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I think the world may be spinning faster! Think about it… Do you ever wake up in the morning thinking “THAT couldn’t have been a full night’s sleep?” Or do you catch yourself looking at the clock saying, “WOW! It’s already what time?” Have you ever asked, “Where does the time go?” Saying “time flies when you’re having fun” just seems to add to the perceived reality that we’re living in a faster world with more to do and less time to do it.
Getting it all done creates an increasing sense of stress for many of us – from CEOs to first graders and everyone in between. Everyone is trying to spin as many plates as possible between school, work, practice, relationships, projects and all the people, places and things that demand our time.
Here’s a thought! What if we just stop the world for a couple of weeks and let everyone catch-up. You know, take a mandatory worldwide two-week break to finish what we’ve started, clean up, straighten up, organize, go through, throw out, ship up, shape up, and rest up. Okay, so this might be a bit unrealistic, but it’s a thought.
Since stopping the world isn’t an option, here are some strategies, approaches and even mind-sets that help people do what they need to do when they need to do it.
STARTING EARLY IS BETTER THAN STAYING LATE: Old sayings are often based in wisdom. The early bird gets the worm. Early to bed, early to rise. To be early is to be on time. They all have a great lesson for getting things done in today’s constant crescendo of things to do: phone calls, classes, errands, projects, etc. Get a jump on the day so the day doesn’t jump you!
THE BUSIEST PEOPLE SEEM TO GET THE MOST DONE: Haven’t you noticed this yourself? In fact, talk to students who are doing “lots of stuff” and they’ll tell you that they always seem to get more accomplished and even get better grades when they’re the busiest. Why is this? Well perhaps it’s because they know they don’t have a lot of time. A sense of urgency keeps them on their toes when it comes to crunch-time the night before a test, the practice before a big game or performance, or the project deadline approaching. When we do have extra time, the attitude becomes “I’ve got lots of time. I’ll do it later.” Ironically, we seem to procrastinate when we have time yet proactively complete projects when we don’t.
COMPUTERS ARE DESIGNED TO MULTI-TASK, HUMANS ARE NOT: Although we’d like to think that we can do more than one thing at one time, research about the brain confirms that we can only focus on one thing at a time. We may be able to spin many plates, but the problem occurs when we’re spinning too many plates simultaneously. That’s when we find ourselves focusing on the plates that are falling, catching them just in time, and then running to the next falling plate. Our lives become reactionary in a “put out the fire” or “save the crashing plate” kind-of-approach.
COMMIT TO COMPLETION AND FINISH WHAT YOU START: Even the best “plate spinning people” who juggle multiple projects enjoy completing a project. There’s something about “getting it done” that motivates people to get it done! Face it; the best part about having a “To Do List” is crossing things off the list. Do you ever catch yourself starting your “To Do List” with something you’ve already done, just to feel good about crossing something off?
FOCUS: The sun is a powerful force in our world and it does what it’s supposed to do – warm and light the earth. However, when the rays are focused through a magnifying glass, the power is increased exponentially. Your abilities are similar. It’s when we truly focus on something that we have power to get something done. We operate in life with a kind of dual focus of seeing the BIG picture and at the same time focusing on all the LITTLE details. It’s a combination of these two perspectives that help us accomplish our goals.
SEE THE BIG PICTURE AND THE LITTLE DETAILS: Consider this. If a brick layer gets too caught up in the little details of each brick, spacing, mortar, color, etc., without looking at the BIG picture – imagine what the wall would look! It might be crooked, curved and wavy. Up close it might look great, but from far away it would not look as good. The opposite is also true. What would happen if a brick layer only looked at the big picture as he built that same wall. He might line up all the bricks and throw in some mortar, but because he was never concerned with the LITTLE details, there might be gaps in the bricks, color matching might be off, and spacing would be poor. Sure the wall would be straight, but the quality would lack in terms of the details.
PLAN YOUR WORK & WORK YOUR PLAN: When most people go to the grocery store, they make a list of the items they need before they go. When they get to the store, they can focus on getting what they need and get out. Sure, they might pick up something else that’s on sale or that they didn’t put on their list, but for the most part, they’re not as distracted because they’re busy focusing on what they need. It’s an efficient way of shopping because it’s a combination of goal setting, planning ahead, and prioritizing.
ENJOY THE RIDE: Life is like a roller coaster. It has its ups and downs as well as its highs and lows. Sometimes it goes fast and sometimes it goes slow. Parts are scary. Occasionally you can’t see what’s coming and sometimes you can. Yet in spite of all of that, it’s still a lot of FUN! We enjoy the ride, not because of where it takes us, but because of the ride itself. It’s the journey not the destination. It’s the process not the end result. You don’t ride a roller coaster to get to the end of a roller coaster. You don’t go on a vacation to get to the end of a vacation. You don’t see a movie to get to the end of the movie. You don’t listen to music to get to the end of the song. You don’t go on a date to get to the end of a… (well, okay, so maybe that one is an exception for some.)
The more we focus on the process of doing what we do, the more we enjoy the ride. There will always be stuff on our “To Do List” but it’s the process of doing that makes life fun. If we wait to enjoy life when everything’s done, then we’ll miss out on a lot of fun along the way.
Start early, stay busy, keep focused, be committed, think big picture with little details, plan your work and work your plan, and most importantly enjoy the ride. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. You’ll be amazed at how much fun you will have when you get more done in less time KICKin’ IT IN!
FRAN KICK works with corporate and educational organizations that want to develop better leadership and smarter followership for faster long-term results. Inspiring people to KICK IT IN® and TAKE THE LEAD since 1986 as a professional speaker, author, and consultant.
© Fran Kick. Used with permission. www.kickitin.com
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