This time of year, we are often tricked into believing that with a fresh new slate, we can, this year, finally get it all done and be satisfied. For myself in particular, I have several messes left over from last year to clean up, a desire to finally get ahead on another project, and of course, a couple of new things that I hope to start and finish within a reasonable amount of time. That’s do-able, isn’t it?
Ummm, probably not going to happen, based on past experience.
Somewhere in my project management and facilitation training I was taught that lack of time and money were not legitimate reasons, but excuses. These two areas are always limited resources, so the question is not what you CAN’T do because of these things, but instead what you CAN do with what you’ve got. So if you, like me, are struggling with some mighty big expectations for the coming year, here are four ways to bring yourself back down to reality and set yourself up for success.
1. You actually can’t do it all.
I know it’s depressing, but it’s true: our to-do lists become mammoth at this time of year. So pick one to three top priorities to focus on and promise to review the rest of the list once spring rolls along.
2. Schedule it.
You’ve heard this before, but actually DOING something is the only way to get it done. Thinking about it doesn’t count! So set aside a block of time on your calendar to dedicate to your top priority. If the calendar isn’t your favourite tool, then pick an activity that you already do and plan to spend a bit of time on your top priority before or after that activity. For example, maybe there is a staff meeting every Monday that you attend without fail. What if you took 20 minutes before the meeting, shut your door and worked on your top priority until it was time to leave for the meeting? Tying a new priority to an existing priority is one way to make it stick.
3. Reduce your expectations.
Instead of finding a block of several uninterrupted hours, try 30 minutes. Instead of working on something every day, try twice a week. And instead of writing the whole project in an afternoon, work on a few bullet points for the outline. If it feels too easy NOT to do, then it will probably get done.
4. Stop and notice your accomplishments.
So you did it, you finally sat down and spent 30 minutes on the top priority. But it doesn’t feel like enough, so you’re just going to do a few more minutes… STOP! You have been unwittingly sucked into our culture of not-enough-ness. If you said you were going to do 30 minutes and you did it, then stop for a minute and recognize that you did what you said you were going to do and that IS enough.
Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths, stand up and stretch, and maybe go for a brisk walk or grab another cup of coffee. You are enough, your work is enough, and the impact you are having, albeit slowly and steadily, is enough.
So maybe we can’t get it all done, but we can do enough. Here’s to a 2017 of enough!
Is legacy giving one of your top priorities for this year? Need a hand with where to start? Contact us for a free consultation: we have lots of good ideas for busy people who need to do just enough to make legacy giving happen at their organization.
Image credit to Julia Magnuson-Ford