Top 7 Ways To Write Your Own Ticket Out Of The Whirlwind Syndrome
By Coach Andy
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What do you do first when you have a mountain of paper staring you in the face that needs to be handled? Why does your dog drop whatever he is doing for a chance at a belly rub or a morsel of food? Why do some people choose to leave a high-powered job after a child is born?
These seemingly random questions have one common thread: the way to reduce stress and feel more balanced in our decisions and our life is to develop a set of priorities or primary areas of focus or responsibilities. Otherwise you will be pulled in every direction possible like the proverbial rag doll. Fido knows instinctively that the morsel of food will be tasty and thus fulfill his priorities of health. We humans know what is truly important in our hearts, but sometimes it gets lost in the daily shuffle. Here are a few ideas and strategies to keep both perspective and control during the thick of the day.
- Write a list of what you would consider to be most important in your life and how you want to spend your time. (Oh, you mean values, I have those already) No, this is different than a value since honesty is a value, but it is too intangible to be labeled a priority. Usually a priority is an action such as exercise this week or relates to a specific relationship such as talk with son for a half hour.
- Answer this question in your journal -- What relationships or responsibilities are most important in my life today and how do I want them to grow? This question can quell a simple argument with your spouse since BICKERING is not on your list of priorities.
- Create a mission/vision/purpose statement. The essence of the words reveals how you would like to live your life and the big picture of what you are here to do. If you don't have one written, you probably have one in your head. The process that Steven Covey and others advocate is just putting it down on paper in a meaningful way. This way the mission becomes the judge of all your actions in life. Watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer is fun, but does it further your mission in life or help you realize your vision -- hardly. Make sure that the mission/vision is real to you and is a good representation of where you are in your life and don't try to impress yourself or others in writing it down.
- Apply your priorities in the thick of the moment. If you are at the beginning of your week and you have a couple kids, deadlines at work, community work, your new year's resolution to lose twenty pounds, and countless other day planner fodder, you could create what I call a priorities list rather than a to-do list. The secret is to decide what you will build your life around for that day or week or month or even year. If you are a marathon runner and you have training early in the morning, you might want to put that at the top of your priority list so you never forget that for the quarter you are focused on marathon training and you need to say "no" tomost other engagements. Is prospecting for new clients more important than serving your existing base? No one can and will answer that question for you and it could change depending on how the rest of your business functions, but at least you will have a concrete basis to base your decision on instead of an amorphous value such as contribution.
- Know the difference between a priority and a value. Your priorities this week could be to spend weekday evenings with your family -- which could draw upon your value of connection, but when two items are put up against each other, the priorities make it clear that leading a PTA meeting around the dinner hour is not going to honor your priorities or what you have decided are your "first things."
- Build around your priorities. Writers like Stephen King clearly prioritize their work around their schedules since he writes 10 pages a day no matter what else is happening around him. Now, this is the clear application of putting the big rocks in first -- the idea that you need to schedule your day around your priorities -- around the "big rocks" of your life such as friends and family time, self-renewal, and so on.
Create a priorities list each week or night. Simply, what is really important in your life. Most people will have the foundational areas such as physical health, wellness, professional growth as well as relationships in their life such as a spouse or parent. If you have this list of priorities, then when your son asks you to play catch out in the yard, you will be able to tell what is most important.
- Group items by project or relationship. Everyone has those pesky paper piles at work, but did you know many times you don't need to do anything with 80 percent of the papers. For example, you could prioritize the papers in order of who sent them or the project that they are regarding. Ask yourself: Does this relate to one of my job responsibilities? First of all, all industry information and updates could be placed in a separate pile and have a day designated for reading. Then the others can be separated and categorized by project or function. This way you deal with the correct things in order and make progress on the major priorities instead of being stuck.
If you are a professional who is losing the battle with time and struggle to remember and achieve your true goals, contact Coach Andy for two free complimentary coaching sessions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to receive Real World Results Toolbox, a monthly newsletter designed to help you achieve your goals? Email us at email@example.com
Coach Andy has helped dozens of people just like you gain back their times and priorities and he is available for both on-site consulting and workshops as well. Fire your guru and hire a coach. Integrate your goals with your actions through advanced time/life management coaching. Visit www.nextlevelcoaching.com for more free resources.
Article Submitted On: October 17, 2000