Perhaps the most frequent questions that I hear in my sales-coaching practice are “Can you help me get organized, once and for all?” And “I don’t have enough time each day to accomplish everything that needs to get done. Can you help me?”
Are people saying they don’t know how to get organized or manage their day? Probably not. The answer to these questions lies in a deeper, more fundamental pair of problems: (a) getting started and (b) following through on goals and strategies. Disorganization and busyness are two obstacles that can keep us from focusing on the larger picture: our goals, such as growing our businesses; or finding ways to work less and earn more.
The Best Intentions
We want to improve and achieve in both our business and personal lives. However, human nature leads us down the path of least resistance, which interferes with our ability to follow through on our goals and the promises we make to ourselves. Each day, we are faced with many choices about what to do and how to do it. We tend to move toward what gives us pleasure and away from painful or uncomfortable things.
Don’t feel discouraged. There are strategies you can use to overcome this natural tendency to do what feels good instead of what you need do to do accomplish your goals. Here are 4 you can apply to any goal you set for yourself.
? Create bold, compelling reasons to follow through on your goal. Make it more painful to not move forward than to do so. For example, focus on how not being organized makes you feel. The more you exaggerate this consequence in your mind, the more likely you’ll be to follow through on your plan. Strike while the iron is hot; don’t delay in getting started.
When you thoroughly understand why reaching your goals is important and the rewards that you will attain by reaching them, you are more apt to follow through with the action required. There is no wrong answer; they are your goals. Define and own them, then move forward to achieve them.
? Start with small goals. You might, for example, start by clearing that stack of paper in your in-box, then get into the habit of clearing out the box regularly. Build upon this habit by aiming higher with the next goal (in this case, clearing the stacks of paper from your credenza).
Tough it out: Do whatever it takes to stay on track and focused for the first few weeks, even if that means cutting back on the number of projects you work on. I’ve learned in my coaching practice that you need to keep the large end-goal in mind, but that you also need to break it down into smaller projects along the way. When you break it all down into smaller milestones, instead of trying to get from A to Z all at one time, you are more apt to succeed. Remember the old saying: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
? Don’t go it alone. Ask associates to partner with you. Keep each other on track and accountable regarding your respective goals. Alternatively, find people you would not want to disappoint, and make a promise to them. There is strength in numbers. If you surround yourself, or at least pair up, with positive and goal-driven people, some of their energy will motivate you, as well.
When those around you know that you have set goals you’d like to achieve, they will most likely be supportive and help you stay on track. A cheerleader on the sidelines, or a caring coach or partner, can increase your chances of staying on-target.