This is the fourth post in a series on re-inventing yourself. So far, we have looked at 5 thoughts that stand between you and your dreams and baby-steps you can take to begin working toward your dreams. Today we will look at the steps that you can take in order to start planning a new course of action for your life.
My journey toward starting my own business has been punctuated by spurts and paralysis. When I first began this website, I worked as close to 24/7 as I possibly could. I amassed an incredible momentum, creating pages quickly, researching and developing the SEO, networking, and writing guest articles to get my name out there. At one point, my goal was to write 100 comments a week!
As I rode this wave, I found that I was getting very little sleep and often forgetting to eat. The creation, the plan, and the excitement became an addiction, and nothing could stop me!....That is, until I hit a slump.
I was tired from all the working, and I was not seeing the results I had been hoping for. I began to panic, and then to become paralyzed. The to-do list became too long, and I found that I was unable to take even the smallest step forward.
When moving forward with the creation of your own plan, be sure to account for the surges and slumps in energy. The most important thing to remember about planning is that plans can and will change!
Here are some steps you can take in creating and managing your own plan:
1. First, write down EVERYTHING that you need to do.
I kept my list in a spreadsheet. Write every task you need to do. Dump it all out on paper. Don't even worry about putting things in order at this point.
2. Set a specific goal and eliminate everything that does not have to be done before this goal is met.
That's right. I told you to write your list BEFORE setting your goal! This is because the list can become overwhelming, and it can become difficult to think clearly until it is all down on paper.
So once you have written your list, set a goal. My goal was to have my website go live. So I eliminated everything that did not have to be done before that happened. It is so easy to get sidetracked on fun--but not yet essential--activities, and this can make it easy to lose track of the goal.
3. List your planned steps in order, and set tentative due dates for each of them.
"Tentative" is the key word here. Be prepared for the dates to change, and understand that this does not mean that you have failed. Allow time for life to happen, when you are planning your dates. Plan on things taking as much as twice as long as you think they will.
4. Set realistic goals for each day.
Assign yourself tasks to complete each day. Make sure that you are assigning no more than three things, because these are the minimum that you need to get done. When the surge hits, you will go above and beyond, but still keep your "required" tasks to a minimum. This will help prevent perfectionism.
5. Make sure the surge is a controlled sprint.
When you are experiencing the high-energy surge, set some boundaries on your mind, in order to harness its full power. First, make sure that you are still setting a reasonable amount for your daily goals, so that you will not feel overwhelmed when the surge is over. And make meeting your basic needs a priority. Be sure to get adequate sleep, eat well, stay hydrated, and spend time with your family.
6. Keep moving through the slump.
Don't let the slump discourage you. Listen to what your mind is saying. Do you need to take a few days--or even a week--off? Are there other things in your life that need your focus at the moment? There is nothing wrong with taking a few days to give yourself a break, and to recoup some of your energy.
After doing that, look at your remaining tasks and break them into smaller tasks. Set one baby-step as your daily goal. Focus on taking one small step each day, until your energy returns. The slump will not last forever.
For help in getting started with a plan to change your course in life, consider an individual e-mail, chat or video session.