"Nothing is as fatiguing as the continued hanging on of an uncompleted task."
It's quite simple, really. Doing the same things in the same way yields the same results. It's not rocket science. Working harder at doing the same or ineffective activities is self-destructive and zaps your energy and enthusiasm, and steals away precious time, yet we often persist in our "old" and comfortable ways.
Why? Because it's often easier to continue with our old habits; change takes effort, and not everyone is comfortable with the idea of change. In fact, many people are so frightened of change that they'll often settle in life rather than face their fears.
In order to conquer your time and organization management problems, to improve your insurance and financial services practice or to experience personal and professional growth, you must do things differently. I recently assembled a research and development team to explore the problems associated with poor time management and organization. We discovered that there were six categories that included at least 30 blockages to effective time and organization management.
The six categories along with just a few examples include:
Poor file/information retrieval
No repeatable system
Lack of crystal clear, measurable goals
Lack of belief in your ability to achieve your goals
Lack of specific measurable action steps to achieve your goals
Poor listening skills
Poor work flow
"Seat of pants" approaches
No sense of urgency
Lack of balance between personal and business needs
Lack of delegation
Lack of effective delegation
No repeatable processes
Solving the same problem over and over again
Crisis management is the norm
No leveraging time saving tools
Poor training or no training
Not knowing how to deal with interruptions
Being a slave to emails/voice mails
Can't say no
Negative attitudes from self and others
Let’s look at some actions you can take to conquer your organization and time control issues.
Time wasters—Discover all of your time wasting activities and what gets in the way of your being organized. For each time waster, create an action plan to either totally eliminate it or reduce its impact.
Define your workflow—Determine all of your necessary activities each week and allocate the ideal amount of time it takes to accomplish each one.
The perfect week—Create an ideal workweek. Physically block off time in your calendar each week to accomplish each activity you identified above along with the amount of time necessary to accomplish each activity.
Reserves—Build into your schedule fail-safe time. For example, block off every Friday afternoon as reserve time. You can use this time to catch up on excess work, uncompleted tasks, or if you’re totally caught up, head home early or reward yourself with something that gives you pleasure.
Laser planning—Set aside time everyday to review today and plan for tomorrow.
Following Through Strategies
Don’t get too discouraged. There are strategies you can employ to help you overcome these natural tendencies. First, let’s deal with actions you can take to help ensure that you will follow through on your goal to get more organized. These actions can be applied to any goal you set for yourself.
First, create bold compelling reasons why you need to follow through on your goal of getting more organized. Make it more painful to not move forward with your organization plan than to do so.
Second, start small and get into the habit of getting started. Then build upon this habit by adding the required actions to achieve your end result.
Third, reward yourself for both getting started and staying on track. It takes energy to create new habits. You might experience some mental soreness. Be prepared for it.
Here’s a list of some additional suggestions to help with your motivation to do make the necessary changes to conquer your time and organization management issues:
Strike while the iron is hot—don’t delay in getting started.
Tough it out—Do whatever it takes to stay on track for the first few weeks.
Focus—consider cutting back on the number of projects you want to undertake.
Don’t go it alone—ask associates to partner with you. Keep each other on track and accountable to your goal.
Find someone you would not want to disappoint and make a promise to them.
Consider how bad you will feel by not getting organized. The more you exaggerate this consequence, the more likely you’ll follow through on your plan.
Perhaps the most important aspect of changing your behavior to accomplish something new is this, you become what you believe you can become and/or accomplish! Belief in the attainment of any goal, whatever it might be, is a critical requirement in the achievement of that goal. Every strategy and tactic you have at your disposal to build belief should be deployed. Do whatever works best for you, from writing out affirmations to visualization to giving yourself rewards for incremental progress. If you’re not sure what works best for you, try them all.
To paraphrase Tom Peters, only those people who constantly re-tool themselves have a chance at sustained success in the years to come. Napoleon Hill has said that, "Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent or great benefit." Look for that opportunity when embarking upon change.
Good luck on your journey to success.