Have you ever noticed how easy it is to put off things that are important to your business or personal life, just because other “fires” need to be put out, or it’s just too much trouble “right now?” And how many times have you gotten to the end of a month, quarter or year and realized you did nothing to move any of your goals forward, and in fact, may not even remember what you had said you wanted to accomplish?
Having had some time off recently, I’ve spent some time getting back on track, and am amazed at how much better it feels to be planning and setting goals. And in 2013, the difference is that I am moving into this new year with more clarity and purpose.
There are four main activities that I plan to manage better so that I reach those goals:
- Conduct weekly reviews – Productivity guru and bestselling author David Allen suggests this in his Getting Things Done book and methodology, and when I’ve done this in the past, I’ve been more productive. So I will clear my in-boxes (all of them) on a regular basis (weekly or at least every other week), revisit all my open loops on projects, and re-evaluate the agreements I’ve made with myself and with others on what I need to accomplish over the next week and month.
- Use my calendar – As I go through my weekly reviews, I intend to use my calendar more diligently to block time to accomplish my goals. Instead of leaving it up to chance that I’ll have the time to focus, I will block out time during my week to work on my initiatives. There’s no way to avoid interruptions at my office, but having time blocked on the calendar will help me refocus and stay on task, plus the reminders won’t hurt!
- Turn off distractions – Oh, there’s an email I should check, and just let me check Facebook for a minute (and then 20 minutes later I’m still reading drivel). When I need to focus, I will turn off social media and email so I can focus on the grind of getting the work done. (If you struggle with this too, just know this will be a huge challenge for me).
- Review goals regularly – do you write out your goals at the first of the year and then tuck them away until December? Not anymore! I plan to look at my goals daily, if possible, or at least during my weekly review and see what next action steps need to be taken to accomplish those goals.
- Connect with friends – how many times have you said to a long-time friend, “we should get together for coffee or lunch” and then done nothing about it? I plan to schedule coffee or lunch with friends and colleagues at least twice a month.
- Plan fun activities – one of my three focus words this year is “Delight” – because I want to make sure I’m not spending all my time with my head buried in work. So I will plan a fun outing, activity or experience at least twice a month.
The one thing all these actions have in common is intentionality. This will be the year to be intentional, to make things happen instead of “letting” things happen.
Are you with me? How will you be intentional this year?