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STOP ROLLING THE DICE! 2013 Resolution: Focus on what NOT to do…

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It’s hip to focus on getting things done; check marking and scratching things off the proverbial “To Do” list.  Often times, the biggest challenge is deciding which task to tackle first.  Even more often, we find ourselves either accomplishing nothing or only a little bit of everything.  As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results; so why not try something different this year.  If you have trouble deciding what to do, try focusing on what not to do.  This list of 10 things not to do can help you get closer to successfully attaining your goals.

DO NOT get caught up in resolution overload-
Don’t try to change all of your unhealthy habits at the same time. Try to replace one unhealthy habit with a healthy one before moving onto the next. Set small, measurable and attainable goals that will yield feedback and results within a few weeks. Break goals down into daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly milestones.  Don’t expect them to take the full year to materialize.

DO NOT be owned by possessions-
Go through a “de-cluttering”. You may find that so much of your previous brain activity was run by stress, commitments and money that was put into vehicles, vices, up- grades and space to keep stuff working or just maintained.  Once you look critically at what you truly need, no longer will you need to tolerate all of these additional vacuums for your thoughts and moods.

DO NOT check e-mail constantly-
E-mails can certainly be an important and valuable tool, but the sad fact is people let their inbox rule their day. Set time aside daily where you respond to e-mails, typically later in the day. Earlier in the day you will want to do things that will move your business and daily goals forward. When you are answering e-mails, you’re in the reactive mode – you’re responding to other people’s needs.  Typically, when you respond to an e-mail it only needs to be a few short sentences. If you realize it will take longer, usually a quick phone call will handle it better than an e-mail. Most e-mails can wait 48 to 72 hours for a response. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night.  The former scrambles your priorities and plans for the day, and the latter just gives you insomnia. E-mail can wait until 10am; after you’ve completed at least one of your critical to-do items.

DO NOT promise to multi-task-
The truth is, there is great power in Single Tasking. If you multi-task, you tend to switch gears between what you should be doing and what you shouldn’t – the important vs. the useless tasks. Every time you shift gears to work on something else, you are not giving your priorities your full attention. It is very important to absorb yourself in one thing at a time; give it your fullest attention and complete it before moving on.

DO NOT carry your cell phone 24/7-
Take a break from daily digital leashes at least one day per week. Turn them off or, better still, leave them in the garage or in the car. Choose one day a week to leave your cell phone turned off and consider leaving it at home if you go out for dinner.

DO NOT let work become your life-
Work cannot fill the void of non-work relationships and activities. Your co-workers shouldn’t be your only friends. Schedule life and defend it just as you would an important business meeting. Never tell yourself, “I’ll just get it done this weekend”.  Parkinson’s Law states, “work expands to fill the time available for its completion” – if you give yourself a week to complete a two hour task,  (psychologically speaking) the task will increase in complexity and become more daunting so as to fill the entire week.  It may not fill the extra time with more work, but just stress and tension about having to get it done. By assigning the right amount of time to a task, we preserve time; which in turn will reduce the complexity of tasks to their natural state.

DO NOT work more to fix overwhelm-
If you don’t prioritize, everything seems urgent and important. If you define the single most important task for each day, almost nothing seems urgent or important. The answer to overwhelm is not spinning more plates — or doing more — it’s prioritizing and defining the few things that can really fundamentally change your business and life.

DO NOT allow yourself to work while hungry-
You will be less efficient; you will bring a negative energy to the things you do; you will become agitated and ineffective.  The key is to eat small meals with a balance of protein, healthy fats and high fiber every two to three hours.  These meals should sustain you until the next meal. This kind of eating strategy will help you feel good, give you energy and will keep you focused.

DO NOT focus on “lack”-
You are who you are and you have what you have, RIGHT NOW!  Hold on to this strongly and focus on it.  Remember that like begets like and so lack begets lack.  The energy you spend on what you don’t have can more effectively be spent on finding ways of getting what you want.  It is important to find POSITIVE thoughts/things/actions that inspire and help you move forward.

… and last but not least…

DO NOT stop making fun of yourself-
People who take themselves too seriously miss out on a whole lot of fun.

The preliminary step of prioritizing tasks is much easier once we remove the constant static and distractions that keep us from succeeding.  The important and attainable goals will reveal themselves by this process of eliminating your clutter-generating habits.  Once you have clarity on the tasks at hand, you can start setting goals that are not only SMART, but SMARTER…

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timeframe, Evaluate, Reward

Question?  What resolutions have you made either personally or in your business life and

 how did you keep them or did you fall into the resolution trap?

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Author: Andrea Schlapia

Over 20 years of experience in the financial industry and thousands of business professionals • Founder and CEO of Ironstone, • Certified Myers-Briggs Master Practitioner, performance culture and sales communication strategist • Certified Executive Coach through Coach U • Dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker at national conferences, breakout sessions and “lunch and learn” events • Motivating and real-world tactics delivered through value-added programs for Wirehouse, Independent and Banking channels • Accolades for the highest program evaluations and continuous return-speaking requests. • Dedicated to inspiring people to achieve bottom-line results for sustainable change: Andrea works with entrepreneurs and business professionals from various fields, striving to find and fill the gaps of each practice entrusted to Ironstone's care. Email Andrea with your practice management questions: info@ironstonehq.com

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