|Organize for Success® Turns 10|
To kick things off, let's start with 10 of my favorite mantras:
10. You are in business to make a living AND to make a difference. While I've always felt the power of this sentiment in creating my work-life integration principles, I credit the talented Olalah Njenga with giving me the right words to verbalize my belief. Only when we honor what really matters in all elements of life (work, home, community and ourselves) can we truly feel fulfilled, making a living while making a difference, and owning my own business better enables success with that.
9. Never underestimate your influence on others. As Maya Angelou is famous for sharing, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." When what you say and what you do makes another person feel good, it's amazing what action that will fuel.
8. Practice the power of one. Although Three Dog Night might've wanted folks to believe one is the loneliest number, I believe wholeheartedly that one is the most powerful number for productivity. When each of us has one calendar for personal and professional, one running data dump of all tasks that funnels into our daily to-do list, one address book for all contacts' information, one set of naming conventions for all files, one place for all the information to be remembered, one weekly strategy session and one daily wrap-up, we are more likely to keep our information up-to-date, access what's needed efficiently when needed, not double-book ourselves and ensure things don't fall through the cracks.
7. A place for everything, and everything in its place. Once something has a designated home, it is more likely to return there after being used, each and every time; plus, when you need it, you can more quickly locate exactly what you need. Piles often arise from not knowing what to do with what is being accumulated; when everything has a home, it limits delays from decision-making.
6. Keep like with like. When similar or related items are grouped near each other, it makes finding items much simpler for yourself as well as others using the same place. For example, store the tape, scissors and stapler in one drawer together. However, don't stop there; group together similar or related actions to more efficiently power through getting things done.
5. Done is better than perfect so focus on good enough. Perfectionism is frequently the cause of procrastination as the completion of tasks is delayed for "the right time" or projects drag on endlessly as we aim to get them done "just right". Often, others' expectations of the finished product are not at the level of our own, which is particularly important when preparing projects for our committees, clients, bosses and households. It can be difficult to manage our time investments so we don't care more about a project that those for whom we are doing the work.
4. Don't prioritize your schedule; schedule your priorities. Over time, priorities will shift, which makes it imperative to know what are our highest priorities from day to day or moment to moment; then, once we are clear on what matters most, it is up to each of us to shuffle our commitments around so that our calendars reflect what is most important. Each day, we have 1,440 minutes, and we must manage how we invest our limited time so each top priority earns a portion of our available time.
3. Burnout results from a misalignment between your goals and your daily actions. According to Dictionary.com, burnout is "fatigue, frustration or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork or intense activity". Although the emphasis we place on each area will fluctuate, we all have goals in the areas of work, home, community and ourselves; investing our time in actions that don't reflect our current priorities or drive us toward achieving today's goals will be felt as stress and overwork. When something must be done but not necessarily by me, it is my responsibility to find someone or something to whom I can delegate its completion; when something needs to be done later or not at all, I must consider delaying or deleting it. We all must do what we can to keep our daily actions aligned with what will fuel desired results.
2. Each day is a new beginning; end each day with the next in mind. If I get off track investing my time in what matters most, it's okay; I can start anew the next day. Still, whatever I can do at the end of each day to properly prepare for investing the next day's time in what matters most will make my success much easier. At the end of each day, I make sure I review the current day's successes, documenting that for which I'm grateful as well as fine-tuning the next day's game plan for time commitments, tasks needing attention, what I'll wear and what I'll eat.
1. Our brains are meant for thinking, not remembering, so document what you need to recall. Whether that thinking is strategic or creative, it requires full commitment from all my brain cells. Therefore, anything I must remember (to-do lists, reference materials, checklists, research) needs to be dumped out of my brain and culled together in some solution, whether paper or electronic. Personally, I like culling all the information together in my Evernote account, but finding whichever solution works best for your unique personality and work style matters most.
Bonus - A day in which I didn't learn something new is a wasted day. My goal in life is to leave the world a better place than I found it, but that's not possible without continual learning. No matter how big or small the lesson of the day, there's always something more I can learn. There are many sources for growth and learning: conversations with others, watching how people respond to what's happening around us, reading and so much more. Innovation surrounds us, but we must pay attention to it all.
What sorts of mantras do you have regularly floating through your thoughts? Are there any new mantras you can adopt to better achieve your desired results?