You’re are a busy person. You have a lot to do and a lot you want to do. Keeping track of it all can get overwhelming at times. I’m going to share with you my 3 basic tips to kick overwhelm to the curb when it comes to your goals and intentions in life. I recently touched on this topic during one of my Monday Morning Make It Happen calls and wanted to share it with y’all.
For the last 14 years I’ve been living in LA, working on feature films as a production coordinator. If you’re wondering what that means, the short version is I basically ran the production office, which is like the main information hub of any movie. We are the go between for the studios, actors, vendors, and crew. There is a lot of communication that goes on and the list of things to get done is never ending and constantly rotating. I’ve always been a goal-oriented person but this is really where I got organized and started to develop the list method of goal tracking.
When I first started working on movies, my first boss insisted I succumb to her “list” method. Basically, the list method meant anytime I was given a task (usually by her), I was to write it down on my list: even if this task was a really quick to do that I could accomplish in just a few minutes. I acquiesced to a degree but if it was something I really felt I could get done right away, I didn’t bother putting it on the list. Why should I? I was going to do it right then and it would be quick and done. And to quote Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”, “Big mistake, big. Huge”. I would be on my way or in the middle of my seemingly 2-minute task when either the phone would ring or someone would ask me to run a call sheet to so and so and off I went, leaving my not complete 2-minute task not only incomplete but now forgotten about because, I didn’t write it down. And guess what, I totally forgot about it. Until, of course, my boss asked me where the whatever-she’d-asked-me-to-do was. And then I’d remember. I learned quickly and began listing all of my to dos.
I’m certainly not suggesting goals are just to dos. And I’m also not suggesting you write every single little thought that comes into you head. But, for those ideas, concepts, flickers of thoughts that make you think “Hey, I want to do that” or “that would really improve my business” or any notion you are attracted to, write it down. Writing down your intentions gives them fuel to move and gives you accountability. When you see your goals and intentions on your list, you can’t ignore or forget about them, they’re there in black and white.
Now, I know some people who get overwhelmed by their ever-growing list. And that’s understandable, especially if it’s just growing and you’re not accomplishing anything on them to take off the list. I have three things to say to that.
- First is, prioritize. You’re obviously not going to get to everything on your list in one day or even probably one month. So, you need to arrange your items in the order of importance to you. I call this the 1, 2, 3 Model. EVERYthing on my list has either the number 1, 2, or 3 right before it on the left hand side. The concept is pretty basic but the execution is ever-so-helpful.
1 = Top Priority. Very important to you & must get done as soon as possible.
2 = Important but not as important or time sensitive as a # 1.
3 = Can be put on the back burner.
3’s don’t mean they are not important in any way, it just means it isn’t your top priority and doesn’t need your utmost attention FIRST. (The first time you do this numbering system, you might find yourself with mostly 1’s. That means you need to go through them again and reeeeeally ask yourself if it’s truly a 1 or could be a 2) Once you have your goals arranged by order of how urgently they need your attention, you can start time framing them.
- Timeframe. Giving your goals a target date on your list is a powerful tool. At the top of my list is the brain dump section. This is where I put EVERY thing as I think of it. Then I start to divvy it up and give it a time frame. I have a section for today, this week, this month and this year. You might think that all of my “today’s” would be filled with number ones but that’s not necessarily the case. Your ones are top priorities but might not be doable to complete in a day. Make sure you are realistic with yourself time and intention wise. If writing a book is your top dog priority, you would give it a one, put it in your “this year” section and add a goal of “write daily for an hour” (or more if your period of completion was, say, three months). This leads me to one other part of my list. Right next to the today, this week, this month and this year section, I have a daily, weekly, monthly, annually section. This allows me to have on-going intentions allotted to its appropriate time frame as well. So, if you wanted to meditate daily and go to yoga once a week, you know where to put it.
Again, it’s on your list, so you see it there in your own words and when to do what, you are invested.
- The last thing I’m gonna say about “the list” is probably the most important. You will always have the list. Make peace with this. Don’t worry that you don’t get everything checked off the list because you will constantly be adding to it. Be comfortable with the fact that you have a ton of ideas and things you want (and sometimes have) to get done. I have separate lists for my business and my personal life. Each list is quite full and once I gave myself permission to have an ongoing list, I have. Embrace the list. It’s there for you like a dutiful friend.
Let’s review. 3 ways to not be overwhelmed by your goals list:
- Prioritize. You can use my 1,2,3 model or adopt whatever works for you.
- Put a timeframe on your goals. What can you get done today, this week, this month or this year?
- Get comfortable with the idea that your list isn’t something you will necessarily complete everything off of because you will constantly be adding to it. The list is your friend.
That’s it! Easy peasy. AND, if you like the sound of my list, (AKA- Success Strategy Worksheet) you can have it for free to use as your own. It’s one of my two freebies now given for signing up for my newsletter.
Do you have some other tips when it comes to staying on track with your goals and not succumbing to overwhelm? Come post your ‘em to my Facebook page or better yet, join my Intentional Living Facebook group and be around like-minded people who intend their way to a better life. And if you’re not a Facebooker, respond below and let’s talk!