The keys to getting organized are:
Be sure what you are planning to do is in line with your personal goals. And I have to add here, make sure also that all your personal goals are being attended to in what you do overall. If you have a personal goal which is based on the value of being of service to others, you could easily find yourself in activities aligned closely with this goal but totally neglecting another of your goals, say learning a foreign language, because you are giving too much time and energy to the first.
This is really another way of copping out. You are choosing to devote yourself to your service goal so that you have a watertight excuse for not attending to your language goal, which is very nice and comfortable if you secretly fear you might fail to achieve it. The irony is, if you don't make a start and commit the effort to learning the language, you certainly will fail to achieve it - and it will be your choice at fault, not the lack of time.
Break down the big task into small manageable tasks. This is precisely the way in which a major project such as building a bridge is handled. The ultimate vision of the bridge is formed in the mind of the designer, communicated and shared with the engineer in charge of the project and the rest of the construction team, then the task is broken down into a myriad tiny steps, all of which, when completed, will result in the realisation of the vision. There is a miraculous quality about it all.
There are lots of similar examples in everyday life. Preparing a meal, for instance, requires several or many small activities which require management and co-ordination, but not all of them have to be done simultaneously. The skill is in deciding the sequence of steps and putting them together to make a whole when they are all done.
Gardening is similar. Again it requires a vision, which the gardener keeps firmly in mind while digging, removing obstacles and generally creating havoc. But after many small steps have been taken, one by one, the garden begins to be a reality.
Why, then, do we find it so difficult to take on activities with which we are not comfortable, have never done before or seem dauntingly large? It gets right back to our old enemy Fear.
And the way to deal with fear is to act.
Do something. I could almost say, do anything, as long as what you do starts you on the path towards what you have set out as personal goals. Action is the antidote to fear. If you are acting, you get involved in what you are doing and forget to seize up.
I talked in a previous article about the value of planning and goal setting in bringing myself to preparing my tax return every year. I have done many things to help myself - I hire an accountant to submit the return, I have a computer system to help me analyze all my income and expenditure, but still I procrastinate on it every year without fail. My problem is fear - I have to overcome a basic fear and therefore dislike of anything involving figures.
But when I finally get out the receipts and check books, spread them all out on the dining room table and sort them into piles according to their categories, I find that I am perfectly capable of doing the task. In fact it is not that arduous, once I have got started. All I really have to do is allow action to displace the fear in my mind. After all, the fear is of my own making.
The absence of action, the “wait and see" approach, putting it off as a daily strategy - these are the things which prevent you from getting ahead, both personally and in business. It is far, far better to jump into action and find you have made a mistake - at least you can learn something from mistakes; you can't learn anything from doing nothing.
Anne Clarke offers a free ebook, “Managing People", which provides all sorts of strategies, advice and tips to help you get on better at work, reduce stress, deal with difficult people and become a better co-worker and leader. Download it free from http://www.winningwaysatwork.com