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?

The cost of clutter

What is the true cost of clutter? I am designing a course to help people get rid of their brain and physical clutter. I have felt the burden of having too much stuff in my house. Things that I do not use, might not work, might not fit anymore- all take up physical space in my home. It can feel crowded in some rooms. The paper piles, , reference stuff that whole section of paper information that I save: can take up energetic space- do I really need to keep all that stuff- do I know what is in those piles or files? Are they useful to me? Can I find something when i need it? I have started on the easy things- for me- clothes- what really fits- looks good and is useful. It feels really good to sort through and give away things that someone else could wear instead of taking up space in my closet. This feels like the right time of year to make thoughtful decisions on what is useful in my life and what I need to let go of. More to come

Faster and Faster-can you find your turn?

How do you know that you are stuck in over whelm? I know when it happens to me. I shut down. I cannot make a decision, no matter how small. Every project seems to be too big to start and I don’t know how to decide which project needs my attention first.
Overwhelm feels like a NJ roundabout where you keep missing your turn so you just drive faster because none of the choices seem like the right one.
The big question is how to you get out of overwhelm and stop driving in circles? Step One- recognize your early warning signals that you are headed towards overwhelm. Define what that means and feels like for you. Step Two- stop everything and step back to look at the big picture. It is easy to get caught up in busy and moving fast without stopping to plan first. The stop and plan part will help you make decisions ahead of time on where to best spend your time. What if you only had time to get one thing done today? Would you know what thing was the most important? Or would you fill that time with busy work, instead of high priority work. Step Three- Be realistic about what you really can accomplish every day. Keep your do to lists short and prioritize.
When I am at my best, I spend two hours of the week planning. Just thinking and organizing my time for the week ahead. I like to say I only think hard once a week. Then I can just follow the action steps and work through the list as time allows. My other best process is breaking down projects into smaller steps. I can see progress when I can accomplish one step at a time. Moving forward happens one step and one day at a time. It feels good to pay attention to that progress and be grateful for what I did accomplish everyday instead of what I did not.

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.