by Anna Davis
How often do you say “I haven’t had time…”? Yet, look through history and think of people who you admire – who have achieved amazing things – they all had the same number of hours a day. So how did they achieve it and how can you achieve your dreams too?
As a coach & consultant, I have discovered many techniques for making the most of your time and achieving more. I have found these fall into three core areas that will vastly increase your effectiveness, feeling of control, and ultimately your happiness. Within each area I have numerous methods to help you progress, depending on where your greatest improvements could be made. Here, I am sharing 3 or 4 tips for each area.
Find a pen and paper and start on the right path to organisation, efficiency and effectiveness….
Top ten tips to achieve your dreams
Clarify your priorities
- Clarify what you want out of life – This deceptively simple exercise is a good starting point: Write down ten things which you would like to achieve within a year, large or small, and assign each of them a target date. Focus on the one that would have the biggest impact on your life. Write down all the actions you need to undertake to achieve that goal. Decide what you can do this week and do one action every week to move you forwards.
- Remove extraneous activities – If I were a fairy (and not just a tooth fairy!) and could magic you an extra hour a day, what would you do with it? Alternatively, if I were a baddie (to use my 5 year old’s vocabulary), and took away an hour a day, what would you stop doing? Now…replace one with the other!
- Look after yourself – We can cope with almost anything as long as we are both mentally and physically strong. Schedule (on your family calendar) regular time each week to exercise and to relax. Keep that time sacred.
- Organise your correspondence – Start organising your paperwork by buying a 31 day expanding pocket file. The slots correspond to the next 31 days in a rolling manner. Put all invitations, tickets, travel arrangements, birthday cards etc into the day you need them (a couple a days beforehand if preparation is required e.g. a present to buy). Just make sure you check it every day!
- De-clutter – Don’t try to declutter a whole room. Break it down into individual shelves or drawers. Dedicate 15 minutes a day to making progress and put each item into one of four buckets – keep, throw out, give away (charity/ freecycle.com), sell (ebay.co.uk/gumtree.com).
- Put systems in place – Design systems and routines. For example, when the children get home from their swimming class, rinse and dry their things then re-pack into swimming bags for next week, and create rolling 2 or 3 week menus. Teach your kids routines such as the morning routine so that they can get themselves ready rather than having to be nagged (a pictorial or written routine on the fridge can work wonders!)
Get it all done
- Delegate – Don’t take everything on your own shoulders. Delegate or outsource tasks where possible and make sure the children have their own, age appropriate, responsibilities.
- Plan – “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Many things on our to-do list are not actions at all, but “projects” requiring two or more steps. Write out all the steps so you know where to start and what is stopping you. Make sure the first step is a clear physical step which you know how to do.
- Be punctual – Calculate your “Stop Working on Everything Else Time” (SWEET spot) by working backwards from the appointment. Include plenty of buffer time for unscheduled delays – at least 10 minutes when leaving the house for the inevitable dirty nappy, lengthy toilet visit, accident or itinerant shoe.
- Stop procrastinating – Select an issue which needs thought but which you have been putting off. Start a timer for exactly 5 minutes. Brainstorm (do not judge) the issue non-stop until the timer goes off. Read through and underline any significant insights or actions. What can you do first?
These are just the tip of the ice-berg. There are many more techniques and much more depth to uncover. If you would like to move from hectic to effective, contact me to find out which of the packages I offer would suit you. Don’t procrastinate!
The essential question is not, “How busy are you?” but “What are you busy doing?”
Anna also does career coaching for people who are dissatisfied with their current career situation or returning to work after a child, and personal coaching to provide support to help you achieve your dreams and goals..
Coach, consultant and time management expert
If you are overwhelmed with work, family commitments or other things right now, check out my Mums in the Middle group