Organization of personal goals and affairs
It is meant for increasing personal success and effectiveness in achieving goals by using a single and reliable organization system of goals and affairs, thus avoiding the anxiety caused by 'piles' of pending affairs
Can you answer these questions right now?
- How many affairs are you supposed to perform in the near future and by when?
- How many affairs would you like to perform, never mind by when?
- How to perform all the affairs and cost-effectively?
- How many affairs have you delegated to other people and whether they were performed in time?
Most of the people will become anxious or even afraid after attempting to answer these questions, realizing that they have "piles" of pending affairs, not knowing how and in what order to perform them.
The main reasons of anxiety due to pending affairs are as follows:
- Misunderstanding the goals, their reasons and image of the desired results after performing the affairs
- Fear of forgetting a few important affairs
- Lack of a complete visual list of affairs, which need to be performed
- Not knowing how to perform some affairs
- Poor understanding of the importance of affairs and the order of their performnig
- Lack of reminders about the affairs, which have a specific time frame
- Poor control over affairs that have been handed over to other people for performing
To improve personal efficiency and eliminate the reasons mentioned above, need to concentrate on the factual completion of affairs and not on thinking them over several times.
For this, these affairs need to be organized into the single system consisting of 5 repetitive actions:
There is a concept in eastern martial arts – a crystal clear mind, just like water.
A person is calm and relaxed in such a state, he does not have any fear, he is ready to utilize new opportunities that are provided by the surrounding world with each passing moment and to use them against enemies.
Therefore, to stop worrying because of the backlog of pending affairs, to relax and to start coming up with new grand ideas, one has to clear up his mind in the first place an "throw out" all the affairs from the head.
Write down everything that is bothering you at this moment on a piece of paper or on any other physical medium of storage, in order to visually sense all affairs. This would significantly relieve the mind, but not completely, this will make you more calm and relaxed. Moreover, it is extremely difficult for any person to perform an analysis of large amounts of information in the mind.
One must materialize new affairs immediately when they come up, by writing them down as "New affairs".
For more information about the process of materialization learn the method Materialization of ideas. Mental maps.
One must definitely make the goal of every affair clear, for which it needs to be performed. Not knowing the goal, the affair can be done infinitely, since it is not clear when to stop.
Materialize all the goals and prepare their hierarchy. Write down the desired result for every goal and why it is important to achieve it. Of course it would be more logical to prepare a hierarchy of goals and then write down all the affairs that would be necessary for achieving these goals – an approach from "top to bottom". But it is comparatively easier for a person to write down affairs and not goals. Therefore, if you have a difficulty with the definition of objectives, it is better to use the approach of "top to bottom", i.e. first describe all the things you want to want to carry out, and then combine them and formulate common goals.
The hierarchy of goals is like the root and trunk with branches from the "tree" of personal development, and affair - it leaves that are the first buds (pending affairs). In order to develop, you need to constantly make the trunk and branches thicker - to set more ambitious and difficult goal, and as quickly as possible to build up the leaves - the effective implementation of the affairs.
In each affair, as with the goals, there is the desired result, which is an intermediate in the way of achieving the goal. Make sure to specify it, and write next to the affair.
Determine next specific action for each affair. The man is afraid to begin to do some affairs because doesn’t know what exactly he needs to do. A fairly short time is required to understand this. It is, therefore, essential to consider each affair and it is not correct to move on to the analysis of other affairs until the next action is determined.
If difficulties arise in determining the next step, learn the methods Problems solving and Generation of useful ideas.
If there is deadline for performing an affair, then write it down next to the affair.
If it is repeated periodically, for example, compiling a weekly report on the project on Friday, then write down the periodicity next to the affair - once a week on a certain day, on certain days of the week, every day or every few days, etc.
Some affairs may have a context of performing - specific environmental conditions that are necessary to carry out the affair and without which it cannot be completed. If the affair has a context, then write it down next to the affair.
Make sure to consider whether you want to perform it yourself or you can delegate it to another person or organization. This is necessary to improve and optimize the process of achieving goals and for the saving of personal time, which will make you more relaxed and allow you to think and do more important things, but it requires the allocation of other resources (money, equipment, etc.). Make a note of the delegated affairs and who must carry them out.
Thus, the analysis of an affair consists of the following: goals, desired results, the next specific action, deadline of performing, periodicity, context and the possibility of delegating the affair to someone else.
Distribute affairs on the list after analyzing each one:
- New: add everything that worries you to this list. Analyze the affairs of the list once every 1-2 days and move them to one of the following lists.
- Perform: affairs that you have to perform personally in a short period of time fall into this list. Usually there is a deadline in such affairs for performing.
- Delegated: if the affair is assigned to another person or organization, it falls into this list, where it is specified who and by what time will perform the affair.
- Deferred: these are affairs, which you need to do or want to do only if you have free time or other resources. When you decide to perform such an affair from this list, drag it to the list of "To perform" or "Delegated" and specify the period of performing.
- Completed: After the performance of the affair from the list of "To perform" or " Delegated", move it to the list. It is a kind of archive of affairs and it is desirable to record the date of performance of the affair for the analysis of individual performing and work done, for example, last month.
- Refused: If you have decided that an affair should not be performed at all, then put it in this list. It is useful when such an affair comes out of this list but you have already forgotten it, it reappears in your memory and in order to not carry out its materialization, analysis and organization again, just check whether it is on this list.
In addition, the affairs should be classified according to their contexts. Make a list of "Calls", "At the office", "At home", "At the store" etc. Being in the appropriate context (for example "at home"), review the appropriate list ("At home") and perform affairs listed in it.
You need to set a reminder for urgent and repetitive affairs. Make a separate list of "Urgent affairs" and add such affairs and their dates for the next week-month. Review and update it every day. These reminders are extremely important because they exempt you from having to remember what and when you want to perform and make your mind cleaner. For today’s and tomorrow’s affairs, it is better to add a reminder to your phone or record them in a diary.
Distribute the goals, just like the affairs into separate lists:
- New: all the goals that need to be achieved or you which you want to achieve. These goals need to be analyzed and moved into one of the following lists.
- Achieve: goals of this list are decided to be achieved in the near future. For this goal, add all the affairs that are necessary to achieve these goals, to the system.
- Deferred: if there is enough time and other resources for the goals to be achieved later, add them to this list. If you decide to achieve any goal from this list, then drag it to the list of "To achieve".
- Achieved: After achieving a goal, transfer it to this list. Obviously, the goal cannot be achieved until all sub goals in the hierarchy of this goal are achieved. This list will help you in the analysis of your success.
After making lists of affairs and goals, determine which ones are most important and must be performed/achieved in the first place. To do this, you will have to carry out their prioritization. Write down the priority next to the affairs and goals, and it is always better to sort the lists according to priority.
After organizing your affairs in a single system of lists, you must review them periodically and make decisions on each item to update them.
Browse the list of urgent and repetitive affairs every day, preferably several times a day, so that you don’t have to worry that you forgot an affair or failed to comply with its period. Once you have identified a high priority affair in this list, start performing it and work on it until you finish it.
Browse the list of delegated affairs less often - 2-3 times a week. Every time you review this list, contact the people to whom you have delegated your affairs for performance, and check whether they have been completed, or at what stage of performance are they at the moment.
The list of pending affairs can be reviewed once a week. If there is free time to perform them, then transfer them to the list of "To perform" or "Delegated" and write down their time frames.
The lists of urgent, repetitive and delegated affairs are dynamic, so always keep them handy and browse them every day.
The lists of goals also need to be periodically reviewed and updated. These lists are tactical and strategic, so they can be reviewed once in a week or even less often.
The following advice for making a decision on the performing an affair is universal:
Always perform the most high priority affairs first.
But we must consider the following factors:
- Context: Do not begin performing an affair in the absence of the right conditions. For example, you cannot make a call without having a telephone handy. If you think a particular affair is important and it needs to be performed right now, create the appropriate context around yourself (look for the phone).
- Time: you must consider how much free time it will take for the affair to be completed fully or partly. If there is free time at the moment, start performing the affair. For example, if you have an appointment after 10 minutes, you should not start performing an affair that requires a few hours for completion, but you can always make a call or answer an email.
- Power (energy): every person has an internal biological clock, which affects the level of strength, so never start performing an affair if you do not have enough power for its performing. For example, you can perform the most difficult affairs in the morning, when you have just arrived at work and possess a lot of strength. You can keep the smaller affairs for the later part of the working day, when you already feel a bit tired.
Having decided to perform an affair, you need to make a plan of the actions that you must make to get the results.
It is needed to ensure that the next specific action being taken is correct. When it does not provide such confidence - you need to change the plan to protect personal flexibility and unpredictability for others, which increases the personal competitiveness.
Some people are afraid to start performing an affair just because they do not know exactly what is needed for its completion. Although it is enough to just think about it and write down everything that comes to the mind using the techniques of "brainstorming" or "mental maps". For some people, it suffices to imagine how they are going to perform this affair, and an action plan gets formed almost immediately.
You can plan only those affairs that have already been analyzed and organized, since it is important to have a clear idea of the desired outcome and the goal of the affair, and the materialization of the plan is required to visualize the "path" towards the result (to construct a map).
Do not be afraid to plan and to neglect these plans, the planning will become more accurate and effective with experience, but only if you are constantly engaged in it.
If difficulties arise in the preparation or execution of the plan, learn the methods Problems solving and Generation of useful ideas.
Perhaps, a few urgent or unexpected affairs might come up while you are performing an affair, for example, your boss asking you to compile a report on the ongoing work in the project or a call from a customer. You must not be afraid of or hate such affairs. They might turn out to be more important than what you were doing and would bring you more results. The ability to respond to such affairs affects your competitiveness significantly.
Critical factors for the success of the system
For this system to increase personal effectiveness, make it a point to follow these critical steps:
- Materialize absolutely all the affairs that bother you or which you fear you might forget
- Clearly articulate the desired result of the performing of an affair, and the goal to which it relates
- Distribute the affairs to the relevant lists, review and update them periodically
- The next specific action or a plan of actions must exist for each and every affair
- There must be reminders set for urgent affairs (a list, in your telephone, in a diary)
If you do not satisfy any of these critical factors, you will continue being bothered by pending affairs and you will not be able to relax and experience pleasure of achieving your goals.
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