Reducing your forward momentum is the first step to freeing yourself from the beliefs, habits, feelings and busyness that may be limiting you. ~ Peter Bregman
We start each day knowing we’re not going to get everything done. Every year, we reflect on our progress and wonder where the time went. Why haven’t we completed our innumerable to-do lists?
My clients often ask, “How do I know that I am doing a good job?” I work with people who are very self-aware who often receive little or no professional feedback, unless something goes terribly wrong. While we assume we’re doing our best to juggle work, family and friends, we often move along a path that isn’t quite right. The majority of people that I coach do not receive performance reviews, and if they do it is a routine check-list with little or no conversation about how they are really doing. If the information exchanged is not helpful for their professional growth, then the review is a formality and a waste of time.
Even if we recognize an aberration, we may refuse to change course or intentionally become distracted. We instinctively know, nonetheless, that we can improve. Reading another “do-it-now” time-management book isn’t the answer. It may, in fact be just a way of procrastinating. It’s important to not let your mind wander by trying to analyze why you’re stuck and why you’re putting it off. If you find yourself experiencing anxiety, do your best to ignore these negative and debilitating thoughts. We need to break our self-sabotaging patterns to ward off the unimportant, interrupt our inertia and start feeling good about our accomplishments.
Harvard Business Review columnist and consultant Peter Bregman offers four starting points in 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done (Business Plus, 2011):
- Where are you now? Are you doing the right things, with the right people, in the right way to make the most of who you are?
- What is this year about? On which five areas of focus (work and personal) do you want to spend most of your time over the next year?
- What is this day about? How do you concretely structure your day so it’s productive, satisfying and capable of measurably fulfilling your five identified focal areas?
- What is this moment about? How do you get started, manage distractions and stay on track?
You’ve probably known for some time that you need to apply focus and make smart, thoughtful decisions about what’s worth doing (and what’s not).
In my next blog post, I will share some simple tools and tactics to help you follow through on these decisions—and even enjoy the process.
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