Just so you know, it’s impossible to get it all done. But it is possible to get a majority of the most important things done. Some people can get stuff done seemingly without effort. For most of us it takes work. Here are my top tips for getting it done:
Prioritize your goals
Just because it seems like a good idea does not necessarily mean you should add it to your list of goals. Even though it seemed like a neat idea to try to learn Spanish, I had to come to grips with the fact that there was no room for it on my list. Goals need to be productive, or at least bring you enjoyment. If it’s not going to move you forward, AND you don’t enjoy it, cross it off and move on. Do not set yourself up for failure.
Plan to get it done
Do not just leave it to chance. Humans can only make so many decisions in a given day before they experience overload. You blame yourself for not having willpower, but it is human nature to seek the easiest solution to problems, sparing your mind for critical decision-making. Making a short To-Do list for myself every night means that the next day, I have a plan in place. Making the list the night before takes the emotion out of the equation. Here is my planner:
I started this year wanting to really get my life in order. I am lucky in that I am mindful of wanting to change and accepting the small progresses I make. I just want to be a little better each year and I can pretty much do that. This year was different because I have the looming fear that my business is not progressing quickly enough. I spent about half the year studying strategies to develop habits, set goals and build systems until I basically came to the realization that (A) they all said a lot of the same stuff, and (B) I was stalling by continually researching and never acting. Working from home, particularly as an artist, is difficult because I get very little positive reinforcement. My husband and family give me praise of course, but sometimes it’s good to hear it from strangers who don’t have to say nice things about you.When you work in an office, as I always have before, people notice when you are accomplishing stuff. Now I am pretty much the only person who notices, unless I tell the world. And I’m not one of those people who is comfortable with self promotion. In May, I met a group of wonderful people through a class I took at CreativeLive. Most importantly, my accountability partner Jane, but also a whole community of people who are in the same boat as I am. When I set a personal goal to paint a picture, I asked Jane to hold me accountable. I also announced it on Instagram, along with updates of my work in progress. I am almost finished! What a wonderful feeling!
When all else fails, consult an expert. What the heck, you don’t have to wait for anything to fail. If you need guidance, get it. Like I said, I spent a ton of time researching tips and strategies before I found the right fit for me. I am currently going through the Connecting the Gaps program, “Busy to Happy”. Some stuff I knew, but a lot I didn’t. And besides, it’s always good to get confirmation that what you think you know is legit. I am not just learning from April, the Blacksburg Belle and Mayi of Heartmade Blog, but all of the members of the group who share their ideas, tips and personal stories. It has been extremely helpful hearing how others make it work, or what they struggle with. I love being part of this eclectic ensemble and I really appreciate how we all have each others’ back. Most importantly, I am discovering a lot about myself.
So it has taken me until July to get to this point, but it’s a journey, not a destination. As long as I keep moving forward, I feel successful. This year is not over yet!