Review & IDEAction

Well we’ve done it folks! We’ve now gone through all 10 (+1 bonus) of my Productivity Tactics for rockin’ out your resolutions or goals this year.

To recap, these were:

Tactic #1: Simplify – The fewer goals you have, the more likelier you are to achieve them. Narrow your list down to 10 or less, and keep them simple & actionable.

Tactic #2: Prioritize – Multi-tasking is a myth! Assign an order of importance to your goals and keep this in mind as you attack them accordingly.

Tactic #3: Think Big, Act Small – Break up each goal into smaller bite-size steps, and then tackle them one at a time according to their priority, giving yourself no more than 2 CRITICAL to do’s each day.

Tactic #4: Set Deadlines – Give yourself a time frame to accomplish all the steps in each goal. Be realistic and remember Parkinson’s Law: any task will take as much time as you allot it to get it done.

Tactic #5: Don’t Justify – Often the things we least want to do are the things most needed to get done. Ask yourself, “Am I inventing things to do just to avoid the important?” Remember: the sooner you do it, the sooner you don’t have to do it!

Tactic #6: Outsource – Can any of the steps toward your goals be automated or done by someone else? Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and remember: the key to having more time is doing less.

Tactic #7: Imitate -Why reinvent the wheel? Learn from what your colleagues have done, use that as a helpful jumping off point, and then make it your own.

Tactic #8: Define Your Space – Identify those places where you feel most productive and then make that your regular workspace. Organize all your necessary materials there, and keep out any other irrelevant clutter.

Tactic #9: Teach It – One of the best ways to learn something yourself is to try teaching it to others. Find a friend or colleague who wants to learn what you are doing and share with them along the way.

Tactic #10: Stay Positive – Stay focused on the Chaos you can influence. Don’t waste time on things you have no control over, or things that may go wrong. Learn from the past and quickly move on to improve the future.

Bonus Tactic #11: Make It Your Own! – Stop defining your goals based on what others tell you is important. Define your own definition of what success means to you, then go for it and never give up!

Hopefully through this process, I’ve demonstrated exactly how you can go about implementing these Tactics and using them to achieve your goals. You just need one final key to tie them all together – a solid plan for how to use them the most effectively. So I’ve incorporated each of my 11 Productivity Tactics into a simpler 5-step process. I call it my IDEAction Plan:

Step #1: I is for Identify

  • Define your list of goals, and the spaces & materials you will use to achieve them. (Refer to Tactics #1 & #8)

Step #2: D is for Devise

  • Deconstruct your goals into actionable steps, with priorities and deadlines. (Refer to Tactics #2, #3 & #4)

Step #3: E is for Energize

  • Get moving! Put your devised plan into action, and don’t let procrastination or mistakes slow you down. (Refer to Tactics #5 & #10)

Step #4: A is for Analyze

  • Evaluate your progress & your process, and find opportunities to outsource or learn from others in your field. (Refer to Tactics #6 & #7)

Step #5: S is for Systematize

  • Develop your personalized routine & optimize your workflow to give yourself maximum freedom to do the things you want to do, or share what you’ve learned with others! (Refer to Tactics #9 & #11)

I hope these prove useful to you in your own personal and professional journey.

Happy trails!

  

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Questions? Comments? Absurd Ideas? As always, please share your comments below and tell us how these tips have been useful for you!

Productivity Tactic #4: Set Deadlines

“The ultimate inspiration is the deadline” -Nolan Bushnell

The next key step I advise to productively tackle any goal or resolution is to set proper deadlines for yourself – emphasis on the “for yourself” part there. The most important thing is that you are the manager of your own time and the maker of your own expectations.

So give yourself a time frame to accomplish the steps towards each of your goals, which you’ve begun laying out with Tactic #3: Thing Big, Act Small. Each step will need its own deadline, as well as a higher level time frame for the bigger resolution. Both are important, and juggling them can be challenging. That’s why I’ve developed My 2012 Resolutions Google Doc, where I list out each step I’ve tasked myself with, which resolution it helps achieve, and when I will aim to get it done by.

Remember, I’ve also made this system into a Google Docs Template, so you can try it out as well and see if it will help you on your journey.

Now the key with deadline setting is to be realistic, but not afraid to push yourself. While it’s good to recognize that a particular step will be impossible to achieve in say, just 1 day, I also urge you to remember a certain rule of thumb I’ve come to appreciate, which I discovered with the help of Tim Ferriss. It’s called Parkinson’s Law. It essentially says that any task will take as much time as you allot it to get done. So whether you give yourself two weeks or two days to complete a task, it will probably take you that long.

To illustrate this point, think back to a survey you’ve sent out to your friends in the past, perhaps one meant to help schedule a fun outing. You might have noticed how everyone seemed to fill out the survey either instantly after you sent it out or right before its expiration. The lesson is it’s always easier to do something the fresher the reminder, whether that’s right when you start to do something or right when you’re supposed to have finished it.

So do yourself a favor and set deadlines as ambitious as you can reasonably manage, and then hold yourself to those! No one ever accomplished anything extraordinary by taking the easy road.

Plus, you should already have a manageable list of goals with actionable steps to take towards each that you’ve prioritized nicely.

Now just add those deadlines, and you just might surprise yourself with how much you can achieve and how quickly you can achieve it!

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Questions? Comments? Absurd Ideas? Comment below and tell us one of your Artist goals this year & what deadline you are setting for yourself to get it done!

How To Rock Your Resolutions

Stick to your resolutions“Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.” -Buddha

Now that we’re fresh off the holiday season and into the New Year, we enter that very special time of year… resolution time!

Wherever you are and whatever your beliefs, you can probably at least agree that it’s a good idea to have goals. Goal setting is a healthy practice year-round, but there’s no more opportune time to set new goals than the start of the new year. So why not take this opportunity and set some of yours goals to tackle your biggest chaos. That may sound intimidating, but there’s no time like the present, and I’ll be here to help you rock those resolutions with Google throughout the year!

Now I don’t want to get preachy on you, because I certainly don’t have it all figured out either. And I don’t want to just share some fluffy, inspirational messages about staying motivated – that’s not what Organize With Google is about.

I’d rather arm you with real, functional tactics that you can immediately use to better achieve your own goals and To Do’s. I can’t presume to know your goals, or understand how complicated your life may be. But I can share with you the actually applicable methods I am using to realize my own year’s goals, and hopefully some of that will prove useful for you as well.

So first, take some time to look back on your 2012 and then look forward towards those areas and projects that still need your focus and energy in 2013. What are your resolutions for this year?

If you’re having trouble coming up with these, maybe try to think about it differently. Don’t think of them as goals so much as ways you want to live more intentionally. What matters to you this year? What do you hope to build in the next 12 months? Now what is currently holding you back from doing this? Turn those answers into your resolutions and then let’s see how we can help you make them happen.

Because it’s all well and good to make resolutions, but quite another to make good on them. So on that note, I am pleased to share with you my top 10 tactics to rock your resolutions this year. (hint: some of these tactics can be resolutions of their own!)

  1. Simplify! Look at your list of resolutions and ask yourself – do I really need this many goals? If you have more than 10, try narrowing your list down some. Keep it simple and actionable, and you’ll have a better chance of actually completing them all.
  2. Prioritize! Assign an order of importance to your goals and keep this in mind as you attack them accordingly, especially if you find yourself getting a bit off-track or overwhelmed at any point. Multi-tasking is a myth – if you prioritize properly, there is no need to multi-task.
  3. Think Big, Act Small! To avoid the overwhelmed feeling, break up each goal into smaller bite-size steps, and take them one at a time (according to their priority). Try giving yourself no more than 2 critical tasks towards your goals each day, and make sure you do them! (Ask yourself: If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?)
  4. Set Deadlines! Give yourself a time frame to accomplish the steps towards your goals. Remember to be realistic, but don’t be afraid to push yourself. Parkinson’s Law essentially says that any task will take as much time as you allot it. So whether you give yourself two weeks or two days to complete a task, it will probably take you that long.
  5. Stop Justifying Your Time! If you do find yourself getting overwhelmed, stop and ask yourself – Am I adding more work for myself just to feel busy? Am I being productive or just active? Am I inventing things to do just to avoid the important? Sometimes the things we least want to do are the things most needed to get done. So if you find yourself facing this challenge, recite this mantra: “The sooner I do it, the sooner I don’t have to do it!”
  6. Outsource! Look at your list of steps towards each goal, and ask yourself if any of those can be automated or done by someone else? Take advantage of the great many tools we have available in today’s age of technology. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember – the key to having more time is doing less.
  7. Imitate! Why reinvent the wheel? If you are struggling for ways to automate your steps, or even what your steps should be, look at what others have done. Talk to your friends and colleagues, ask for their advice as well as their help. I don’t necessarily mean copy exactly what they did, but their experience can prove a more helpful starting point than if you tried to start from scratch. You can still take what you learn from them and make it your own!
  8. Define Your Space! Identify those places where you feel most productive – your office, a coffee shop, your living room, etc – and make that your daily workspace. Organize all your necessary materials and resources in that space, and keep it free of any other irrelevant clutter, to make sure you can focus all your energy on the tasks ahead while you are there.
  9. Teach It! As you try to master new skills and reach your goals, find a friend or colleague who wants to learn what you are doing and share with them along the way. I’ve found that one of the best ways to learn something yourself is to try teaching it to others. Take this blog for example: by researching and relaying these Chaos Whispering tips for you all, I’m learning new and better ways to improve my own life.
  10. Stay Positive! Try not to dwell on your mistakes or when things go wrong. Stay focused on the Chaos you can influence. Learn from the past and move on to improve the future. Life is too short to waste a moment, especially on things you have no control over.

Bonus TacticMake It Your Own! The most important thing to remember as you embark on this new journey is to know what you want and never give up on that. Stop defining your goals based on what others tell you is important. It doesn’t matter what your family, friends, or even society say – never let anyone tell you it’s not worth it. Define your own definition of what success means to you, then go for it and never look back!

I know I am working towards a kind of success that means something to me. Why don’t you join me? It’s a new year and a new start – so it’s time to take the lead and get your life Organized With Google. Happy Resolution Rocking!

Questions? Comments? Absurd Ideas? Please feel free to comment on this post and share!