  Do all the thinking up front before you start taking actions. When I get in a hurry, I take any action which keeps me busy. Do I want to keep busy or make the best use of my time? Try this method to keep your next project moving forward instead of side ways.  Decide what five actions you could take to start on the big project and do those. Pick a time period between 20-40 minutes and just commit to spending that amount of time on the project every week or every day.

Brain Clutter

Your brain is not a good storage unit; too many good ideas get lost or come up as a distraction when you are in the middle of something else. What I am most bothered by is the concept that I might never get caught up or that my to-do list is endless. What I have tried in the past is to work harder, longer and faster to catch up. That strategy has not worked for me at all. I end up doing nothing because there is too much to do and I cannot imagine where to even begin. I have finally learned to try a new concept to get out of overwhelm. I slow down. I stop and sit and plan out my actions for the day or week instead of frantically doing things.
Try this first step. De-clutter your brain by writing out on paper all of the things you want to get done in a set time. Just write everything that comes into your brain. It helps to write everything on a separate piece of paper so you can organize them later. The main idea is to empty your brain.
Now the easy part is done. Next take every idea and sort by category. Now what I do is to move all the like items together and make piles, files or action lists based on everything I wrote down. It still can get messy. What I find is that getting it all out of my brain really helps me see what I have as projects and what things are easy to click off of my to do list. Try this and see what works best for you.

What is the best use of my time today?

What is the best use of my time today?

How often do we even ask ourselves that question?  If you are tired of running in circles and getting pulled by the needs of other people in your world, try this exercise for a week.

Ask your self these two questions everyday. If I only get one thing done today, what is the most important thing for today?  What is the highest value use of my talent and skills today?

Setting a clear intention and focus for one day at time will help you accomplish the most important things even in the middle of a chaotic day. The second idea is to focus on the things that you do best and create value for you. My biggest challenge in working from home is to not get caught up in doing small tasks around the house instead of productive work on my business.

It would be easy for me to stay busy all day long; my hardest question at the end of the day was my day busy and spent of high value projects or just busy?

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