How many of us have everything we need to get done buzzing around in our minds or written down somewhere?
Random lists. Sticky notes stuck... everywhere.
For many people, when they realize they need to get organized to keep projects and tasks on track they head out and buy a planner or agenda. And while that's a fantastic place to start, it doesn't usually help in the long run.
In order to solve the problem - falling behind or not completing tasks - you need to get to the root of it. And it's usually not that we've just forgotten or are feeling particularly lazy.
More often than not, it's that we have a string of bad habits holding us back. Some of those habits might be procrastination, while others might be lacking the confidence to tackle a big project.
Whatever the case may be, we've done the research and found 3 helpful tips that you can pick up today that will help you form new habits and stay on track with all of the projects you're juggling in both your personal and professional life.
1. Plan Ahead
The first tip is to create a plan of action! Trying to just dive head first into something can backfire. Either you start at the "wrong" point, or you try to tackle it head-on without realizing what's coming and get overwhelmed.
To prevent overwhelm, the first thing to do is identify your endgame.
Once you know where you're going, you can work backward to break your task into smaller, more manageable sub-tasks. You can also parse out your project so that you can create measurable SMART goals.
By working backward you can also make sure you're giving yourself a reasonable amount of time.
For example, if you want to sign up for a Thanksgiving Day 5k, you know that if you start training right now (in August), you have nearly 3 full months to train. The end goal is, of course, to be able to run 3.1 miles by race day. So you can work backward and build out your training schedule so that by mid-November, you're comfortably running 3 miles, by early November, you're logging 2.5 miles per run, and so on. You can start small, work your way up, and know that you've built in enough time between now and race day to account for rest days, days where you're just feeling "off," and taking a measured approach so that you can avoid injury.
2. Ask For Help
Next, keep in mind that while independence is a fantastic characteristic, being hyper-independent can be counterproductive. It’s so important to know when to ask for help. (Business owners can especially find this difficult since we often have the mentality of "this is my company, so I need to handle it.")
The thing is... we all have the same 24 hours in a day. And there's no prize for being the most stressed out, overworked, frustrated person.
If you have a huge project for work see what you can delegate at work - or even at home - to gain back some personal time:
- Ask your family to help pick up the slack around the house by cooking or doing laundry.
- Get your groceries delivered (or do curbside pickup) to save yourself the time of a whole shopping trip (Pro Tip: all those things you have to buy on a regular basis - soap, paper towel, etc... you can set up a subscription service for them and get them delivered at regular intervals without even having to think about it.)
- Hire a dog walker (bet the kid next door would love to play with Fido for 20 minutes after school!) or a house cleaner to give you some of your free time back.
- Outsource tasks on the job, hire a virtual assistant or someone to balance your books, or work on your taxes once a month.
Similarly, if you have a ton going on in your personal life (sick kiddo who has to leave school early, an injury that has you not able to move around the office as quickly as possible, a family matter that's just taking up a lot of your brain space), reach out to your coworkers for help.
- Ask if someone wouldn't mind taking meeting notes for you while you bring Junior to the doctor.
- Check with your office manager to see if a small printer can be brought to your desk so that you don't have to keep getting up and down.
And if you're running your own business, definitely don't be afraid of outsourcing what you can. For example, if you hate dealing with accounting - then don't. Outsource your bookkeeping - there are people out there that love math, it'll make them HAPPY to do it for you (and of course get paid a fair wage) and they'll probably get it done twice as fast. Meanwhile, you'll free up some of your time to focus on the parts of your business that you do enjoy.
3. Stay Positive
This last one is the glue that holds those other tips together - use positive self-talk! According to the Mayo Clinic,
“Positive thinking doesn't mean that you ignore life's less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst.”
As you see, this is beyond the cliche of “just think positive” - you’re really doing the work to rewire your approach to things that make you uncomfortable.
Instead of thinking, “I can’t do this, I don’t want to mess it up,” reframe it to, “This is a new challenge and a great learning opportunity." Do you find yourself constantly putting off your workout because you just don't have the time? Reframe it. You don't have to work out - you get to work out. It's 30/60/90 minutes that you're doing something for you and even if you don't really feel like it right now, you know you'll feel better when it's over.
A simple shift like this in your mindset will have you flying high.
Remember, we don’t have to strive for perfection, and nobody gets an award for struggling the hardest, so set your milestones, get your groceries delivered, and be kind to your mind!
Revisit the steps above again and again until you get it right and these habits become second nature. When you do this, you’ll fast track yourself to success.
And to help you even better, Alleo.ai can help you manage all of this in one place - check out our video to learn more (and sign up to be a Beta user if you need to try it out for yourself!).