Complete Your 2011 & Enhance Possibilities in 2012
Several years ago I began a practice that has been invaluable to me. It is based on a premise I learned in my coach training program that completion releases energy. Often we have too many “open loops” in our lives. One of the things I teach in my time management workshops is that poor time management is not solely about having too many things to do. It is largely about having too many open loops. In other words, from a mental standpoint, it is not necessarily the size of my to do list that causes me the most sense of overwhelm. It is really the number of things in my life/practice/job that are incomplete. For example, I may have 10 things on my to do list and under normal circumstances, this may be a manageable amount for me. But I notice lately that it is feeling overwhelming and I am working slower than I typically do. The difference may not be visible to me as I look at my to do list. It may in fact have to do with what is not on my list – those projects that I started 1 month, 2 months, or a year ago that are as yet incomplete.
When we are incomplete, it saps our energy. While there is a small number of incompletions we can comfortably and effectively manage, there comes a point when it is just too much. How will you know? The main sign is a lack of energy, enthusiasm & motivation.
So what can you do? The way to restore that energy is to “complete” whatever projects you can complete. Begin to close those open loops. You will know you have completed something when you think “what’s next?” This is an indication that some of your energy has been released and you are ready to take on the next thing. Just think what it feels like to check something off your TO DO list. It feels good because you are completing something, giving you energy. Here is a tool to use right now, December 2011, to feel energetic for 2012.
Exercise – Completing 2011
Step 1: What projects were you involved in this year? Go back through whatever source will help you remember – your mind; checkbook; project management programs; calendar – and create a list of all the projects you recall spending time on this year. It is fine if you cannot recall everything. Those most obvious will likely be those not complete. Be sure to spend time coming up with some things you have completed this year as well.
Step 2: When you are done with the list, go through it and mark each item “I” (incomplete) or “C” (complete). “Incomplete” means there is still action for you to take. When you are complete you will feel complete. You can actually create a feeling of completion for yourself by scheduling the action that will have you be complete – in this way you can change an incomplete to a complete without actually physically finishing the project. This is important.
Step 3: Take a look at all your completes! Isn’t that exciting? Plan a way to acknowledge yourself for completing those things you completed! Do not skimp on this step. Completion releases energy. Acknowledgement creates the excitement and firepower to go complete something else.
Step 4: Take a look at all your incompletes. Go through this list and for every incomplete write down what action you will take to be complete. If it is something small and easy, go ahead and do it and claim that energy! If it is a larger item, state the actions still needed and – this is important – put them on your calendar or in a reliable place so you know when you will take the action to finish the project and you trust that you will take the action. Here are some examples:
1. I have been meaning to call my brother and get together with him. This I can go ahead and do before the end of the year and be finished and complete.
2. I have been repainting all the rooms in my house. I’ve done pretty well (3 out of 5 rooms), but I feel like it is taking a really long time. I can look honestly at my calendar and, chunking it down to the steps involved, I will say “prep the walls of room #1” the first week of January, “choose the paint” the second week of January, “paint the walls” the 3rd week. Then I will follow the same procedure for room #2 in February. I will go through my calendar and write down exactly what I am going to do each week. I will make it obvious in my calendar and stick to it as a commitment. This action makes me feel complete.
3. I set my goal for $200,000 income in 2011 and on December 31, I have made $150,000. This is another type of incompletion. With this particular type of incompletion I can declare myself complete. I can consciously sit down, acknowledge myself for what I did, review what worked and didn’t work, state that I am now complete, and then clear the slate to set a new goal for 2012.
Finally, when all of this is done – and it is most effective to complete this process by the end of 2011, you are ready to plan 2012.
Sit down and make a plan. Call a friend or trusted advisor, or call me for your strategic planning session & get ready for an amazing 2012!