The Habit of Completion will simplify your Life

 

The Habit of Completion

Who feels good about checking off something on your list? It seems like a small satisfaction to know you have completed a task. Yet those some acts of completion help motivate us to keep moving forward with goals, projects or just the steps of everyday life. What stops us from completing projects?

Time. Lack of time is what everyone says prevents them from getting things done. I would disagree. I have found with my clients that when drilling down how they spend time, there are things they could stop doing, give away or spend less time on. This change would then gain some valuable time for personal projects.

I challenge you to reflect on how you spend your time and look for areas that you can make a change. Consider how these three steps might help you develop a habit of completion.

 

Step One: Learn How to Say No

Practice saying no to demands on your time and energy. Only say yes to things that make the best use of your time and bring you energy.

 

Step Two: Get Rid of Clutter

Start with a small area and create a clutter free zone- on your desk and in your home. Use this area to work on projects or planning where you are not distracted by other items that might claim your attention. Clean out closets of items you do not use or do not fit and find them a home with someone else who could use these items.

 

Step Three: Chunk it Down

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

 

The habit of completion can be improved when you focus on small steps along the way. Give yourself credit for each step, so you avoid that feeling of overwhelm that prevents you from even starting on a new project.

I am planning on spending the last few days of this year cleaning out files, clearing up loose ends and clearing out the clutter that allows me a fresh start to 2017. Need help? I won’t physically come to your office or home, but I can give you some practical ideas on how and where to start your new habits for 2017.

A responsible brain gets to rest

What being a perfectionist and very responsible person has done for my productivity.

I like to get things done- and feel like I am moving forward with projects and goals- who Doesn’t?

What I have been experimenting with is using an online tool called Todolist- I was afraid it would make things too complicated- instead- I am not searching for pieces of paper where I captured my thoughts last night on what needs to happen this week or today. Like anything else it only works well if you set up things in sequence- for any program- here are my best practice tips

  • Break down every project into individual steps
  • List out every step as an action to be taken
  • Give yourself enough time for each step
  • Not all projects have to go on your schedule- some just sit there until you are ready  to start
  • Only schedule things that you actually have time to do each day-
  • this one is the toughest one for me to learn- I get excited about working on something and want to get it all done right now.

A good reality check for me is to write down how much time I will allot to each task or project

Remember to allow time to exercise, get outside and take brain breaks. This keeps me feeling good about life and not chained to the to do list. So far I am liking my new tool and enjoying the satisfaction of having my stuff all together in one place. That reduces the stress of feeling like you might miss something or forget something,

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That for me is the key – ending each day feeling good about what I got done. I like the feeling of having things sorted and set up for another day. That makes it easy for me to let go of work and move into play. This is really important when you work from home- having a mental process that closes your office door for the day and lets you be refreshed and recharged while still in your home.

Find out what works for you- how do you switch gears? What makes it easy for you to close your work brain down for the day?

De-clutter your brain

De-Clutter your Brain
Do you ever wonder how you will know when your brain is too full to store any more information? For me, it happens when I get stuck with so many small tasks and details swirling around that I cannot decide what to work on where to even begin. We have so much information coming at us on a daily or hourly basis-too much to gather up and keep. If your brain was great at tracking and storing information- you would always remember things when you needed to and not an hour or a day later. Have you ever come home from doing errands and then remembered the one item you forgot to pick up? Of course you have.
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. Your brain is being wasted as a storage unit. It is much better at problem solving and generating ideas than just holding all your thoughts in place until you need them. So here is an idea to de-clutter your brain. Get all that information out of your brain and into the next steps of doing something with it. You can call this a mind dump, a brain clearing activity or just a way to get clarity on all the stuff you think you need to do.
Take the time to sit down and write down every single thing or task that is taking up space in your mind. Keep writing out any idea, thought or action that comes to mind without trying to sort or go into details. The best practice I have found is to write each thing on a separate piece of paper. This allows me to sort them into categories easily as the next step.
Now I sort the list into areas that make sense to me. All time related items go on my schedule as an action or a reminder of an upcoming time related deadline. I have a great idea folder or pile- things that are interesting that I don’t have time to dive into right now. I have a someday maybe pile of things that would be nice to do but are not really important or a priority. Once they go into that pile, I don’t have to keep thinking about them anymore.
My biggest value from this exercise is pulling out projects- any collection of things I am working on which require more than one step- are considered projects. They each get a page or note on my computer- so I can track them and move them along with actions one step at a time.
Once I have a good list of all the projects I have going- it is much easier for me to manage them and I get much better at saying no to new things. This alone saves me from getting overwhelmed.
I give credit to the mind dump idea and many of my organizational systems to David Allen, author of Getting Things Done Fast. I think you need to make any system one that works for you and that you use on a regular basis. I do a mind clearing exercise at least once a week to keep me on track.

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.