background image of woman writing in notebook. Text on top says "Making 'writing it down' work for you"

Making “writing it down” work for you

Last time we talked about my number one tip for keeping track of everything is to write it down AND how there are some things to have in place to make that work.

Today, I’m going into more detail on making writing it down work for you.

Last week, I referenced having a limited number of “capture locations.” They’re exactly what they sound like. They’re the places where you capture the information, ideas, tasks, etc. And from there, they get moved to where they need to live to take the next step.

You want a minimum number of “capture locations” to avoid the “where did I put that” scenario. If you know you write things down in one of three spots, finding what you wrote gets a lot easier.

That’s one habit to develop, deciding which capture locations work for you. I’ve had clients use phone notes, a small notebook in their purse, a notebook on their desk, Evernote, OneNote, and many other locations. It’s all about noticing what works, or would work, for you and doing it.

Another habit to develop is regularly reviewing those capture locations to move the information to where it needs to go to be done or filed. This might be something you do daily or weekly. It can also be after a meeting or tied to another event that occasionally happens.

Here’s the real secret to getting writing it down to work for you: try things until you find what works for you right now and in the immediate future.

Chances are, the first thing you try won’t work 100% for you. And that’s okay!

Notice what part of it does work for you and adjust from there.

Image of a shoe with the text "What if there wasn't an 'other shoe'?"

What if there wasn’t an “other shoe”?

I remember being on a Q&A group call with my coach at the time (probably 8 years ago). Someone was sharing what was happening in her business (sharing the back story before her question), and the coach said, “It sounds like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. What if there’s not one?”

My coach wasn’t saying that you shouldn’t take steps to avoid mistakes or problems. She was saying that you don’t have to live with a sense of impending doom.

I’ve thought about this often in the years since this happened.

What if there wasn’t an “other shoe”?

What if you plan for what you know is coming and trust that you’ll handle it if something unexpected comes up (this might include asking for help).

As you know, I love planning. And yes, I can’t plan for everything that might happen. But I know that I have my plans and priorities laid out, and that does a lot toward handling the unexpected.

What does this look like for you and your business? What plans and priorities do you need to be clear about so you don’t get caught up waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Reach out if you want help with this!

The top goal-achieving secret to use when planning next year

The top goal-achieving secret to use when planning next year

It’s the time of year where we start thinking about our goals for next year and contemplating everything we want to experience and accomplish in our business and life.

I don’t know about you, but I find this part so much fun! This is the dreaming part, the what could I do next year part.

Don’t stop here, though! Yes, you need to know where you want to go (the goal part), but don’t forget the how part that comes next. The how part is the process; this is where the work gets done.

This is the top goal-achieving secret: focus on the process, not the goal.

Yes, set your goals — you need to know what you’re working toward. But in your day-to-day, focus on the process.

The process part includes not only mapping out the details of how you’ll achieve that goal but also includes:

  • how you set up your day
  • how you keep track of everything you want to do and accomplish
  • your ability to stay on task

Again, focus on the process, the systems you use to accomplish your goals.

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fail to the level of your systems.

James Clear (Atomic Habits)

Focus on the process, and you’ll achieve your goals.

If you prefer listening/watching, you can catch this on Facebook or YouTube.

Break it down now and you’ll get it done later

I just finished an office reorganization.

I started the reorganization because I had overflowed items from my office into my guest and master bedroom.

These mainly were items that I wanted off my desk or didn’t have a home for, so I moved them out of the way and into other rooms.

I was tired of having things all over the place and moving them when guests were using the guest bedroom.

So, I decided to tackle the project of reorganizing my office, pulling those things out of the places they didn’t belong, and finding everything a new home in my office.

So, I broke it down into pieces, very, very small pieces.

This is what my to-do list for this project initially looked like:

I knew I wanted to sort items into boxes to help figure out what needed to go where. So you see the categories like pens, pencils, post-it notes, paper and binder clips, a box for small items, and a box for larger items.

And you can see I allowed myself 2 hours to sort through the things from my master bedroom and 3 hours for the guest bedroom. While I purposely guestimated more time than I needed, I was very surprised to find I drastically overestimated the time required to sort those items.

Sorting the items from the master bedroom took me 20 minutes, and the guest bedroom items took me 40 minutes.

It seemed like such a huge task to sort those items! I was sure it was going to take a while.

That’s why I broke it down, so that it didn’t feel like a huge, overwhelming project that had to be completed immediately. Instead, I could just focus on one small task at a time.

Once I sorted my closet, desk, and other randomly placed items into my boxes, my office looked like this:

As you can see, I had a rather large mess lot of items to put away again. I did wonder what I got myself into, but I took a breath and tackled one part at a time.

Putting everything away did take longer than I anticipated, but I had the project started. It felt doable because I broke it down into working a couple of hours here and an hour there.

It looked like this:

And finally this:

But what does this have to do with you?

A project is anything that takes more than 1 step to complete.

Break every project into smaller, manageable steps.

For me, sorting through items in 20-minute increments made it very doable and easy to get started. I felt like I was making progress.

Again, break your projects and goals down into smaller steps.

And, if I wasn’t the type of person that could organize my office like that, I could hire someone to help me out. There are many very talented professional organizers out there that could have come in and helped me sort through everything and ensure the project was finished and done well.

If you need help figuring out how to break a project into smaller steps, hire someone to help you with that.

A project like “cleanup/organize office” feels enormous and unmanageable, but “do this 20-minute step” is much more doable, and you can wrap your head around it.

Everyone’s situation is different, so if you want some help in this area, reach out, and let’s talk.

"Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings." - CD Jackson

Great ideas need…

Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings.

– CD Jackson

Ideas are so fun!

Sometimes making them real is less fun.

Landing gear is that frustrating bit where you figure out, decide, and commit to what needs to happen to let your great idea fly (or not crash land in a ball of fire).

When you get those steps laid out (create the landing gear), it feels like most of the work is done!

All that’s left is following the steps (or landing your plan).