The way our minds are hard-wired prevents us from following through on our goals and on the promises we make to ourselves. Basic human nature causes us to move in the direction of what gives us pleasure and to move away from what might cause pain or discomfort. Overcoming this natural tendency of doing what feels good and not doing what doesn’t feel good is a real challenge.
To conquer your time and organization-management problems, you must do things differently – and that means change. For most of us, it’s natural to resist change. Here are some reasons why:
Fear of unknown results and/or consequences.
Fear of making the wrong decision.
Lack of belief.
To conquer the fear of change, keep in mind these simple steps:
Focus on the outcome you desire.
Take one step at a time.
Reward yourself for getting started and staying on track.
These strategies will help you follow through and can be applied to any goal you set for yourself:
Create bold, compelling reasons why you need to achieve your goal of getting more organized. Make it more painful to not move forward with your organization plan than to do so. One way to accomplish this is to consider how great you will feel if you are organized. Write down all of the benefits and rewards you’ll receive by getting organized and managing your time.
Strike while the iron is hot. Don’t delay in getting started.
Tough it out. Do whatever it takes to stay on track for the first few weeks.
Don’t go it alone. Ask associates to partner with you. Keep each other on track and accountable to your goals.
Believe to achieve
Perhaps the most important aspect of changing your behavior to accomplish something new is this: You become what you believe you can become and/or accomplish. Belief in the attainment of any goal is a critical requirement for the achievement of that goal. You must deploy every strategy and tactic you have in order to build belief. Do whatever works best for you – from writing down affirmations to visualization to giving yourself rewards for incremental progress. If you’re not sure what tactic works best for you, try them all.
Now that we’ve handled the psychological issues related to following through on any goal, let’s look at some actions to take in order to conquer your organization and time-control issues.
Identify time-wasters. Discover your time-wasting activities and what gets in the way of your being organized. For each time-waster, create an action plan to either eliminate it or reduce its impact.
Define your workflow. Determine all of your necessary activities each week and allocate the ideal amount of time it takes to accomplish each one.
Create the perfect week. Create an ideal workweek. Physically block off time in your calendar each week to accomplish each activity you identified above, along with the amount of time necessary to accomplish it.
Build reserves. Build some fail-safe time into your schedule. For example, block off every Friday afternoon as reserve time. You can use this time to catch up on unfinished work or uncompleted tasks. Or if you’re totally caught up, head home early or reward yourself with something that gives you pleasure.
Do laser planning. Set aside time every day to review today and plan for tomorrow.
As William James once said, “Nothing is as fatiguing as the continued hanging on of an uncompleted task.” Now is the time to get organized. Begin by scheduling an appointment with yourself to write out the steps you will take to conquer your organization and time-control issues. Good luck on your journey to success.
Robert A. Arzt, CLU, ChFC, LLIF, is founder and president of Polaris One and InsuranceCoachU.com. He is a NAIFA member, and the author of the book, “What Every Great Salesperson Knows, A No Nonsense Guide to Sales Success,” and the soon to be released course, “Time Management Boot Camp.” Contact him at [email protected].