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6/15/07

Let’s Get Organized, Part 2

A major stress reducing strategy is good organization. Here are more thoughts on the subject.

1. Prune and Prioritize. Organize around your whole life. We are a complicated whole and cannot separate ourselves from ourselves and everything you do effects everything you do. Prune those things that do not contribute to life goals and essential relationships. Prioritize things that do contribute to human connections, efficiency and effectiveness. Effective is the ability to bring about a desired result and efficient is to do so without wasted energy or undue stress. Your vehicle may be effective in that it gets you from point A to point B, but may not be efficient if it is a gas guzzler. By using the tools of planning (what to do) and scheduling (when to do it), prune and prioritize to be both effective and efficient.

2. What is scheduled gets done. Schedules give you freedom "to" as well as freedom "not to". Schedules give peace of getting over the "someday I’ll" by putting a date to it. When talking with a client, have calendar in hand and directly set the appointment. When you receive an invitation, decide if you want to go, check your agenda and write it in. Be considerate by immediately RSVPing ("yes" or "no"), note on your on-going "to do list" if a gift is in order, place the invite in your "events" folder and forget about it until reviewing your upcoming weekly schedule on Sunday evening. Plan personal as well as professional. Being at your daughter’s recital is a priority and having it displayed in your date-book gives you the freedom to say "No" to anything that tries to encroach.

3. Plan backward and execute forward. Get the big picture and then break it down into digestible bites. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time and with space allocated for digestion. To read The Complete Works of Shakespeare in a year, divide 261 days into the 1450 pages that gives you 5 and 1/2 pages daily – an easily accomplished goal with two days off per week. Many people think they work best under looming deadlines. I suggest we work best when focused and many do not focus until the deadline is looming.

4. Learn real time vs. think time. This is a two way street: sometimes thinking about something much longer than the real time to do it, and sometimes discounting the real amount of time a project will take. Both are self-sabotaging. Few things are as de-motivating as dread or ineffective thinking. How much time to you spend worrying about a project before putting pencil to paper to make concrete plans. You erroneously think you are doing something when you are only thinking about doing something. On the other hand, how often do you think an assignment will take a short time when in actuality it takes hours. The answer comes by diving in immediately with hands on planning and, if needed, scheduling in procrastination or catch up time. Do not overrate your abilities and do not be afraid to ask for help.

5. Handle it once. Make it a priority to take care of it while it is in your hand rather or put it in the appropriate place for later. Do not lay things down to contribute to confusion and clutter. Use the two minute rule. If the phone call will take less than two minutes, do it immediately. If you have ten two-minute phone calls, schedule them in for later. With snail mail, immediately sort correspondence from bills and toss junk into the recycle bin. Place bills in a pre-designated place to be paid once or twice a month and always well in advance of due dates. With e-mails, do not waste your time opening non-essentials and make ready use of the delete key. Make one reply late in the day to a colleague who sends you ten letters. Write down phone messages then delete. When given a report or project to do, rather than tossing it aside to accumulate dread time, sit down immediately and brainstorm, making notes of ideas, dates, people to be involved, materials required, resources needed, etc. Stay focused. Going from one project to another wastes times and energy and is nonproductive.

6. Challenge your excuses. We are creative people, only many times this creativity is used negatively rather than positively. It takes creativity to come up with excuses. There is a difference in an excuse and a reason. A legitimate reason gives peace, whereas excuses engenders stress and conflict. What are your excuses and how much truth is in them? I don’t know? I’m too busy? It’s too costly? My boss (co-workers, family) will not cooperate. What is the root of your excuses? Fear? Intimidation? Perfectionism? Lack of commitment? Laziness? Inadequate?

7. Choose your attitude. Many times the actions taken are the same for work and for play. What makes one a chore and one a joy is attitude. And attitude is a choice. Choose to
Compete only with yourself and continually improve performance.

8. Learn to say "No". It is so empowering. And do so without guilt or explanation. Never say "Yes" just to be liked; it doesn’t work.

DON’T COPE, OVERCOME. Compete only with yourself and cooperate with others. Challenge yourself to see humor and fun in everything. Play games to keep you on track; lightly keep score and give yourself praise and rewards. Be your own best friend.

TESTIMONIALS: What others say about Mona’s teaching

Mona has truly been an inspirational figure to me. I have a problem trying to please too many people and Mona gave me permission to say “No” when it is in my own best interest. I now use this advice every single day and it has had a huge positive impact on my life. Mona is a very dedicated and wise person. She is driven to succeed for all the right reasons. The thing that impresses me most about her is that she does not judge people. Matt Levin, Baylor University

CREATING VALUE: True success involves mutual gain. Mona’s new book, Creating Value, an intangible in a tangible world, deals with developing a dual bottom line of being cost-effective and people effective by balancing a three-legged stool of being, doing and having. It explores Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and applies the physics principles to human relationships. Buy it today. http://www.monadunkin.com

NEED A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: One of America's most interesting speakers can be enjoyed in person in a presentation tailored to your specific need. Whether organizational, business or civic, you will be entertained with her humor, challenged with her gift of uncommon insights, and motivated by her thought provoking poems. Mona has developed a dramatic series of life changing, solution principles that address the universal needs of people.

6/13/07

The Power of Planning

Planning is what you are going to do. Scheduling is when you are going to do it. Goals are plans that have not yet been brought into realization, or maybe not yet dreamed or determined. Dreaming, planning, scheduling and setting goals are powerful motivators that will make your life more productive. Planning causes you to be both effective and efficient.

1. Goal setting allows you to think outside the box. To not be conformed to the way things always have been, but to see the way things can be. Planning allows you to bring these goals into being.

2. Good planning helps you to see the end product before it happens. Planning gives you a compass to guide you toward the completion.

3. Planning harnesses your energies and forces you to concentrate., It gives you passion and focus. When you know what you are going to do, and where you are going, you do not waste energy wondering what to do or what steps to take to get there.

4. Planning give freedom. Looking for time causes bondage, guilt and frustration. Having goals is a powerful tool in decision making.

5. Goals keep you excited and enthusiastic; staying power even during the mundane. The step you take today may not be real fun, but it keeps the momentum up by letting you focus on the big picture.

“The peaks themselves are awesome – majestic and wild barrenness on a grand scale. And I am
always amazed at the progress made simply by putting one foot in front of another. A distant
summit can appear to be unattainable, then all of a sudden, it’s reached.” Leslie Trent Conger

6. Planning builds confidence As Zig Ziglar says, goals “helps you act like its so, even when it is not so, so it will be so.”

7. Planning frees you from the past by empowering you to break from the tyranny of yesterday and chart a new course for today and for tomorrow.

8. Planning is making a roadmap, helping you to recognize opportunities and see possibilities instead of problems.

“Opportunity is not what may come tomorrow, but what we make of today.” - Paul J. Meyer

9. Planning and tracking sets a basis for evaluating progress; helps you overcome defeats and roadblocks. Lets you see where you have been, where you are, and where you are going. Acts as a guide to readjust behaviors and attitudes.

Mona Dunkin, owner of Solution Principles, is a professional speaker, trainer, and personal success coach. She can be reached at 254-749-6594, or visit www.monadunkin.com.

6/1/07

Let’s Get Organized, Part 1

One of my most frequently requested topics is Effective Time Management and Organizational Skills. Managing time and managing stuff goes hand-in-hand and both contribute to accomplishment. Here are seven thoughts with more to follow in later e-letters. Enjoy.

1. You cannot organize clutter. Clutter is postponed decisions or action. Italian Vilfredo Pareto is credited with discovering the "80/20 principle of imbalance" when he calculated that 80% of the land was owned by 20% of the people. How does that apply to organization? For example, take a simple concept like your clothes closet: 80% of what you own is worn 20% of the time. So what is the other 80%? It is clutter. Expand this analogy to overflowing file cabinets, teeming storage closets, piles of notes kept, phone calls postponed, electronic gadgets accumulated, swarms of out-of-date magazines/newspapers, projects started, have-to-haves impulsively bought and the stacks of unidentified stuff in nooks and crannies. If you get rid of only 20% you have created space for emotional energy to flourish. Messy desks effects how others view your performance. Less clutter may aid in a move up the corporate ladder.

2. Sort and Store. Decide which area of clutter is most important then set aside fifteen minutes to begin sorting. Make three stacks: "things to do", "things to keep", "things to recycle". Every item you pick up represents a decision. If it requires action – regardless of the time frame needed – place it in the "things to do" stack. If it is something you need/want to keep, put it in the "things to keep" section. Things that need to be done away with, place in recycle.

3. Do it or dump it. Take the "things to do" stack and sort it by projects and time constraints. Place all phone calls together, put items to be read in one place, reports to finish in one segment, etc. Be brutal in deciding what you really will do and what you will never get around to doing. Give yourself a moratorium such as follow ups will be within ten days or unread articles will be kept for only three months. Then keep to it. The time limit will motivate you to action. Do not hold on to stale leads, outdated articles or incomplete projects. Get rid of unfinished tasks; either complete or discard. Make a fair assessment of "What I don’t intend to do", then eliminate it from your energy field.

4. A place for everything and everything in its place. Take the "things to keep" stack and decide where its home will be. Assign it a place and do not allow other things to fill in the gap. At home I have a pickle keeper that lives in my refrigerator whether it is filled with pickles or freshly washed awaiting the next trip to the grocery store. Not only does this keep things neat but it is time efficient in that you do not have to search to find the item. Why? Because it is in its home.

5. Continually evaluate need. Let this thought help with the get rid of/recycle stack. Everything has three price tags. One is the original dollars paid, two is the emotional attachment and three is cost of maintenance. What are you holding on to simply because of the funds invested or the sentimental connection. Time is money. How much time are you investing in moving, storing, dusting, repairing items that have become clutter.

6. Keep on-going lists. Accumulated trivials can become overwhelming. Planning is what you need to do or want to do to make your life more meaningful. Scheduling is when you are going to do it. As you consistently keep a list of pending needs you are at liberty to schedule them in before crunch time. In your day-timer, on your computer or a yellow legal pad, keep a running list of the following things: Monthly Goals, Yearly Goals, Errands to Run, Items to Purchase, Jobs to Do, Phone Calls to Make, Things to Remember, Encouragement to Me, Other and anything else you need to keep a handle on. Feel the exhilaration of accomplishment when marking off a completed task and the bask in the sense of accountability for staying on top of the game for upcoming negligible tasks. The on-going reminder of monthly and yearly goals are essential to keep you on track and frequent notes of encouragement to yourself keep you energized. Continually self-evaluate productivity and revise your lists and planning.

7. Review, Revise, and Reinvigorate. Before retiring each night review your day to feel the satisfaction of things accomplished and to feel the sting of things avoided. Did you really not have time or were you ill-prepared? Do not confuse busy-ness with business or activity with accomplishment. Rethink your commitments and priorities to make sure they match. Readjust your schedule as needed for satisfaction and productivity and encourage yourself to learn, to grow and to get organized. At the end of each day, schedule the next day’s timed events and then fill in your top value priorities. At the end of each week, schedule the next week’s known events and plan your priorities. Be sure to include personal and family time. Time is currency; spend it wisely.

These organizational thoughts are guidelines, not a recipe. For individualized assistance, invite me to your business or organization. 254-749-6594 or mdunkin@flash.net

DON’T COPE, OVERCOME: Live for what is important, not just to get things done.
Coach John Wooden says, “Hurry, but don’t rush.” Rest is a vital factor in organization and productivity. When you think you do not have time for a break is when you need it most. Stop rushing by frequently putting the urgent on hold to breath deeply and clear your mind, returning to the activity with renewed energy and focus. Rushing is stress producing whereas restful hurrying is energizing.

TESTIMONIALS: What others say about Mona’s training.

“Mona Dunkin has the unique ability as well as drive to reach out and help others with her gift of coaching and mentoring. Mona taught me the importance of separating my actions from my words. Many times if I do something that is not wise, I will attack my self-esteem instead of calling the action unwise. She also taught me how to resolve a specific conflict with a friend.” Darnel Kimble, Baylor University

CREATING VALUE: True success involves mutual gain. Mona’s new book, Creating Value, an intangible in a tangible world, deals with developing a dual bottom line of being cost-effective and people effective by balancing a three-legged stool of being, doing and having. It explores Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and applies the physics principles to human relationships. Buy it today. http://www.monadunkin.com/

NEED A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER: One of America's most interesting speakers can be enjoyed in person in a presentation tailored to your specific need. Whether organizational, business or civic, you will be entertained with her humor, challenged with her gift of uncommon insights, and motivated by her thought provoking poems. Mona has developed a dramatic series of life changing, solution principles that address the universal needs of people.