Getting things done.

Updated: Dec 20, 2018

Christmas 2017 - Well, it’s that time of year. The time when we glance over our shoulder and wonder where on earth the year went! Glancing back it is hard to think about all of the good things that have happened, or that we have done. If you’re anything like me, it is so much easier to see all the things I didn’t achieve, all the dreams that didn’t come true, and all the personal and professional issues along the way. It takes more than a glance to really appreciate the good things. Yes, I didn’t achieve everything I wanted to, but I must be careful not to beat myself up too much or I risk not deconstructing the positive and negative, and risk not learning. I need to learn what went right, and what went wrong, so that I learn what works and what doesn’t in getting things done.

What went wrong? Well, I suppose the thing that looks me in the eye every day, is that I didn’t lose weight. Sound familiar? I could beat myself up about this ad nauseam, but unless I consider why I didn’t lose weight like I had promised myself, I will no doubt make the same mistakes this coming year and be sitting here in twelve months’ time, lamenting that I didn’t lose weight. What I did achieve is finally (and I do mean finally!), going to a podiatrist to see if there is anything that can be done for sore feet. It turns out there is, and three weeks later pain levels are declining and getting back to walking is on the horizon for the New Year. That will help me a lot, and next year adding in exercise to my plan, will make losing weight more achievable. Of course, there are many things I have to do in order to be truly successful, but rather than just unthinkingly trying again next year without exploring this year’s performance, I have some new knowledge to help me be successful.

The same goes for my writing. I could just as easily try to write more next year. Sounds like a great plan. However, as Albert Einstein reminds us below, we have to change the way we do things, if we are expecting a different outcome.

This time of year there is a lot of advice about achieving more in 2018. You can search a million pages and find close to that many strategies to help you get more done. You can buy books, diaries, and short courses; all aimed at helping you get more done. I have found many valuable tools to help, but I get waylaid in perfecting the tool, researching how to use the tool more effectively (and making it prettier!) and always end up in the same place… not much further along than the year before.

This time, I am going back to basics. After all, most of the ‘advanced’ tools are built around the basics. Nothing wrong with any of these tools mind you, just that they haven’t worked that well for me. If they work for you – congrats, you have found the system that works for you. Hold on to it, embrace it, and enjoy your achievements.

The following tips are commonly posited to help you achieve more.

1. Wake up earlier – hmm, I already get up at 5am, and getting up at 4 or 430am really doesn't float my boat. I don’t think this one will work for me.

2. Make a list – I am not really a list person, but on reflection, those times I do make a list, I do achieve crossing things off. This one definitely needs closer attention and is getting added to my toolbox.

3. Limit your time – this will work too. I am fairly good at working to timelines and yes, there is truth (for me at least), that give me all day and I will take all day. Give me two hours to do the same thing, and I will take two hours. I like this one and will definitely explore this further, especially as my life is dictated to by bus timetables.

4. Work a little bit faster – hmm. I suppose this one adds on to number 3. Maybe try not to be too generous with the time I allocate myself for something. That might work!

5. Limit distractions – probably the Holy Grail in getting things done! There are so many Facebook groups and writer blogs that I want to follow. I have started to cull these, as you can spend all day and half the night reading posts. I need to do some more work on this as it does eat into getting things done for myself.

6. Ignore the unnecessary – probably builds on number 5, as well as into the bigger picture. There is something to be said about prioritising your life. Pencilling in time for exercise, coffee with friends, Facebook, etc. around family and work commitments. Of course, then you need to draw the line and remember number 3 and give yourself limits. If it isn’t important for your family, your career or your goals, sorry… time to go.

I could go on as there are many more ideas to help us get things done. For example, delegating, grouping tasks together etc. If you think you need some help getting things done, explore some of the ideas and tools available… but maybe it would be a good idea to firstly work out what areas you need help in before you do, or you will spend a lot of time ‘researching’. Secondly, limit the time you spend doing it. If you want to allocate a day, do so, but if you don’t put a limit on it, you could easily research all year, and be no closer to getting your own things done.

Happy holidays wherever in the world you are and enjoy time with your family and friends.

Cheers to getting things done!


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