How About a Midyear Check-in?

check inIf you are anything like me, you are amazed to realize that the midpoint of the year is upon us. It’s a great time to do a check-in with ourselves. It can be about personal goals and situations, family or groups in which you are involved, work, business or any other area of life. As the days, weeks and months seem to whiz past us – or we whiz through time on a roller coaster – a milestone like mid-point of the year can be a good reason to assess and refocus.

(If you are reading this at another point of the year, you will probably see that similar questions can be used at any point when you want to assess and regroup.)

I suggest a few simple questions to get started. Here they are:

What do you consider your accomplishments and high points of the first half of the year?
What attitudes, habits or practices helped those things happen?
What held you back from being at a different point at mid-year in each of the areas you are reviewing?
What needs to change so those things don’t hold you back in the second half of the year?
What are your major goals for the next six months? (or three months)
What do you need to do to make them happen?
What additional resources (of any kind) do you need?
When will you do your next check-in?

I am finding this very helpful. I am ending the first half of the year with a very productive last month. By actually writing down what contributed to that will help me build in things to maintain and accelerate my momentum. Identifying what held me back earlier in the year allows me to make sure those same things don’t sabotage me in the coming months.

Although it is easier to read through questions like this, think of some responses and move on, the impact will be so much greater if we write down answers. The resulting document can be kept where it is a visible reminder on those days and even weeks when life takes us off course.
May your second half of the year be enhanced by your thoughtful assessment and planning!

The link below will take you to a free PDF of the questions – a worksheet you can use for your check-in.

Midyear Check-in

Have You Discovered Timeboxing?

timeboxingI have used a variety of time management techniques over the years but somehow had never discovered Timeboxing. The idea behind it – of establishing blocks of time for certain tasks, sections of projects, etc. – certainly isn’t a brand new idea. But I’ve learned that it is ‘a thing’ in a way I had not known.

Perhaps you are like me: the likelihood of me trying a new technique or practice is increased if I know the benefits I may gain ahead of time. I need the ‘sales pitch.’ Thus finding Red Tani’s article, “5 Reasons to Practice Timeboxing” was really helpful.

Here are two of the five reasons; more explanation and the rest of the reasons are in the article:

+ Timeboxing is flexible and customizable – you can be as specific (“Write a 100 word description of my main character.”) or as vague (“Make some progress on my novel.”) as you like. …Timeboxes can also be used for activities other than work. You can timebox chores to turn them into games….(and) timebox unproductive activities.

 

+ Timeboxing lets you flow – …During flow, you focus all your emotional and intellectual capacity on the task at hand, allowing you to achieve your best work.

The only thing you need to use this technique is some kind of timer. It can be on your phone, watch, or computer; there are lots of options for timer software online. It’s much better to set a timer than to be checking your clock to see what time it is. Just work on your task until you hear or see the signal indicating the end of the appointed timeframe.

I’m looking forward to using this technique as I move into the new year. I would love to hear your comments if you already are a Timeboxer (is that a word?)!!

Tips for Making Resolutions & Planning That Succeed

resolutionsWhether you are a resolution maker or a planner (there is a difference), lots of advice is floating around the internet at this time of year. In fact, I suggested an approach in an earlier post: Would Kaizen Concepts Enhance Your Planning and Goal Achievement?

Melody Wilding on her blog, melodywilding.com offers us some great ideas. First, she gives several reasons why many resolutions made at the beginning of the year fail, and then offers four approaches to integrate into your process that can increase your chances of success. Using those approaches can move your resolutions into the realm of real planning that can move you forward in the areas you choose.

One of her suggestions is to “bulletproof your resolution …. Bolster it against the craziness of daily life.” Check out her post : Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Suck (And How to Create Goals that Actually Work).

 

 

Would Kaizen Concepts Enhance Your Planning and Goal Achievement?


KaizenAt this time of year, most of us are making plans for the coming year at some level. It may be strictly personal – how we want 2019 to be as far as health, relationships, spiritual and self-development, and so on. We may also be planning for our job/career/business. There are a variety of approaches from which to choose. Perhaps you have a way to set goals and plan that has worked for you and you use that basic approach each year. Perhaps you try new angles or tools each year. Or perhaps you combine approaches.

You may be feeling overwhelmed with the options. Many approaches to planning focus on identifying large goals that will stretch you as you work toward their achievement. This has benefits and often great results. I recently read an article that advocates for a different approach.

Melissa Ricker proposes the use of the Japanese technique called Kaizen – a focus on continuous improvement which keeps you moving forward without burning out or becoming discouraged if pursuing the huge goals feels overwhelming. Melissa describes the benefits this way:

Looking for small, continuous improvements means resisting the lure of magic bullet solutions that are destined to fail. It means accepting that small wins are just as important as big wins. It means facing up to challenges rather than shrinking away from them. Kaizen will shift your thought patterns to see opportunities where you once saw problems.

Does that sound appealing to you? I encourage you to explore Kaizen and see if it fits for you as your main approach as you plan for 2019, or if you want to try it in conjunction with something else that works for you.

Planning for continuous improvement can indeed be incorporated into the process of achieving the large goals. If you include those improvement steps into the process, acknowledge and celebrate them as you go along, it can move you along in a profound way.
Kaizen is also a mindset for daily living. If we are always looking for ways to make small improvements in ways we do even the most mundane things, it enhances our everyday experience.

Melissa Ricker’s blog is http://aconsciousrethink.com.

Looking Back and Moving Forward


As one year ends and another begins, we have an opportunity to pause and decide how we want the next twelve months to be different than the past twelve.  Or perhaps this year has been incredible in every way for you and you want to increase the likelihood that this year will be equally good. We don’t always have to make things different; we want to enjoy what we experienced again. Constantly pushing for better, bigger, more flashy can be exhausting and not at all fulfilling.

The year end/year beginning hoopla is artificial at one level, but generations of people have used this time to intentionally decide on directions rather than flow from one month to the next, one year to the next, and one decade to the next. If the past year was not one of your happiest, most productive, most fulfilled, you may be especially thinking about how to turn things in other directions.  In fact, if that is the case, I encourage you to use some of the great ideas and strategies that are being promoted all around us to design your fresh start.

If you had a great year, reflect on what it made it that way and how to sustain or even boost the reality to another level.

For many of us, we are completing neither a particularly challenging year nor a spectacular year.  It was somewhere in between. Depending on your attitude and aspirations, you may either continue along the same paths or decide you want to change some things that will boost your overall experience.

Often a tool or strategy can get us going on a process that we have thought about but not really begun. A Year-End Review Journal is one of those tools.  Print it out and set aside some time – one extended period, or spread out over a few days – to respond to the questions that will help you reflect on the past twelve months.  The questions help you to think beyond the obvious events or high/lowlights to some meanings and what was significant. These will move you toward setting some priorities, parameters, intentions and plans for the coming year.

Please provide your name and email address in the box above so you can get this digital download and start the process. I hope you enjoy it and find it beneficial!!

Regrouping for the Rest of the Year


Time to Regroup
Whew! How time flies!  Some of us may be feeling like the year so far was productive and satisfying. And some of us, myself included, may be nearly in shock that at this point of the year so little of what we hoped to accomplish is a reality. The good news is that this is a good time to make a fresh start. Regrouping for the rest of the year now can bear much fruit in the months to come.

Here are five steps  that each of us can take to get a fresh start and make the rest of the year great.

Step #1: Take a brief time to list the things that you believe got in the way of making the past months what you had hoped.  Some would call these excuses, and there are no valid excuses.  Others view them as just a reality: life happens, and as it does, we make choices.  So that we can focus on the future, let’s get these excuses/reasons out on the table.

Step #2: Again briefly, think of ways you could have done things differently so that you could have moved forward despite the factors that got in your way.

Step #3: Commit to using these strategies if these or similar things threaten to derail your intentions for the rest of the year.

Step #4: Decide on your intentions and goals for the rest of the year.

Step #5: Use this resource to help you accomplish your priorities: The 12 Week Year – Get More Done In 12 Weeks Than Other Do In 12 Months

This resource not only provides easy to follow strategies, it actually gives a whole new perspective on time and how to use it to get where you want to go. It is effective in the workplace and personally. The process and framework focuses us on 12 week time periods. No matter the point in the year, we can focus on the next 12 week periods in the rest of this year and into the next. Think how much we can accomplish!

Here are comments posted on Amazon about this resource:

+ The book is an excellent guide for how to compress our goals into timeframes that allow us to get more done, sooner. Three authors clearly establish WHY the 12-week will help you and more importantly, HOW to implement a 12-week year.
Case studies across verticals show how the concepts can be applied both individually and corporately.

+ I accomplished more with this program than I ever would have without it. I am applying this not only to my business, but our homeschool year and my homemaking/home improvement efforts.

I highly recommend you check out this book through my affiliate link and join me in making the rest of 2018 spectacular.  I would love to hear from you as you use this framework and process! Here’s the link again: The 12 Week Year


12 Week Year

PROCRASTINATION: IS IT HAMPERING YOUR TRANSFORMATION?

Now and laterAll of us procrastinate sometimes….don’t we? I surely do. In fact I am in a pressure situation right now because of my procrastination. I have continually put off a task that includes a learning curve to be able to use a software program. There are always plenty of things to do that I can just DO, regardless of their priority. In this case, the task is related to a part time job I have; in other cases I delay doing things I know will help me transform my life in one way or another.

I have allowed myself to think of much procrastination as benign, and in fact it can be useful. By procrastinating on some things, it may turn out that they weren’t necessary or important in the first place. That can be true; it can be a passive way to prioritize.

Timothy Pychyl, who has done much research on the topic, points out that “all procrastination is delay, but not all delay is procrastination.” Procrastination is a very special type of postponement.

The dictionary definitions of procrastination do not reflect the more benign approach. Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary calls it “To put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.” Oxford English Dictionary defines procrastination as a postponement, “often with the sense of deferring though indecision, when early action would have been preferable,” or as “defer[ing] action, especially without good reason.”

This is causing me to look at how I think of my “delays” in doing things. I want to be more intention in sorting out things that are priority – important and important and urgent – from those that are not. That will allow the things I truly don’t need to do now, or perhaps ever, to be on a list but not nagging me as much. And those things I truly need to do sooner rather than later will be clear.
Of course that doesn’t mean that I will automatically stop procrastinating on those important tasks! So I found an article by Alexandra Sutcliffe that included these four suggestions for how to deal with procrastination:

  • “Write down you list of goals, breaking them into manageable chunks. Too big a goal and your eyes will gloss over it on the list, but broken into segments and you’ll feel more like tackling one at a time.
  • Set up a reward for later. Try disconnecting your laptop from the internet for a set period, after which you can relax and reconnect. This way you’re not denying yourself, you’re merely deferring the pleasure until you’ve got something done.
  • Attach one task to another, such as, a daily walk you enjoy, followed by the ten minutes of language study you keep putting off. Creating a routine will make any task feel more achievable.
  • If you constantly catch yourself admitting how you never get things done, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, use affirmations to spur yourself on. Remember, affirmations must always be positive, and in the present tense. Try, ‘I take charge and get things done. I seize the moment and take action’.”

Perhaps you will find these tips helpful, also. Here is the link to the entire article: Top Tips for Dealing With Procrastination

If you are interested in a good resource about this topic, I recommend
this concise book by Timothy A. Pychyl (quoted above):
Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change 

Have You Chosen Your Word for the Year?

BreakthroughIf you haven’t chosen your word for the year yet, it is likely that you have heard people talking about doing it. You may have seen posts on social media of the words people have chosen and why.  Or it may be new to you, as it was to me until a month or so ago.  Oh, I may have heard of it in passing, but it is the first time I have learned about it and considered choosing and using a word for the year myself.

I was particularly inspired to use the one word for the year practice, and perhaps an additional few words, by my mentor, Connie Ragen Green, in her early January blog post on the topic, Connie Ragen Green: Theme 2018 . You will find more information there.

As I look at it, one of the great values of this practice is to assist in FOCUS. I don’t know about you, but I have disappointed myself over and over when I didn’t end the year having accomplished the things I said I would do.  At the beginning of multiple years, I have said to myself: THIS is the year when I really create a functioning, profitable online business.  And for the past two years, I have said: THIS is the year when I will make the move to California to be near my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren again. And I could go on….

For some people, the time has passed for setting a focus and doing the beginning of the year rituals and preparation.  But it is never too late to make a fresh start. Maybe you – as I have been – were involved in so many other things at the very end of last year and the first weeks of this year. We can just do those things now.  I have chosen my Word for the Year as BREAKTHROUGH.  It applies to several areas of my life and I look forward to seeing these breakthroughs become reality!

As you will see in the book, key to this being an effective strategy is keeping the word visible constantly.  Be creative in how you keep it in front of you – on your computer, on your phone, in your office, on a mirror, as the central word on a vision or dream board, etc. Each time I see “BREAKTHROUGH” if gives me a little jolt out of the auto pilot I may be falling into.  Simple and powerful!

I encourage you to check out a book that is the main source for this growing strategy for getting where you want to go.  Here is my affiliate link:   One Word That Will Change Your Life

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Never Too Late for a Fresh Start!

Fresh StartWe as humans need milestones to measure and regulate the flow of our lives. “New Year” is one of those milestones.  It is one of the ways we avoid the hamster-on-the-wheel feeling of one day, one week, one month, one year blending into the next with little changing. It is an opportunity to make fresh starts. But it isn’t too late!  We can make a fresh start any time.

An exciting and sometimes overwhelming aspect of the end of a year is the abundance of ideas, tools, and investment opportunities related to the “new start” of the calendar flipping over to a new year.  They begin in December, and it seems to me, are increasingly being promoted into the new year. This makes a lot of sense since many of us are consumed by holiday activities of many kinds during December.

Through the early months of the year, there continue to be offerings in my email box and on social media about making 2018 a stellar year.  At the time when, statistics indicate, many people who did their new year’s resolutions “on time” are letting those new aspirations and plans fade a bit or have given up on them, some of us are focusing on how 2018 can be better.

I admit, I am doing my real fresh start work now.  And it is okay.  You can do it too.  Even if you are reading this in March or June or September, you can make a fresh start NOW.

One of the downsides of the big annual “new year’s resolutions” push is that the timeline is “this year I will” – and so if we don’t do something right away, it is okay.  We still have 11 months, or 10 or 9 or….. more months to accomplish what we had set as our goal.  Believe me, I have done that repeatedly! It is amazing how those months fly past and before I know it, another year has passed.  Given that history of mine, I have been overjoyed to find a resource that I believe will make a huge difference in my ability to reach my goals and dreams.

This resource not only provides easy to follow strategies, it actually gives a whole new perspective on time and how to use it to get where you want to go.  The 12 Week Year – Get More Done In 12 Weeks Than Other Do In 12 Months is a process and framework that focuses us on 12 Week time periods. And of course 12 week time periods can start any time we choose.

I highly recommend you check out this book through my affiliate link and join me in doing our fresh start work now.  I would love to hear from you as you use this framework and process!  Here’s the link to learn more about it:   The 12 Week Year