Today I worked with a client who has struggled to fully utilize the Today and Not Today tool. We sat down and looked over how she was attempting to plan out her day using this tool.
The items on her “to do” list included:
Insure that the loan officers are delivering quality customer service.
Monitor the training of new employees to make sure they are properly oriented on the company policy in terms of customer service.
Manage the customer service call center.
It might be occurring to you as it did to us that the items on her list require systems and structure in order to complete them. These items are big, broad and strategic.
The Today and Not Today tool is NOT designed to organize your mind around large strategic projects. It is designed to organize the tasks floating around in your head that need to get accomplished one-at-a-time.
Today and Not Today can indeed support you when working to accomplish a larger strategic project IF you take time to break your project down into smaller bite-size chunks – tasks.
And that is the key to accomplishing large projects and goals – You must first break these into work packages and corresponding tasks.
Today and Not Today is all about helping you stay focused on your priority tasks each day.
Only use it to sort through your small, bite sized tasks.
When you are focused on big goals and larger projects take time to break those down into do-able steps before you add them to your daily planning.
Two years ago I decided to return to competitive sports. I started training for sprint triathlons. And somewhere in a lucid moment when my partner was within earshot I stated, “One of the benefits for all this training is that I want to be fit enough to pick up and do a triathlon at any time.”
I spent from January 1st 2010 to September 25th 2010 training for my first event. I had to overcome the fact that I didn’t know how to swim beyond the doggie paddle. I had to face off with the fact that I have a panic evoking fear of drowning. I didn’t own a decent mountain bike and I’d had not competed in sports for some time. During this year when my birthday cake would read “51” I learned how to push myself both mentally and physically in ways I’ve never dreamed. I also learned how to take care of myself in ways that included: better nutrition, more mindful rest, smarter recovery measures, etc.
The race came and went. I did better than expected: I took 2nd in my age group. During the winter I stayed conscious to maintain some sort of base. When April 2011 came, I completed a second sprint tri. Afterward I felt whole and healthy. Thank goodness I’d kept up some sort of regime because when spring started to poke its head out I discovered this race with only two weeks to purchase a road-bike and ramp up preparation. I placed 2nd overall in women. That left me extremely satisfied and grateful. And, I said so to my partner.
She floored me with her response, “Isn’t that what you said you wanted to do? Didn’t you intend to be able to just go do a sprint like you did today?”
I had forgotten.
Her words went “thud” in the bottom of my memory bank.
I had been so focused on all the things I had to do in order to meet my goal that I had forgotten to keep an eye on one of the most desired outcomes. Taking time to acknowledge this outcome increased my joy and confidence in that moment and stored fuel for future big hairy goals I’m sure I’ll be setting.
It is powerful when we speak out loud what we truly desire. It is equally important to do so in the moment when the desire bubbles up fresh and clear.
So what about you? Is there something you are working toward? Have you shared all of the reasons behind your goal? If not, don’t wait. The notice “this is the right time” doesn’t automatically pop up on your calendar. Speak up. Say what you want more than once if you’d like and in front of those who care enough to be your memory bank. Just say it!
Many people utilize list making as part of their time and focus management strategy. Lists are great tools. Making one can relieve an over-burdened mind. However, there is an inherent flaw associated with list-making. Those things that come out of our heads and onto the list typically fall out in random order. And a list by nature is hierarchical. Therefore those items that dump out first and land at the top of a list have a built-in association with higher importance no matter if they deserve it or not.
One way to iron out the flaw when making your “to-do-list” is to make it first on sticky notes. Limit one item per note. Then when everything is out of your head, put them into the sequence that makes the most sense to you.
Another way to outsmart the flaw of lists is to use my iPhone app as shown in the movie below.
I have come to understand as you may have as well that there is never enough time to do everything. However, there always seems to be enough time to focus on the most critical things. This is one of the reasons I have created the Today and Not Today i-phone app. It is the reason that we created this animation about using a planner. This concept is the reason that no matter who I coach and why they come to me for coaching, we usually end up working on some element of time management.
Time is part of life. Managing it well usually equates to success. So this month I’m going to share the concepts I apply to stay on top of all the stuff I have to do. I hope this handful of items helps you as well:
1) Learn what “enough” means to you. Just as I mentioned above, we don’t have time for everything yet we generally have time for the critical few things that need to be done each day or each week. Focus on those things first and foremost.
2) Plan. I usually take five to ten minutes each morning to plan out the strategy for my day. I don’t use elaborate plans. I simply determine what has to be completed today or else. I prioritize these few items and make time in my schedule to get them completed.
3) Know the difference between planning and scheduling. You’ll need both. Planning means you outline what needs to be done. Scheduling means you know when things are to happen and when tasks are going to get done.
4) Stick with your plan. I admit that I only plan well about four of five days out of each week and I only plan well about 40 of 52 weeks a year. However, I get the most important things done each year because I have enough discipline to stick to my plans about 80% of the time.
There you have it. I’d love to learn what your best time management practices are. Please feel free to post your thoughts here.
After six years of experimenting and tweaking and after six years of learning better how to help myself and my creative clients stay focused, the Today and Not Today app. is here!
That’s right. We just released our first i-phone app. This tool is designed to support you as you cut through the chaos – that mass of I have to do’s floating around in your head competing for your attention.
The key concept here is:
We will never, ever, ever have enough time to do everything on our list. However, we will almost always have enough time to do the few critical items that must be completed today. The trick is to clarify what things can wait and what things cannot.
If you want assistance in cutting through the chaos, Today and Not Today is for you. Download it on any i-pad, i-touch, or i-phone.
Procrastination impedes every single person. You’ve done it and you know it. When we putter instead of getting down to the important things, we are procrastinating. Its okay to admit that you’ve lost yourself in e-mail or on Facebook when you would have been better served making a phone call or finishing up a report. Think about it, do you avoid the unimportant things? Most of us do not.
We usually avoid the significant tasks because they may seem unpleasant, difficult or so important that we get scared about how we’ll measure up to them. So how do we escape postponing those things that give us satisfying results?
Good question. Here are three helpful hints:
First – Admit that you procrastinate. Own it. We all do it. You do it. Stop rationalizing that you don’t.
Second – Charge at the most difficult task on your list each day. Take it out first.
Third – Offer yourself a reward. That’s right! Treat yourself when you complete the hard things.
If these hints are useful, consider sending this or the corresponding video presentation to a friend.
Growing Human Capacity
I believe in human potential. I thrive at building and expanding the personal and professional capacity of both clients and those within my circle of influence. Sometimes managing our potential is as important as managing our time.
What if human potential is one of the top three most vital resources required for the regeneration of abundance, peace and shared well-being upon our planet? I’m exploring the viability of this question one human being at a time.
Visit this link for an idea on how to better remain a human being versus turning into a human doing: