In the previous post, I shared the seven steps writers and others can take in order to reach their goals, whether that is writing a novel, improving your health, making more money, or just about anything. In this post I'm giving a specific example of each step--in this case the goal is getting my office organized.
1: Choose the one area of your life in which changes would improve your life the most.
Organizing my office and my files, including financial records.
2: Compare how things are now to how you’d like things to be.
How things are now: The office is cluttered and has gone from controlled chaos to uncontrolled chaos. It is difficult to find things and the financial and other records are in disarray. There is a large backlog of paperwork.
My zero-based outcome: My office is uncluttered, the files are in order, all of the office equipment works well, there is a simple system for dealing with financial records, there is a stand-up desk as well as the regular desk, the walls feature artwork that is easy to change periodically, things that are not needed frequently are out of sight but easy to find.
3: Work out the first few steps you can take now in order to bring about at least some parts of the outcomes you want.
First step: go through all the paperwork in “triage” mode--that is, separate anything that requires immediate or short-term attention from the rest. Discard anything that is not needed at all. Put financial documents in separate pile.
Second step: act immediately on anything that has financial consequences--pay any bills that are due, invoice for payment due, cancel standing orders that no longer apply, cancel any services no longer needed.
Third step: deal with the rest of the “triage” paperwork.
Fourth step: set up new system for dealing with financial records and filing, to including scanning important documents and saving them using Dropbox, calendar reminder system, etc.
4: Work out exactly how you will implement the first step. This includes any resources you will need (including time) and how you’ll get them. For instance, if you decide that your first step in a larger fitness plan is to be able to walk a mile in ten minutes, decide not only when and where you’ll do your walking practice but also what you will stop doing in order to free up that time.
Plan for first step: clear desktop to give room for the sorting, get marker pen and sticky notes to label documents, folders, stapler. Use two weekend days that normally would have been days off.
5: Commit to your first step and the effort it requires. You can find an online “goals buddy” or put this on your Facebook page, or ask your spouse or partner. Tell them your plan and report to them daily on your progress. You may also find it useful to use Stickk.com for the same purpose.
Set this up using Stickk.com.
6: Adjust as necessary. If something isn’t working, don’t give up, just come up with a different strategy. If you think of a way to do it faster or better as you go along, use it.
For instance, if motivation flags during boring sorting, put on energizing music. Improvement idea: during the sorting, label folders with the most important categories to have those ready for next step.
7: Celebrate the achievement of your first step.
Celebrate by taking a walk and browsing in a book store for 30 minutes.
8:When you’ve reached the first goal, do step two using the same process.
Use pile of financial-related documents and continue with plan.
I hope that helps you to come up with a similar plan for whichever goal is most important to you right now. However, it's not uncommon to run into some challenges along the way, so the next and final post in this series about how writers and others can reach their goals will give some tips for troubleshooting.
(for more friendly guidance on managing your time and using right-brain methods to reach your goals, get a copy of my book, "FOCUS: use the power of targeted thinking to get more done." It's published by Pearson and you can get it it from Amazon or your other favourite bookseller.)