As we wind down from the first 90 days of 2016, some of you have intuitively taken time to reflect on your Life Plan, measuring your progress from the decisions you made back in late December, and aiming for better results in a few key areas that were important to you. If that sounds like you, I hope you will celebrate your victories and personally thank those who helped you move your intentions to actions this past winter. Personal notes are good, as are personal calls… but make sure the people who have inspired you know how much they mean to you!
The rest of you are thinking, “Oh no. I didn’t do half of what I set out to do this winter, and now I’m behind on my goals for the year.” Don’t panic yet. This is spring and you have time to make up for a slow start to get your year back on track. But it will take action, and now is the time to make the changes required. So let’s get to it!
First, are you reading your Life Plan weekly? If not, why aren’t you? If you took the time to draft one and it reflects the things you care about most, what keeps you from connecting with it weekly in order to help keep you on track? Make a commitment today to carve out 15 minutes a week to pull it out, review it, and journal the actions you feel compelled to take each week based on what you wrote. Don’t try to do 10+ new things each week – just try one! Think about it, choosing one new action item a week could significantly change your life in one year!
With your Life Plan now in hand, take a look at your calendar. Can you see clearly where your priorities are showing up each week? If not, why? Perhaps you have too many activities filling up your days that are keeping you from taking action on the plans you have made. This is where coaching can really help you. Share the distractions with your coach and give them permission to help you learn how to say “no” to more things. If you are like most leaders who get overloaded, learning how to say “no” to good things to say “yes” to the right things can shift your results from good to great.
A tool I love to use is called “Keep-Start-Stop” and you can do it with nothing more than a journal page. Review your calendar for the year to date and write down all of your activities on one of three lists. Keep the actions that are delivering the results you are aiming for. Start doing the things you said you would do that are aimed at the results you desire. Stop doing the things that are not delivering results based on your goals and desired outcomes. And, be relentless with these lists. Your potential to make corrections at this point depends heavily on your ability to make changes now!
One last suggestion. If you are feeling overwhelmed and you just can’t seem to keep track of where your days are going, consider this: freeze your social media for one month. Literally, turn it off, delete the icon applications from your screens, and take note of the time that opens up. You can also try turning off the auto-send/receive function in your email. These are the two most common distractions I see all leaders get caught up in. The third? Failure to time-block.
Hopefully you can see that these are best practices that have helped hundreds of successful leaders just like you. Decide today to live the Life Plan out to its greatest potential, one day at a time, and make the changes that will give you satisfaction when we check your progress in the summer… time to get going!