You might have heard the old saying: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” A humorous play on words with good intentions still might make you feel a little uneasy.
As Practice Building Consultant here at the Academy, a large part of my job is helping others succeed with their goals through effective planning. A common road block many encounter is wrestling with time management and often feeling like there is not enough of it. We all wish we could have all the time in the world, but sadly there is no magic trick. We have only so many hours during the day and how you make the best of them is up to you.
Now contemplate this… it’s estimated the human mind processes 70,000 thoughts each day! Just thinking about how much time we spend thinking might give you a headache. But don’t let roadblocks like time and overwhelming thoughts stand in the way of your success. What’s the secret to organizing your time to make sure you’re heading down the right path? Consider these helpful tips:
- Go to your happy place. No really, go to a place that makes you feel at peace. Sit down in a quiet, secluded area, take in the scenery and sit with your thoughts. Pausing and deliberately taking time to plan will make a world of difference.
- Get it all out. The thoughts racing in your brain need a solid place to land. Whether it’s putting ink to paper, typing on your iPad or recording your thoughts – get it out! Materializing ideas and goals gives you control over them and allows you to bring them to life where they are more tangible and manageable.
- Know thyself. Identify those routines or habits that get in the way of achieving your goals. Do you have calendar reminders set but you constantly hit snooze or ignore? What works for someone else might not work for you and that’s okay. Try different approaches until you find what works best.
- Use tools to keep you on track. First, think about how you learn best. Are you a visual, auditory or maybe a hands-on type of learner? Then, use those tools that match your style. Reminders on sticky notes, using a note taking software, a recording device for your thoughts, an app on your smart phone, a whiteboard in the office… the possibilities are endless.
- Stick to it. Once you find what works for you, use the same system again and again. It’s like instructions on a shampoo bottle…Lather. Rinse. Repeat! Lather. Rinse. Repeat!
- Positive reinforcements. Reward yourself when you’ve completed what you set out to do. Treat yourself to a nice relaxing massage or another half hour of golf. And every so often remember to stop and look at how much you’ve accomplished.
Now the next time you hear that exasperating old saying, you can look it dead in the eye and say “bring it on!”
Practice Building Consultant
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555