It’s at that time of year for me where I start to reflect on what I’ve done this year. The door closes after boxing day, we get a few stolen moments and a little time to ourselves……and the creative bug comes back. As a part time blogger and cook I’ve started to think about what I’d like to achieve next year and it led me to think about the advice that I’d like to see and how I might structure myself for success!
Your Only Human – Take Time
Forgive yourself for what you didn’t achieve last year and give yourself a pat on the back for the things you did. Also recognise or acknowledge that you most likely helped others to achieve through out the year. At the tail end of November my son got a bronze in a local swimming gala. At the age of 8 he stood on an actual commonwealth podium from the 2014 games. This was not only his achievement, his teachers but also his mums for taking the time to get him to class after school in amongst the errands.
I was there for the moment he swam in his heat and won. Also for the moment when he took to the pool and swam by himself because of a slight mess up with the race. The smile on his face, this was one of life’s precious moments for me…..and it’s important to take these moments when you can.
Sharpen Your Saw
Relax and take time out. Remember to live and enjoy the things around you. Go to an art gallery, visit the cinema or simply take a walk. Even maybe taken a different route to work. The lost art of free time struck a cord with me in that it’s important to plan free time.
Join a community and get involved. I was given a huge boost mentally by taking part in the blogging101 course ran by the daily post. The free course was great for creating momentum, a schedule around activity, genuine feedback and some good old fashioned advice
Avoid Rabbit Holes
This is the process of following link after link. I find following rabbit trails too easy, going from site to site. I find lots of good stuff, and usually end up adding to my list of things I want to do and read. A bit like finding new recipes when I already have some to try! It’s easy to procrastinate and follow too many links. Set yourself a time limit and realise when your doing this.
Not the same as procrastination…..this is about visualising your goal. Think about what it is you want to achieve and picture yourself succeeding. The telegraph wrote an article related to Sports Visualisation and explores this further.
Getting Things Done
Discipline is key here and what you do gets done!
Find yourself a process and stick to it. David Allen has defined the GTD process. If you haven’t heard of GTD then for me this guy is the most widely known author of Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity.
There are a few GTD videos on YouTube. This one is a TED talk as well…..be careful you might go down a few rabbit holes with this!
Got a Tablet?
I use OneNote and just recently took Wunderlist under my wing (after trying Evernote, Remember The Milk and Toodledo). There are quite a few productivity tools out there, my key advice is to choose and give it a good shot, stick with it and your process……saying that if it isn’t working at the same time don’t be afraid to swap and try something new (just to sit on the fence). The key thing is that it’s you who gets things done……not the app! The app is purely a mechanism to organise and group your thoughts along with your process. Discipline is key here!
Easier said than done, juggling is hard work. WE all find time for the things that must be done. Treat your being organised as a priority. Book a regular slot and stick to it in your diary where you choose and stick to just organising yourself. That diary you’ve just bought isn’t going to organise itself. Make it work for you and put the things that are important to you into the regular slots. Can’t find a diary that works for you…..create or tweak your own. I use CalendarPedia a great free calendar resource. I take the excel version and tweak to suite my style of working. I download the school term calendars and fill those into the spreadsheet as well.
Sort it out! There is a great list of tasks here Blogging 101 – Zero to Hero. You could build a plan to achieving this list….they all take time so be realistic. I’ve definitely not mastered this! I find myself less proficient throughout the summer as I take to the outdoors at the weekend. The key message to myself in this space is to take a few moments to plan out the schedule…….take notice of the getting organised section and stick to it.
Have a great new year! Remember for all the organising and planning that you do there will be curve balls, these can be both good and bad. It’s how you choose to deal with them that’s important. One thing is pretty certain, there are 24 hours in the day….and you do choose how to spend them……I’m off to get beaten by the boys on the xbox again!