Some people assume that since I’m a professional organizer I have many sophisticated systems for keeping my life in order. As I observed myself capturing “to do” items yesterday I smiled to myself and thought, “Oh, if they could see me now!”
My current system for making note of action items that I want to be sure not to lose sight of is anything but sophisticated! I always carry a small pad around with me. When I promise to do something for someone or a task I need to do pops into my head, I jot it down on a page in that pad. I then rip out the page and stuff it in my purse. Because loose papers in my purse almost always catch my eye and bug me, they get removed from my purse when I get into my car. The items that will be done from the car stay in a section of my console where I put reminder notes. The others are put in my lunch bag that gets emptied out every night. From the kitchen counter my notes are then transported to my desk where I take action on them.
Now, this system would not work if I had a purse full of all kinds of loose paper. Those reminder notes would just join the sea of paper and be lost. It would also not work if I weren’t pretty systematic about regularly clearing papers from my purse on a daily basis. It also helps that I am visually hypersensitive, meaning I see EVERYTHING, particularly things that are out of place! Those loose papers really bug me which spurs me to move them along to where they can be acted on.
The systems you use to keep track of the multitude of tasks you must do to keep your life running smoothly don’t have to cost much nor do they have to be sophisticated. What’s most important is that they work! For now my floating reminder system works. How do you keep track of the action items that come at you as you move through your day?
One reason we get stuck and fail to make positive progress toward our goals is because it’s so easy to get off track and be totally unconscious of the fact that we jumped the rails. For example, I recently was working effectively and efficiently in my office when I encountered a computer problem. Because I hate to have anything not working properly, I began trying to solve the problem. You know how that goes. It’s like going down a rabbit hole–many twists and turns, much time wasted, and still no resolution.
At some point along the way it hit me that I was wasting valuable time and not making progress on tasks I wanted to get done that day. When I weighed my options I realized solving that problem at that moment was a choice, not an imperative. With that hit of awareness I was able to change course and get back to work. Had I remained unconscious about the time I was wasting, as many people do, especially people with ADD/ADHD, I could have lost the opportunity to get an enormous amount of important work done.
If you are prone to such side trips, getting caught up in things that are not top priority, becoming aware of when you are off track and aware of the ways you can be lured off track is imperative if you want to be productive. I got back on track because I have a good time sense and a strong drive to accomplish my goals. My sense that time was slipping away as I worked to fix the computer problem got my attention and made it possible for me to pause long enough to become aware of the choice I had regarding the focus of my efforts.
Another way to create the opportunity for awareness is to set an alarm on your phone to go off every 20 to 30 minutes. When the alarm sounds, consider it a cue to pause and notice whether or not you are doing priority work. If you’re off track you can then shift back to work that will make it possible for you to reach your goals.
A lack of awareness that you are drifting away from priority work leads to being stalled in your efforts to move forward and eventually to being stuck. You choose. Stalled and stuck or aware and moving toward your goals!
A great way to develop awareness of priorities, of what derails your efforts to be productive, and ways to keep yourself on track and moving forward is to work in partnership with a coach. For a limited time I am offering the opportunity to experience the benefits of coaching with micro-coaching at a very reduced rate, three 30 minute sessions for $75. If you want to get unstuck and move toward completion of a task or make progress to achieve a goal, email me at debbie@RockScissorsPaperInstitute.com to let me know of your interest in coaching.
At the risk of putting a few of you off because of the religious reference, I offer you a lovely poem I found among my mother’s papers when I was clearing out her desk. It’s so interesting that these words were a comfort to my mother, that she too probably struggled with the never ending pull of things to do. Of course, she was a mother and that comes with the territory!
I hope you find these words give you permission to take your foot off the gas pedal and take time for more pauses, quiet and reflection. The best inspiration and guidance comes through in the quiet moments!
Slow me down, Lord.
Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, amid the the confusion of the day, the calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tension of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of the singing streams that live in my memory.
Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art of taking minute vacations–slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend,
to pat a dog, to read a few lines from a good book.
Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to sink my roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring values
that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.
©1992 Creators Syndicate
Being stuck can show up in many ways. Following are some common stuck scenarios I’ve encountered in my 15+ years working as a professional organizer:
One option for getting unstuck is to partner with a trained coach. Coaching is a learning/action process for helping people take action to meet their goals. When people are stuck they have difficulty identifying their blocks to taking action. Their thinking can keep them paralyzed and unable to plan the steps out of their stuck spot. Addressing what seem to be insurmountable challenges with a caring, knowledgeable partner can transform an overwhelming challenge into a shared adventure of learning, awareness and action.
Are you stuck? Are you curious about whether coaching could help, but don’t really get what it’s all about? Consider micro-coaching with me. For a limited time I am offering three 30 minute coaching sessions for $75. It’s an excellent opportunity to experience coaching at a greatly reduced rate. Your investment of time and money could take you from stuck to action!