There is so much to do!

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It feel likes you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off (literally running between departments and meetings and/or mentally churning with all the projects you’ve got to get done!).

It would be GREAT if you could set priorities – but how in the world do you do that when you can’t even seem to get your thoughts straight?!

This week, we’re going super practical on some tips!

Tip 1: Make and keep a list

At the beginning of each day start out by writing out all you’ve got to accomplish.

And, as more things get added onto your plate, update your list!

Feeling a little sad about the length? That’s ok! It’s better to have all those tasks identified in one place than scattered around your brain.

Tip 2: Mark all your items in order of importance

My guess is that almost everything you are working on is urgent (or you wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed) and you probably feel like everything is important, too.

But, there are only so many hours in a work day and you can only get so much done. So, pick out those 2 or 3 or 5 things that you HAVE to get done today and mark them one color.

Mark those next 5 or 7 times that would be great to get done in a separate color and take all the remaining items and mark them a 3rd color.

Now you’ve got your starting place!

Tip 3: Set time goals for yourself

Look at those items that you have to get done today and think through the following question: if you are at your best and totally focused, how long should each of those take you?

Now, plan out when you’ll work on each of those items and set your goal to be to finish in a specific amount of time.

Zone in, get your coffee in hand, and set your mind to execution mode!

Now – get it done!

More Action Planning for Your Goals

ODL- ImageHow’s your week been? Did you get a chance to try out Wunderlist? What’d you think?

Maybe you wished the app was similar to a weekly planner – if so, we’ve got just what you need!

Let’s check out App #2: Opus Domini Lite

Who tested it?

Spencer- Blog ImageSpencer Haney

  • Project Coordinator for multiple internal, high-visibility projects with dispersed stakeholders
  • Fast learner who loves crossing things off a to-do list and staying ahead of colleagues and clients
  • Husband, Sport Enthusiast, and avid Board Gamer

Why I like it:

  • Works like an easy day- by- day planner, just like your paper one would look!
  • The search function pulls up different buckets to narrow down the results
  • Easy to track tasks with the selectable status icons
  • Syncs with google calendar and you can create new calendar appointments on the app
  • Simple goal tracking, with a fun progress bar to show how far you’ve come
  • Cool “compass” to help you keep tabs on your physical, mental, social, and physical goals
  • Ability to forward tasks to a selected date
  • It’s free!

What could be better?

  • No alarm feature for tasks
  • Not able to share lists or tasks
  • Only available for Apple products

Our bottom line:

Opus Domini Lite provides the chance to keep tabs on goals in all different areas of your life. It is a solid one stop shop for calendar and task productivity.

Try it out—let us know what you think!

Moving Forward on Your Goals

Wunderlist

 

How have your 2015 goals been going? Making some progress? Hoping to make some headway soon?

Sometimes (we’re not pointing fingers here!) it’s hard to remember the goals or deadlines we’ve created for ourselves. It’s also exponentially harder to get things done if we don’t have some accountability.

Want to create that accountability for yourself? We’ve found some apps for that job!

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll review a productivity/tracking app road-tested by one of our teammembers that will help you focus on (and hold yourself accountable to) the goals you’ve created.

Let’s check out App #1: Wunderlist

Who tested it?

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Ashley Clark

  • Program Manager for 5, global, complex projects
  • Lover of learning and thinking strategically
  • Wife, frequent Instagrammer, and Mom of 2 kids (under 2 years)

 

Why I like it?

  • Multiple to-do lists for today, this week, this month, this year, etc.
  • Sharing capabilities for some (or all) of your lists with your friends
  • Simple layout, making it very user friendly
  • Easy task management that includes due dates, reminders, stars, and list groups
  • It’s free!

What could be better?

  • No sub tasks on created tasks
  • No option for reoccurring tasks

Ashley’s bottom-line:

This app is very easy to use for both you and sharing your goals with others!  I found it easy to create to-dos and it was helpful in keeping track of all the different things I have going on in a day!

Stay Tuned: More reviews coming your way next week.

Creating Your Goals

SMARTThis week we have the chance to move into actually creating some of our goals, so let’s jump in!

Grab that list of words you created on how you want to describe 2015. Last week we made sure these were all things that inspire us and not tasks we feel we have to do.

Ok – now choose one of the words you wrote down. Let’s dig a bit- what are three things you would need to accomplish to make that word a reality?

Now that you have a starting point, lets hear from Coach Tim Kincaid, to craft these into actionable goals. Tim is an executive Coach who specializes in helping leaders become more focused, effective, and successful.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.55.13 PM“I like the SMART goal approach, which is a popular model.  Run any goal through the SMART filter.

S = Specific

Vague goals render vague results. Specific means you can articulate the details of the goal:

Ask: What do you want to accomplish?  Why is this important and can you name specific benefits or purposes? Who is involved and who will benefit? Where is the location? Which requirements and constraints are anticipated? 

 

M = Measurable

How you will quantify or measure the outcome.

Ask: When the goal is accomplished, state how you will know – what will be different?

What gets measured gets done!

 

A = Actionable / Attainable

State how the goal will be accomplished and results attained.

Ask: What actions are necessary or possible to accomplish the goal?

 

R = Relevant / Realistic

The goal is directly relevant to desired outcome and is a goal that truly matters. The goal also is realistic. It may cause you to really “stretch” but also has a realistic chance of success.

 

T = Time-bounded

A SMART Goal has specific milestones and deadlines to measure progress.

Ask: By when will specific sub tasks and the final goal be completed?  

T= can also stand for Thrilling – is this goal juicy, scary and exciting? There is lots of momentum to Thrilling goals!

Use the SMART criteria to turn those three ideas into achievable goals.

And, doesn’t the progress feel GREAT?

Creating Inspiring Goals

Inspiration

Do you have your list?

You know… the list we talked about last week with the three words you want to be able to use to describe 2015.

So, now what?

We’ve asked some of our fantastic Coaches for advice on goal setting. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be getting some great tips on how to set (and take action on!) these goals.

To start, Teresa Wallace, a Coach with over 25 years of experience in helping leaders achieve exceptional results, has given us these tips.

Teresa Wallace“In brainstorming about your goals get rid of the “SHOULDs” and “HAVE-TOs”.

“Should do” and “have to do” goals will very quickly start to feel like work and most of us already have enough work. Besides, who really gets excited about things they have to do or should do?

Instead, focus on how you’ll feel when you accomplish your goal.

Satisfied…fulfilled…motivated…happy.

When your goals are inspiring, you’ll be passionate about making progress on them. This passion will keep you moving forward, even when things get challenging.

Try asking yourself the following questions to get started:
• Why is this goal important to me?
• How will my work (or life) change when I reach the goal?
• How will I feel when I reach this goal?

So, this week look at your three words with Teresa’s advice and make sure these are things you are really passionate about.

Looking at where our goals start from is part of the journey to success!

Keeping Your Cool

relax-on-the-beachI know… the picture almost makes you cringe.

Maybe it’s because you are experiencing the cold of winter and you can’t even remember what 50 degrees feels like.

But more likely it’s because of all the impeding deadlines you just realized you need to complete in the next 26 days. I know… I feel the pressure too.

Maybe it is a big project? Or two or three…? Or all those sales goals you are expected to make during the holidays? Or figuring out how to pitch to the last big client you are hoping to land before the end of the year?

How do you keep your cool and relax during it all?

These three suggestions given by Forbes are a great place to start. Particularly insightful, especially for this time of year, is the point that a lot of times stress is not one big event but rather lots of little events that built up over time.

During the month of December when there are holidays, family gatherings, work celebrations, and days off- all of the little things that need to get done can add up rather quickly. Recognizing each pressure and creating lists and goals are a great way to prioritize your daily needs (both personal and professional).

Hang in there!

Stop and Refocus

PHD ComicsDo you feel it yet? I do.

The holidays are so close and yet so far away. They are close enough where the bit of cold weather (or snow) is almost exciting. But far enough away that the routine of every day is still mundane.

The next two months are filled with excitement and family celebrations along with pressure and deadlines.

Sometimes it feels overwhelming to manage it all.

So when you are having one of those days when the deadline feels all too close, your direct report needed to have that conversation with you, and it feels like there just isn’t time to get is all done, here are a couple of suggestions.

Stop.

For just a few minutes.

Get up.

Take a walk.

Go get a cup of coffee.

Look out the window.

Think.

Remember why you do what you do.

Picture the celebration of the season.

Remember the feelings of accomplishment you’ve had before.

Know that you will get it all done.

Sometimes taking a 5 minute break from all the pressure can create the mental space we need to get the job done!