by Cara Lumen
Do you ever get to the end of the day and feel you have gotten nothing done? Has a month gone by and you’re no further along on a project than you were? I’ll bet you can also list a zillion little things that you did that pulled you off target. Would you like a way to get more done in less time? Of even just get more done – period?
Look for the big picture
First of all you have to have a big picture. What is the over-all goal here? For instance, one of the things I set out to do beginning last fall was to strengthen my platform. I bought a great home study course and then didn’t start it. So I was beating myself up for that. Until I realized that my big objective was to strengthen my platform and I had 1) taken a blog course, 2) upleveled the number of blog posts to five a week, and 3) had subscribed to five blogs that will teach me more about blogging. And I had 4) invested in an SEO program to make the post stronger. And I 5) kept doing little things that the bloggers suggested I do. Oh yes, and I was having a great time with my radio show. (6) So guess what – I am working to improve my platform. I just haven’t taken that one particular course yet. I felt like improving my platform was going to ask me to confront some of the things that are not so easy for me and it still may be the case, but meanwhile, I’ve found my own way toward my goal and until I saw it as part of my big picture, I didn’t realize I had accomplished so much toward making it happen.
Know what your big objective is. Then stay open to how you reach it.
Chose and focus
Stay on target. Keep focused on what your big objective is and continue making choices around it. There are always exciting new ideas showing up but if I have decided in a thoughtful moment that my objective is to build my platform, then I must keep on making choices that further that goal. Leo Babauta in his book Zen Habits suggests we create only one significant work a year. Wouldn’t that be wonderful – just one significant work a year. Significant is the operative word here. Choose something that will make a difference in your business, in the lives of others, in the world. How would you feel if you could make that happen?
Leo goes on to suggest that we break that significant work into smaller projects. Life and business are really about doing one project at a time. Think how great it will feel to see the beginning, middle and end of a project. And the third suggestion in Zen Habits is to choose three tasks every day that will help you complete the project and do them – but only during your working hours.
Create uninterrupted attention spans
What do you consider your “working hours?” I know that when I sit down to write, time is suspended, I am totally engaged, I am excited and inspired and sometimes amazed at what shows up. Those are magical times and I don’t want them interrupted. I’m finding that during my morning meditation an idea often begins to form and if I move from there to my desk and start writing it is a continuation of my inner unfolding process. I don’t look at email, I don’t look at my action list, I just immerse myself in my thoughts and write. I had a friend with young children who got up at 5 AM to write her play in order to have uninterrupted inspiration time.
When is your best working time? Are you a first-thing-in-the-morning person? Then don’t schedule any meetings or phone calls then. Guard those times as sacred – the times you can focus on your significant work, the times you can contemplate your business goals and write them down, the time you can work on that information product that wants to go out and serve the world. It can be one hour or three. Let’s call it your Significant Work time. It’s a time when you only work on the projects that help complete your Significant Work.
Do not multitask. When you do several things at one time you are not truly enjoying any of the things you are doing. It’s very satisfying to take time to organize your desk but if you do it while on the phone with a friend, both your friend and you are short changed from the pleasure of total engagement. Whatever you are doing, do it will total absorption. Then you will be able to savor its completion.
Before you end your work day, make a short list of what you accomplished and how you feel about it. “I added two more exercises to my Idea Generator book and I’m very excited about how it is developing.” “I had a phone call from Voice of America Radio asking if I want to host a radio show there. It really stretched my vision of what is possible and opened up a lot of ideas and possibilities for me.” You get the picture, a short period of time to count your blessings if you will. To become aware of the signs and signals and opportunities that were provided and more importantly, what you felt about them and which ideas or conversations you may want to act upon. I have actually created a Magnetic Momentum Builder form that I use on a weekly bases to record these experiences and accomplishments. It helps me see that I am progressing and it also lets me decide how I feel about what I have done – or not yet done.
Choose a Significant Work, divide it into projects and only choose to do things that move those projects forward. When you are totally absorbed and engaged, the work is easily accomplished and time ceases to exist. And you will find you have gotten more done in less time.
© 2010 Cara Lumen
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