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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Efficient, Effective, and Victorious

Every year, it seems we have more to do, less time to do it, and a goalpost that seems to get further away every time we look.

Sometimes you don't even want to look. It's all just too much, too far, too far away.

I wish there were a magic bullet, some formula that would tighten up and speed up your efforts, so that the goals would fall, one by one, and you'd be able to say, "Was that all there was to it?"

No magic bullet, but there are some things you can do that will help make your efforts more efficient and effective, and will bring victories within your grasp.

  • Break it down - break down tasks into smaller pieces, with defined goals. Take vacuuming the house - think of it as a room-by-room project, and when you finish each room, acknowledge the fulfillment of that goal.
  • Set it up - set things up beforehand, so you can start working on a task when you decide to turn your hand to it. I feed 26 dogs every day; after feeding. the dishes are cleaned and set up for the next day, so when it's feeding time I can just grab them and go. If I'd leave them disorganized in the evening, facing feeding with the need to clean the dishes beforehand would make the job that much harder.
  • Avoid mission creep - once you've defined a task, don't let it become a Christmas Tree...don't let other 'stuff' get added to it. When you vacuum, then just vacuum. Don't add dusting to the immediate job.
  • Mark the finish line - when you finish a sub-task, take a short break as a reward. You may not feel you deserve a reward, but it's not just about a pat on the back. It's about drawing a line through an item on the to-do list, and looking forward - a small 'celebration' has been shown to be the most effective way to do this.
  • Do the dirty work first - almost everything we do has aspects we don;t like, and would prefer not to fave.The natural instinct is to put them off, and that's exactly the wrong thing to do. The shadow of the dirty job will hang over everything you do like a raincloud, slowing you down...because you subconsciously don't want to get there and have to face the nastiness. Instead, do the bad stuff as soon as you can, you you can realize - with relief - that you won;t have to face that job again anytime soon.
  • Visualize victory - plant a mental picture of the work done, and done well. Reinforce that image at every opportunity, because 'seeing it, attracts it'.
  • Celebrate victory - this one's about you. When you finish the major job - vacuuming the whole house, writing the novel, pulling the stumps from the yard - treat yourself to something nice. Give yourself a gift, and a break. It ends things on a high note, and that height will give you more scope and energy for the next job.
These are simple things, and won't add time to your task list. But they can make it a lot more satisfying, and satisfaction is a great climate for success.

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