by Cara Lumen
I’m a great organizer and I was sitting here rearranging my list of things I want to do or should do. I’ve been doing it for maybe 15 minutes. And it occurred to me that if I had spent those 15 minutes on any one thing on my list I might have gotten that one thing done. So was I planning or was I putting it off?
Planning is Good
I’ve finally figured out a way to capture all my ideas in more or less one place and then semi-organize them so I can find them. But If I use a priority list then all sorts of things end up there. If I put the ideas in categories like Marketing, Blog Posts, Blog SEO ideas, etc. I can at least find them when I’m ready to work on them. And that’s what I was doing when this thought occurred to me. I work in Word tables and I was going through the list where I have dumped things all week and started sorting them out. Then of course I stopped to write this post because that was more fun to do than to keep on organizing my list.
Putting off isn’t Good
I’m pretty sure I’m putting off doing anything that is not fun today. It’s a rainy Saturday afternoon, I just finished a really not very good book, I put in some good work this morning by posting another article in my Cornerstone Content and I want to play a bit.
When I was a young girl, my mother went to great pains to tell me lesson disguised as this story about her grandmother. Of all the things my great grandmother had to do each day, the thing she really disliked the most was to clean the chimney lamps of the oil lamps. So she did that first! That was my Mother’s version of urging me to not put things off because I didn’t want to do them. But it’s a pretty good idea. Tackle the difficult things first while you’re fresh and when you complete it your whole day lays open wide before you awaiting all the fun stuff you get to do.
Overwhelm is not a good thing
This list I was organizing is rather long. It contains blog post ideas, and ebooks I want to finish, and marketing things I can do if I want to. One way to move forward is to select three things you are going to do this day and do them. NO more than three. It’s not about writing the whole telecourse, but it can be about firming up the outline, or writing the first class. Break your work down into projects that you can complete in a reasonable length of time and see and feel your forward motion.
Another trick I made up is to write down how long each task will take you. Making three phone calls can set a lot of things in motion and may only take ten minutes. If I want to carve out two hours to write my radio script and schedule it I may do that first thing while my mind is fresh. And because I love to write it’s like giving myself a treat to start my day. Even if you have a list of 15 things for the week, try assigning the amount of time needed to do each of them and I bet you’ll find that you can complete your list in fewer hours than the list alone gave you to believe.
What if that Project Never Makes It To the Top of the List?
I’ve got a home study course that I paid good money for that I have owned for over three months and have not cracked a single feature of yet. On the other hand, during that time I’ve completed another three month course, started a new ebook, and am reading at least an hour a day about blogging. That’s because I want to. That’s because those things were more fun, or more interesting, or more exciting, or more relevant – or easier to do. So I get to look to see how relevant the project that hasn’t gotten done is to the direction I’m currently going. I got the course to work on my platform so I could submit my book proposal to another publisher with a strong platform in place. But I don’t ever want to publish a book. I’m watching my friend Sharon Sayler prepare to have her book “What Your Body Says and How to Master It” for publication in June and it’s a ton of hard work. So the reason I bought the course is no longer a priority.
If a project has fallen by the wayside, check out the direction you are going and see if you are still on track and see if that project is still relevant. In my case I am definitely building my platform with greater blog content on Passionately on Purpose and Magnetic Blog Builders and my weekly radio show. and part of me is thinking I don’t want another idea at the moment – for anything. It’s OK to put things off but not if you really do want to get it done.
So next time you find yourself sorting a list, or sharpening every pencil on your desk, go easy on yourself. If you’re putting something off go put it off with flair and conviction – go do something else – a walk, a trip, a conversation. But it you really do need to get it done, simply start – one step at a time will ultimately get you where you need to go.
© 2010 Cara Lumen