24 Days Gone Already

So, we’re twenty four days into 2011 already. Almost February. My Mother tells me time continues to speed up as you get older. Ug! It’s already going past at 600mph. So fast that it’s difficult to keep the really important stuff at the front of the mind. So easy to switch the neck-top computer off, do what we have always done and miss the chances to improve on last year, no matter how good last year was.

Well that would be a shame so here’s my Top 10 list of self-management essentials to ensure you use the free will you most certainly have, but can so easily neglect.

Let’s start at number 1…

Values

Straight in at number one, since about 500 B.C….values. What do you believe in? What matters to you? Values drive all effective action. Get this right. It’s the foundation.

Purpose

Number 2…the angelic offspring of values….purpose.  The essence of leadership – whether of oneself or of others. No purpose…no point. Start with values and from them…derive your purpose. Paying the mortgage is not a purpose. You were put on the earth for a wee bit more than that.

Plan

Number 3…values and purpose…now get a plan. You are part of a plan, whether you like it or not. The only question is who writes the plan. It’s either you or someone else. If you don’t wish to be the author there are many who will take your place, but they won’t write the plan with you in the starring role.

Goals

Number 4…goals. You have a purpose…very good.  Time to get a bit more real. A bit more tangible. So, how will I achieve my purpose? Goals. Goals. Goals. Think of goals as small steps on the route to achieving your ultimate purpose.

If you don’t have goals get some help. I really mean it. When a coach/manager/mentor says to you to set goals, it’s like your doctor saying “stop smoking.” It’s not fashion. It’s not the latest thing. Just do it.

Action

Number 5…take massive action. Data collection is over. Thinking time is over. Define and focus on your high-payoff activities (the things that if you do NOT do, you will fail to achieve your goals). Work on your time management and personal productivity until you feel like you are in charge of yourself. Then you probably are.  Develop a steely, cold, single-minded determination to do what you need to do to deliver your goals and ultimately your purpose. Consider throwing away your TV. Then throw it away.

Measure

Number 6…measure. If it matters to you, measure it. No measurement…no feedback. No feedback…no catalyst for improvement. You’ve got to get very lucky very early to be successful without measuring what’s important. So, do you feel lucky? Well, do ya?

Fear

Number 7…fear. If you have a high-payoff activity that you do not do as much as you should, deal with the fear that stops you doing it. The mistake you’re probably making is attributing more pain to doing the thing than not doing it. This is easy to do because the pain of doing the thing is now, palpable and tangible. Whereas the pain of not doing it is some time off and seems less urgent. Reattribute the pain to inaction, not action. In other words, focus on the pain of regret, not the pain of discipline, as the great, late Jim Rohn said. This works.

Educate

Number 8…educate yourself. Never stop. Deepen and widen what you know and how you use it. This is better than TV. You have the time.

Humans

Number 9…partner with others. We work better in teams. Get into one. Either a mentoring group, a mastermind group or a business partnership. Something involving others. We are social and work better in teams. But beware…here be dragons. Unless those you choose to work with are in the same place as you, mentally, and share similar ambitions, they will be very bad for you, despite not being bad people.

Stop running

Number 10…take time out. This life is a marathon, not a sprint. Smell the roses.

That’s it. Why not focus on one of these areas right now…today. No matter how good 2010 was, 2011 can be better. Good luck.

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