A bird does not sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song.

29 March 2010

The first quarter of 2010 is almost over!

It flew by for me, thanks in part to an exciting and profitable client contract and the promise of more coming down the pike. As often happens when a "good gig" comes along, I'm awash in the daily details of what's currently in front of me, and getting a bit behind in some of the less urgent (but still quite important) aspects of my life. Fortunately, I have some mechanisms for addressing that so it doesn't get out of hand.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge David Allen fan, and once again, his methods apply to this situation, although I would qualify that by saying the GTD philosophy is necessary but not sufficient. I've been using OmniFocus with good success to capture and categorize the "stuff" in my head, and would recommend that fine software package to those who are in search of a good workflow management app for your computer/PDA. I'm sort of keeping up with weekly reviews, a habit that requires a good deal of discipline but is absolutely worth whatever it takes to establish.

Perhaps the most critical piece of the puzzle, and one I hope you have as a repeating appointment in your calendar as I do, is a periodic (at least quarterly and preferably monthly) review of your strategic plan. Assuming you chose to set some goals for this year, whether they were SMART goals, wild wishes, New Year's Resolutions, or even just hopes and dreams, it's right about now when they tend to be permanently lost if you haven't pulled them out to assess your progress.

What I've discovered about myself in using OmniFocus is that having my "stuff" captured and interpreted into doable tasks is only half the battle. Finding the motivation and managing my physical and mental energy to tackle the items on the list is just as, if not more difficult than the capture process itself. Everything on the list is something I put there, not someone else's arbitrary idea of what I ought to be doing. Yet a bewildering array of distractions is always available: interesting TV shows, new books, nice weather (for a change!), and of course the highly addictive Internet. Periodically reviewing my progress toward my larger goals becomes the fuel on my motivational fire, providing the clarity that allows me to focus my attention on the things I have decided are important to me. It also provides a critical reality check, giving me the opportunity to change my mind about one or more of my goals based on whatever new information has come to light since I wrote them. I may need to change some, eliminate some, and add others. The key is to do so in an intentional way, and so not permit external forces to change my goals for me.

When was the last time you pulled out your list of dreams or goals for 2010? Is now the right time to do that? If not, when is? Make an appointment with yourself and put it on your calendar right now. Even if you decide to throw every last goal out the window and write up a whole new batch, you'll feel so much better for having done it on purpose.

As always, let me know if I can help.

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