WOULD YOU RATHER HERD CATS THAN ORGANIZE YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Yeah, it gets hectic sometimes.  You work.  Your spouse works.  Meals have to be cooked.  Errands have to be run.  The kids need help with homework, have extra-curricular activities to be taken to and they still want you to take them to the water park.  As if that’s not enough, you still want to get to the gym, get that continuing education in and have some me time.  Oh, and you still need to get a decent night’s sleep in, right?

Sound familiar at all?  Chances are, you’ve seen yourself in there at least once if not multiple times.  Modern life is anything but slow and steady.  About the only thing you can predict is that it will be unpredictable.  It’s no wonder that so many of us are throwing up our hands in surrender and saying they just can’t get everything done that needs to be done in the course of a week, let alone get the entire family working together on the same page.  But take heart, it can be done.  I’m not going to blow smoke and use mirrors.  It takes some effort.  But once you have a few simple systems in place and the habits to go along with them, you’ll be amazed at how much clutter and chaos you can cut out of your family life in exchange for manageable order.  So, let me share with you a few tools and tips you can use to bring more sanity to your household.

First, set aside time for a family meeting.  This is an important first step.  In order for this process to work everyone must be on the same page and all members of the family need to feel that their opinion matters and that they are not being left out of the decision process.  A great time to do this would be after dinner while everyone is at the table or you could even schedule another time that centers around food or some other fun activity.  The idea is to make it a positive setting and not a drudgery.  At that meeting you will decide everything else that follows in this article.

Set family goals.  There has to be a buy-in for every family member.  In other words, what am I going to get out of this?  Once you identify the benefits to each person then they have a greater reason for joining in.  For instance, will you be able to entertain more because the house is neat and therefore not an embarrassment to potential guests?  Will meals be more satisfying and easier to prepare when everyone pitches in and gets what they want to eat?  Will confusion be cut down and the aggravation that comes along with it?  Will there be more peace in the home and thus more happy times?  These are powerful incentives to getting family members onboard with the program!

Schedule time to declutter.  Schedule a date for everyone to pitch in and help declutter.  I suggest you pick one room for each day, then another and another until you work your way through the home.  Here are a few tips for decluttering on the days that you schedule it to be done:

  1. Set up sort bins with the following labels: Keep, Toss, Donate and Sell.  If you’ve used it in the last year and will use it again in the next year, keep it.  If you no longer have a use for it but someone else could, either donate or sell it.  If you haven’t used it in the last year and it’s of no use to anyone else, that’s a definite toss.
  2. Work in a clockwise fashion. Pick a point anywhere in the room to be 12 O’clock and, starting from there, work your way around the room until you end up where you began, at 12 O’clock.  When you do it this way you can see your progress and be spurred on.  It also makes sure you cover every area and you don’t feel like you’re working in an unproductive, willy-nilly fashion.
  3. Act like you’re moving. If you had to suddenly move across country tomorrow and you had to fit all your belongings into a single mini van, what would you absolutely take and what would get left behind?  This question can help you when you’re teetering on the edge of should it stay or should it go.

Set up your family calendar.  This will be the center piece of your family organization.  When everyone knows what’s going on then there are no excuses, no missed signals and no “I didn’t know I had to do that’s!”  If you’re into technology, use a tool like Google calendar or Cozi.com, which imports Google calendar entries, has a To-Do list and grocery list and even a journal to catch and share those great family memories.

But if low tech is more your thing, set up a black or white board in the kitchen.  Attach a calendar that everyone can write down appointments on.  Include a grocery list section too for folks to jot down items as they run out or are needed. You should also set aside a section that is divided by days of the week with To-Do’s for each member of the family.  An easy trick for handling this and not turning it into an unreadable mess is to color code for each family member.  Let everyone pick their favorite color and buy sticky notes in that color.  Post notes for each member of the family in their assigned color.  That way, each person can see what applies to them at a glance.  Pick a color that represents the whole family too so they can see what events are due for the whole family to share in.

Schedule chores.  Chores are not meant to get everyone jumping up and down with excitement, but they are the grease that keeps the family wheels moving.  Laundry, dishes, trash, cooking and cleaning up are all things that everyone needs to pitch in and help out with.  Find out which days work best for each person and write it into the weekly calendar.  Try to get volunteers to do specific chores on specific days.  But if you need to, draft someone.  Volunteer first yourself.  Setting the example goes a long way.  When everyone agrees with the program then no one can say it doesn’t work for them.  Again, cooperation is key to success.

Plan meals for the week ahead of time.  Unless you are Mary Poppins, then getting meals together for today’s busy family is challenging at best and near impossible at worst.  But again, when everyone has input and chips in, it can be much easier.  Let everyone decide what their favorite meals are.  Scatter in one or two days of serious cooking.  The other days can be left-over days, fend for yourself days or simple theme nights like Mexican (i.e. tacos) or Western (i.e. franks and beans).  Those are simple meals that even the least skilled members of the family can be assigned to prepare.  And they can be fun occasions to break up the monotony!  Lastly, keep in mind that you are not a bad parent if you are not cooking elaborate, food-pyramid-approved meals every night.  The days of June Cleaver and Carol Brady are dead and gone!

Schedule fun.  This is the one thing that so many families fail to do.  All work and no play makes the family home a dull place to be.  Recreation provides great times to build family bonds and generate warm memories.  Once a week or once every other week, schedule something like game night, movie night or some other activity that the family will enjoy.  Fun doesn’t have to cost anything either.  There are plenty of online community calendar resources that post all the free events in your area.  Check them out and use them!  For more ambitious or expensive events, schedule them to happen every other month or every quarter, or maybe each month in summers only.  You decide what works best for you.  Then you can save up for those ahead of time in the family budget so that they don’t hurt your pocket so much.  Family fun is also a great time to reward yourselves when you accomplish a family goal, like decluttering the basement or garage.

Set up a household budget.  This may be something you want to do as parents alone or you may want to include the kids.  Each family is different and you must decide what’s best for your individual situation.  But make a budget!  A budget is a tool that safeguards your family and makes sure the family has a roof over its head, electricity to light the home, gas to warm it and food to feed it.  It also makes sure you are saving for all the important things.  The most important thing a budget does though is keep you from going into debt.  When you tell your money where to go each month instead of wondering where it went, you don’t end up going into debt and you sleep a little easier each night.  You will get excellent budgeting tips when you join our email list.

When you put these simple tips into practice you won’t find that it’s a magic wand that instantly organizes your family.  The goal is not perfection.  It will take work and there will be ups and downs.  Expect whining, forgetfulness and push back (not necessarily from the kids either).  Don’t give up though.  Persistence pays off and if you stick to it, in a few short months your family will find its own rhythm and its own order out of the chaos that used to be the norm.  Keep checking back here at Org4Life Solutions.com for plenty of free and useful tips for keeping yourself, your home and your business organized.  Sign up to join our mailing list also so you don’t miss out on any goodies that can make your life simpler and easier to manage.  Or contact us directly if you would like to have a free evaluation to see if you can benefit from our assistance in getting your life better organized. In the meantime, here’s wishing you and your family all the peace, order and happiness it deserves!

6 KILLER KEYS TO SETTING AND CRUSHING YOUR GOALS!

How many times have you wanted to lose weight, get in shape, start a business, get rich or do something else big in life only to give up in frustration when you fail to achieve that one big thing?  You are not alone.  I’m certainly guilty of it.  Everyone sets goals.  They are the big shiny things that make us smile, get us excited and give us hope for a better future.  We get all pumped up, make a great start and then somewhere along the way we run into obstacles, we get discouraged and… we give up.  In other words, life happens.  And when life happens and you don’t have a plan, that’s a sure recipe for failure.

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “If you don’t have a plan, then plan to fail.”  Goals are no different.  We have to give careful thought to our plan for success.  If you do that you’re already ahead of the vast majority of people who just wish and dream, but don’t really know how to get what they want.  With that in mind I’m going to share with you 6 keys to setting and crushing your goals.  Armed with this information, along the will to take massive action, you will see your life take a definite turn for the better.  Let’s get started!

Understand your why.  The why is the most basic thing.  It’s what keeps you going when the going gets tough.  How many times have you found yourself attempting to achieve something and as soon as things get too difficult you find yourself asking “What am I even doing this for?  It’s not worth it.”  On the other hand, when you are convinced of your why then when challenges arise, as they most certainly will, you will keep pressing forward knowing in your heart that you have a real reason for seeing this thing through to the end.  For instance, you might want to lose weight but it may be different reasons for different people.  Maybe you want to do it so you can stick around to see your kids grow up, fit into that dress you want or stop getting out of breath just from climbing a flight of stairs.  Whatever the reason, find your own burning reason why.  It will be the thing that lights a fire inside you rather than underneath you.

Make sure your goals are specific and measurable.  Saying you want to be rich sounds good, but being rich means different things to different people.  Not defining it in specific terms is like setting off on a cross-country road trip without a destination in mind.  When you put it in terms of achieving one million dollars, now you have something tangible and definite to shoot for that you can actually measure.  The finish line is specific and you know how far you have to go to get there.  You can also gauge how much you’ve accomplished along the way to achieving your goal.  On the other hand, plugging away at an uncertain goal means tiring out before you ever even know what you really want.

Make sure your goals are realistic.  Setting big goals is great.  In fact I encourage my clients to set stretch goals, things that move them way outside of their comfort zone.  But if you’ve never run around the block in your life and you want to run the NYC Marathon next month, that’s most likely not a realistic goal!  So set things within the realm of human capability, given time.  Everyone can train for a marathon, amass wealth or get in shape.  These things just take time.  But no matter how much time you have, you will never jump to the moon, outrun a cheetah or overpower a rhino.  It’s just not within the realm of possibility.  So keep it realistic and achievable.  Then you won’t be setting yourself up for disappointment and failure.

Make sure your goals are written along with a plan.  According to a study conducted by Gail Matthews at Dominican University of California, those who wrote down their goals achieved significantly more than those who did not.  She started with 267 participants.  The groups were divided into those that simply thought about their goals over the next four weeks and those who actually wrote them down along with various written action steps.  The end findings showed that those who wrote down their goals were 50% more likely to achieve them!  That’s a huge difference.  What’s the takeaway?  If you want to achieve things in life, write them down along with a plan of action to get them!

Set a deadline.  I spent many years of my life in sales.  Along the way you hear recurring formulas for success.  One of the most frequently stated formulas for success is to have a reason and a deadline.  The reason part we discussed earlier when we talked about your why.  The deadline part is what motivates you to act by specific times.  Saying you want to get married and have children is nice.  But do you want that whenever, or do you want it within a specific timeframe?  Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”  In other words, if you give yourself an hour to do something, it will take an hour.  If you give yourself a day to do something, it will take a day.  The only difference is the deadline you set.  It only follows that if your deadline is never set, it will never get done.  So get smart and set a deadline.  Otherwise you will be further sabotaging your success.

Get an accountability partner.  What’s easier?  Being accountable to yourself or being accountable to another person?  Being accountable to yourself is easy because you will never embarrass you for not doing something.  But when you face the fear of embarrassment or criticism from an outside source, your motivation for getting the thing done changes exponentially.  No one wants to let others down or be seen as a “loser” or lazy.  When you get an accountability partner, be that a friend or coach, you greatly increase your chances of actually doing something, anything in fact, that will contribute to your success.  And action is the difference between daydreamers and winners.  So, recruit a friend to share your goals with and let them know your deadlines.  Make them hold you accountable and see how much more productive you actually become!

These 6 keys, when put into practice consistently, will supercharge your goal setting success.  If you feel you could benefit from further professional help to get more focused and get more things done to create that better life you crave, Org4Life Solutions has many programs that fit each individual need from one-on-one coaching to seminars and workshops for businesses, groups or individuals.  Contact us to set up a free discovery session to see where we might be able to help.  Or if you haven’t already, click on over and join our mailing list to receive more good info like this on a regular basis.  In the meantime, go out there and crush those goals.  Much continued success to you!

WHAT TO DO WHEN THAT LITTLE VOICE IN YOUR HEAD SAYS IT CAN WAIT ‘TIL TOMORROW

Procrastination.  We’ve all been there.  We get hit with a bolt of inspiration that feels like an electric shock.  Eureka!  You’ve discovered the cure for the common cold, the better mousetrap or the magic formula for riches.  Your brain is spinning with all the things you have to do.  You madly scribble down your ideas and clearly see the bright future ahead of you.  As you sleep that night, you smile, secure in the knowledge that life is about to take a turn for the better and you will be hailed a hero.

When you awaken the next day, you leap out of bed eager to pursue your brilliant flash.  You start thinking of the exciting day ahead.  You shower, eat breakfast and then… do absolutely nothing.  Well, that’s not exactly right.  You somehow find a lot of stuff to do.  Just anything but what you said you would do.  You remember that errand you have to run and it has to get done now so your idea will have to wait.  After that, you’re hungry so you simply must eat now.  Work can wait.  “Ooh, what’s that on TV?  That looks good.  Think I’ll watch it.”  Hmmm, you always wanted to sort your closet so why not now?  After that, more time goes by and nothing gets done on your idea.  What’s that there?  Those pesky dishes won’t wash themselves so I better get on it.  As the sun fades, it’s dinner time.  Your stomach calls out for a food run so you jump in the car and make a trip to your favorite take out joint.  After you get home you feel the need to relax with another movie.  Yawn, it’s late.  Time for bed.  No worries.  The world can wait for your brilliant idea.  There’s always tomorrow, right?

Wrong.  Tomorrow indeed comes but then it’s only filled with more “busy stuff” that distracts and keeps you from doing the real work of pursuing your idea.  The siren song of success calls out but as time goes on the volume gets lower and lower until you can’t hear it anymore.  What happened?  Why did such a promising start end in such a disappointing fizzle?

In many cases, it’s a little thing called “Imposter Syndrome.”  It also goes by the name of self- doubt or fear of success.  It’s a nagging fear that sits deep within us that tells us we don’t have what it takes to make it.  That even if we do, once we climb the ladder high enough everyone will realize we’re a phony, a fake, a fraud who only “got lucky” and failure is destined for our future.  This horrible beast that lies within will do everything in its power to fight you so you are not “exposed” to the world for what you are, a loser.  And you are not alone.  Everyone is plagued by self-doubt at one time or another.  The difference between winners and losers is that winners act in the face of self-doubt while losers find every excuse in the book to give in to the fear and do nothing.

The truth is, you are no different from anyone else.  You put your pants on, use the bathroom and tie your shoes just like those winners so they don’t have any innate advantage over you.  The trick is, you have to convince yourself that this is true.  But how do you do that?  How can you cultivate the mind and habits of a winner?  How do you overcome years of ingrained fears and bust through to come out a winner despite the odds?  Here are four things you can do right away to get the ball rolling in your favor.

1)     Screw Perfection.  One of the biggest enemies of progress is perfection.  Somehow, we convince ourselves that unless every ‘T’ is crossed and every ‘I’ dotted and it’s polished to a high shine, it’s not ready for prime time.  Forget all that nonsense.  Just do it.  Perfection is an impossible goal.  There will always be errors, glitches and other assorted imperfections to deal with.  So, if you’ve got 80% right, go with it.  You can always work out the kinks on the fly.  Publish the book.  Launch the website.  Start the business.  Push the button.  Just do it!

2)     Break it Down.  There’s that old question that asks, “How do you eat an elephant?”  We all know the answer.  One bite at a time.  And it’s so true.  Sometimes we get so afraid of the enormity of the task ahead of us that we retreat into our safe place thinking it’s just impossible to get it done.  Not true.  Just break it down into manageable tasks.  I use a little process I call reverse-engineering.  Start with the end goal.  Then work backwards figuring out what can be done in smaller and smaller tasks to get to the desired goal.  For instance, if you wanted to self-publish a book in a year, that’s the end goal.  But there are many smaller steps in between.  Your 6-month goal could be to have a rough manuscript.  Your 3-month goal could be to start on that manuscript.  Your 1-month goal might be researching the subject matter.  In one week you might figure out everything it takes to self-publish.  Today, you could google “self-publishing.”  When you break it down, write it down and put dates on each step, what once seemed insurmountable becomes very doable!

3)     Journal it.  Experience shows that nothing succeeds like success.  Success is like a powerful snowball that feeds on itself.  When you accomplish one thing, it fuels you up to move on to the next task and the next and the next.  Before you know it you’re an unstoppable productivity machine!  Documenting your successes along the way gives you something to look at, to celebrate and to feed on to prove to yourself that you can do this thing.  Journaling is a powerful tool for accomplishing that.  Just keep a daily record of what you did TODAY to move one step closer to your goal.  Try it.  You will be surprised at how it empowers your mind to keep moving forward until you realize your ultimate goal.

4)     Be the Superhero.  When we were kids we had no problem tying a bedsheet around our neck, striking a pose and running around the house convinced in our mind that we can fly.  Lately there is growing evidence that this childhood act might have some real substance to it.  Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, in a TED Talk from 2012, demonstrated that assuming power poses- standing in a posture of confidence even when we don’t feel so confident- can actually affect testosterone and cortisol levels in our brain, thus boosting our confidence and chances of success.  So, the next time you feel procrastination creeping up on you, or you feel unsure about what to do, stand with your hands on your hips and your chest out for 2 minutes.  Go ahead and try it.  It’s 2 minutes out of your whole day, yet it can make your whole day!  Isn’t that worth the effort?

In conclusion, insert these habits into your daily routine and you will most likely see a noticeable boost in your productivity, confidence and attitude.  Pretty soon you’ll be getting so much stuff done your mom might ask, “Who are you and what have you done with my child?”

THAT MESSY WALLET, DESK OR HANDBAG IS MORE THAN JUST AN ANNOYANCE (It May Be Costing You Big Time)

I remember a very hectic and dark time in my life when I was facing bankruptcy, paying child support up the wazoo and getting by with actual financial help from my parents each month.  Back then I needed every dollar I could lay my hands on.  I was so deep in debt and stressed out though, that I would take mail that came in, assume it was a bill and then just toss it in a drawer or on yet another pile of paper.  In this particular case, the mail that I thought was a bill was actually a check for $300!  Had I opened it then and there, I would’ve known.  And boy, could I have used that $300 then.  I didn’t find out until about 8 months later when I was going through my papers and decluttering.  When I opened it up, my heart sank.  I had a limited time to cash it or I forfeited my claim in this particular case.  Needless to say, I was pissed and vowed never again to let clutter cost me a dime!

We’ve all paid the price for clutter at one time or another.  A junk drawer, a cluttered room, a disorganized desk at work.  Whatever your particular brand of poison, you know what it is.  But what you may not know is that it’s costing you in ways you might not suspect.  Clutter is the enemy of clear thought, productivity and financial freedom.  Having clawed my way out of the clutter hole and experienced its terrible costs, I am sharing with you just a few ways I’ve known clutter to cost me or others I have coached in various ways.  Listen up, it might save you some cash and some grief.

Misplaced Funds.  In addition to the personal example I related above, I can’t tell you how many times I have decluttered a home with a client and found at least a hundred dollars in the form of change, cash dollars and uncashed checks.  One way to fix this is to have a landing pad for your mail.  Always put it in that designated spot and sort through it as soon as it comes in or as soon thereafter as you can schedule the time.  Have a trash can and shredder nearby to dispose of any excess and unneeded paper.  That way you can stay on top of your mail and it doesn’t get sucked into a black hole that costs you.

Wasted Time.  How many times have you wasted time looking for something?  Each and every day, people lose time looking for things.  And sometimes those things are right on their heads, on their feet or in their pockets.  I recently had a friend who posted that she spent something like 20 minutes looking for her socks only to find they were, you guessed it, on her feet!  My clients constantly tell me they waste 20 minutes or an hour looking for stuff every day.  You can easily waste 15 minutes or more each day looking for things.  This can make you late for important events or take away time from other more pressing things you should be doing.  Eliminate this time waste by setting up zones for items and always putting them back there when you’re done.  One thing I do is I have a tray on my dresser and every night I empty my pockets and put my change, wallet, gum, business cards and keys in that tray.  The next time I need to leave the house, I know where to go to get that stuff.  I’m never wasting time looking for those basic things.  Try it, you will like it.

Peace of Mind.  Why do we go away on vacation?  Isn’t it to get away from it all?  And isn’t some of the things we’re getting away from is a messy environment?  When you put that key card in your hotel room door and open it, you expect to be greeted by a nicely made bed, a well-arranged room and a neatly arranged bathroom.  Even the toilet paper is finished with a nice design!  There is a reason for this.  An orderly environment relaxes the mind.  In the absence of clutter there is peace and rejuvenation.  When you come home and open your door, are you greeted with peace or disorder?  If it’s the latter, you are robbing yourself of peace of mind.  Don’t you get irritated when you have to step over junk on the floor or see dirty dishes in the sink?  Do yourself a favor and get started decluttering your home.  Turning it into an oasis of peace will make a huge impact on your peace of mind.

One tip to get started is to pick a spot in your target room and start decluttering, working in a clockwise fashion, 15 minutes at a time, or more if you can spare.  Keep working in a clockwise direction until you come back to where you started.  That way you can see the progress you make and use those little victories to spur you on.  Get bins to sort things into Keep, Sell, Donate, Trash and Shred.  When you are done move on to the next room and repeat the process.  By dedicating just a few minutes each day to decluttering you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a relatively short time.

Lost Opportunity.  There are people who say successful people are just “lucky.”  They are lucky, in a sense, but they make their own “luck.”  You see, luck is simply when preparation meets opportunity.  If you are disorganized, disheveled and lacking clear focus, you cannot possibly be prepared when opportunity comes knocking.  In fact, opportunity might be staring you in the face right now, but you can’t even see it for all the clutter you have accumulated in your life in one form or another.  Can you think of any opportunities you may have missed to improve your life because you simply were not organized enough and ready to take advantage of them?  If so, shake off the clutter and get your life in order.

Relationships.  I have seen actual relationships strained to the breaking point because one spouse or the other refused to let go of tons of unnecessary junk.  I’m talking magazines, books, collectibles, rusty old tools that no longer serve a purpose and all manner of other things.  And when you ask them when was the last time they used it, they couldn’t tell you.  Or when you ask them if it’s such a valuable keepsake, why is it buried at the bottom of all this junk, they look at you like a deer in headlights.  And all the while the other mate is threatening to end the marriage if they can’t get it together.  This is serious.  Don’t be the unfortunate soul who is willing to sacrifice a loved one for material things that can burn up tomorrow and have no lasting value.  Learn to let go and you will open up your life and your home to peace and rest.

These are just a few ways clutter can cost you.  If you saw yourself in any of the above examples, you are not alone.  But the good news is you can fix it since you caused the mess in the first place.  The Max Money Mind is dedicated to providing timely advice on how to organize your life and finances so that you may gain financial freedom and peace of mind.

Join our email list and you will immediately receive your copy of our free eBook “The Max Money Guide To Building A Bulletproof Budget.”  It will show you how to quickly organize your finances by  building a budget that actually works, even if one hasn’t worked for you in the past.  So what are you waiting for?  It’s freeClick that opt-in button and join our growing community dedicated to doing more, getting more and living more.!

THE SECOND KEY TO TAMING THE TIME MONSTER- SETTING GOALS AND PRIORITIES

In the previous article, we discussed how determining your core values allows you to figure where things fall in order of priority in your life.  Okay, now that we’ve got that the next question is how do you fit all the things you have to do in the run of a day into your life so that they live up to your core values?  Here two powerful items come into play:  Goals and Priorities.  Goals are where you ultimately want to end up, the destination on your life map.  Priorities are your means of getting there, your vehicle, so to speak.  All your priorities are the things you should be doing at this moment in time to get you moving toward your goals the fastest way possible.  First, let’s talk about goal setting.

You can, and should, have several goals.  Each one will cover different areas of your life and should always be geared toward making you and your life better.  They can be physical, like running a marathon.  They could be spiritual, like drawing closer to God.  Or maybe you have a financial goal, like accumulating enough money in the bank to retire.  Goals are limitless and only confined by your imagination.  But how big should your goals be?

Goals should be BIG.  I’m talking moon shot big!  Goals need to make you stretch and grow.  They need to make you struggle and change and get uncomfortable.  Those are the only goals worth having.  But keep in mind that they need to be realistic and attainable.  If your goal is to figure skate in the Olympics and you’ve never skated before and you’re over the age of 30, that’s probably not a realistic goal.  But once you have a goal in mind, write it down.  Then we need to reverse-engineer it.  What do I mean?

Reverse-engineering your goal means taking it and working it backwards in time to today.  Let’s take the example of retiring to a Caribbean island.  That’s a big goal.  So ask yourself, where do I need to be in 5 years to make sure I’m on track to supporting that ultimate goal?  Maybe it means being debt-free.  So that’s your 5-year goal.  But being debt-free probably means upping your income.  So maybe your one-year goal is to have a thriving side-business that boosts your income.  Now, how do you get there?  Hmmm, maybe in 6 months you need to be starting that business.  That’s your 6-month goal.  A good one-month goals in support of that would be maybe filing a business license for a dba.  Before that though, you need to know what kind of business you want to start, what legal entity should you use and how viable will it be.  So a good one week goal would be to determine the kind of business you would like to start.  But what can you do today to support that goal?  Today, you could read one article, or buy a book to read that relates to starting a successful business.

See how we deconstructed that and arrived at the one thing you should be doing today to ensure that you ultimately arrive at your goal?  Try this powerful tool, it works.  Studies support the fact that those who are most likely to reach their goals are the ones who write them down and have a plan to get them.

Keep in mind though that the difference between a dream realized and a mere wish is action!  And the only person who can perform that action is you.  Your actions must be your priorities, which are in turn aligned with your goals.  The key thing to keep in mind here when determining your priorities out of all the things you could be doing in a given day is asking yourself what is the one thing I should be doing right now to make sure I’m on track for my next goal?  In the example we used above that would be reading something that will educate you about starting a business.  If you’re not doing that now or haven’t done it already today then you’re doing the wrong thing.  The next tool we discuss will make sure you are doing the things you should be doing at any given point in time.

Let’s now look at the power of the daily To-Do list and how it allows you to set your priorities.  One thing that highly productive people share in common is they list the things they need to accomplish in a given day.  The list is a simple yet powerful tool!  It is a visible reminder of what you need to do and a powerful motivator as you cross off each task you accomplish.  You too can use it to work wonders in your life.  Think about all the things you need or want to do each day, then list them.  In that list you will have both things you could be doing and things you should be doing.

Now look at the list.  Of all the things on it, if you could only accomplish one thing in support of your goal, which would it be?  Put the number ‘1’ next to it.  Now look at the remaining items.  If you could only do one of those in support of your goal, which would it be?  Place the number ‘2’ next to that item.  Repeat this process until all items have numbers next to them.  Anything that most directly moves you toward your goals are the things you should be doing.  Those take priority over the could be doings.  Now, work your way through this list until you accomplish everything on it for the day.

If you fail to get to everything on the list, don’t worry.  Just carry those items over to your list for the next day and finish it then.  But always place emphasis on the things you should be doing in support of your goals.  It’s that simple.  You will be amazed at how much more productive you become when you work the list and make it a part of your daily routine.  Now go tame that time monster and show it who’s boss!

THE FIRST KEY TO TAMING THE TIME MONSTER- DETERMINING YOUR CORE VALUES

YOU often hear folks say there are not enough hours in the day.  Yet some people can barely get to work on time when others like single moms work full-time jobs, make meals for the kids and pursue a college degree on the side.  Now that’s a Super Mom!  But they do it because they know what’s important and they prioritize.  They have the same number of hours in a day to work with just like you.  Yet they squeeze every bit of those 24 hours for what they’re worth and they accomplish amazing things.  They can do this because their activities align with their values and priorities.  When you attain that point in life, amazing things start to happen and you accomplish things with your time that you never thought possible.  So let’s talk about how you can get to that point of maximum return.

First, you need to understand that there are five basic areas everyone’s life can be divided into:  Family, Worship, Work, Play and MeFamily of course are those people closest to you either by blood or choice.  Worship is whatever belief system you adhere to.  Work is that thing you do to support yourself in this world.  Play is that thing you do to unwind, either alone or with others.  And Me takes in all those things that feed yourself.  That includes eating, exercise, personal improvement, alone time, etc.

Everything you do falls into these five categories.  Please take a moment to take out a sheet of paper and list these five things.  Study the list for a moment then place the number ‘1’ next to the thing most important to you.  Then examine the remaining items and put a ‘2’ next to the second most important thing.  Continue numbering the items until all five are prioritized.

Now lean back and think about what you just said about your life.  How you prioritize these things speaks to who you are and what you believe in your heart.  They are your core values.  When you live your life by your values, and you never compromise these, then making decisions about how you will spend your time becomes much easier.  Things that contribute to your values get done and those things that run against your values get left out.

For example, if Worship is at the top of your list, then you will not allow anything else to interfere with the time you have set aside for it.  And the decisions you make in all the other areas will always be preceded by considering how it will impact your spiritual life.  If Family precedes work, then you will schedule definite times to spend with your family strengthening the bonds between you.  During that time you will not keep checking your phone for emails, tweets or texts.

Values are the non-negotiables that your life revolves around.  Once you set these in stone, make a firm decision to live your life accordingly.  So whenever you have to decide to take on a certain task, or schedule time for a certain activity, first ask yourself: Where does it fall in importance in relation to my values?  Once you know where it falls, don’t allow your values to be compromised by going against them.  Plan your finite hours in harmony with those important things.  And cross out those things that don’t fit in with your stated values.

The next key to taming the time monster is setting priorities.  The following article in this series will deal with figuring out how to prioritize your day so the stuff that aligns with your values gets done and the stuff that doesn’t gets pushed aside.

ARE YOU CHOOSING SABOTAGE OR SUCCESS?

IMAGINE you are in a group of 10 people and someone offers $1,00,000 to the first of you who can race to the end of a track and claim it.  You size up your competition and decide your chances look pretty good.  You’d probably be excited at the prospect of such wealth and be determined to run as fast and hard as you can to beat your competitors.  You all line up on the track, hearts pounding, adrenaline rushing.  But then the benefactor pulls you out of the line and says you don’t get to run on the straight and level track.  Your course is to be different.  He points to a parallel track filled with a maze of obstacles you must avoid.  “What?  Are you kidding me?”  That’s probably what you’re thinking at that moment.  “It’s not fair” you shout!  “You’re sabotaging my chances of winning,” you protest!  Indeed he is.  Your odds of winning that $1,000,000 just went to practically zero.  Would you even bother at that point?  Probably not.

That’s a pretty extreme scenario.  Yet so many of us are sabotaging our own chances for success in the same way.  How, you might ask?  By filling our lives with clutter that takes many forms.  Maybe you have a closet that you’re afraid to open for fear of getting buried in an avalanche of junk.  Maybe it’s a room so full of excess junk that you can’t even see the floor.  Or, maybe it’s your desk at work.  Still looking for that report you swore you had the other day?  Clutter can be people too.  That person who is always sucking the life out of you with their dark view of the world.  Or maybe they are draining your energy, time and resources with their constant emergencies, most of which are due to their own poor choices.  Yes, clutter is all around us and all too often we freely invite it into our lives, even embrace it.

Filling your life with clutter is the same as freely choosing to run after $1,000,000 dollars through a maze of obstacles.  That choice is madness.  And choosing that path is choosing to sabotage your own success.  That self-sabotage manifests itself in many ways.  It can make you constantly late because you can never find what you’re looking for when you need to be somewhere at a certain time.  It can make you broke because you can’t keep track of your finances, so you pay overdraft fees and late fees on a regular basis.  It can stress you out because when you come home, that place that should be your sanctuary is nothing more than a clutter and stress-filled torture chamber.  It can block your chances of promotion at work or success in business because you can never seem to accomplish all the things you need to do in the course of a day.

I believe that we all can choose a better way.  That way is achieved by clearing clutter out of your life and taking control of your destiny.  By achieving a high level of personal organization, you immediately put yourself miles ahead of the competition.  While they get bogged down in obstacle after obstacle, you are running free and unencumbered toward that $1,000,000 prize.  While they are stressed out by life, you are sipping drinks on a sunny beach because money isn’t stressing you out anymore.  While they look on with unconcealed jealousy, you are grinning all the way to the bank because the universe is flowing your way like it never has before!

Org4Life Solutions is dedicated to giving you that better way.  Our system of personal organization covers the four main areas of your life:  Time, Space, Paper and Money management.  When you kick clutter out of your life, something amazing happens.  These four areas align in an organized way and your life becomes supercharged!  You perform at a higher level in business.  Your relationships become more peaceful.  Your home becomes a welcome sanctuary.  And your wealth grows because you become the master of your own success.

So don’t delay a minute longer.  Find us at www.Org4LifeSolutions.com.  Take control of your life.  Find out how we can help you stop self- sabotaging and start choosing success!