Category: Goal-setting


Do You Need to Make a To-Don’t List?

Last week I wrote about how to say no and have more time for your passions. One of the things I mentioned that could help you manage your time better was creating what I call a TO-DON’T list.

Perhaps you’re one of those people who always make to-do lists and relish the feeling of checking off each item.

But to be successful and less stressed in our day-to-day lives, sometimes we need a TO-DON’T list.

I use a paper calendar called a Passion Planner which already comes with a section blocked off for each month where you can add “not-to-do” items in addition to your to-do items.

What Is a TO-DON’T List?

A TO-DON’T list has on it those things we shouldn’t waste our time and energy doing.

It’s probably the harder of the two types of lists to follow since most items are ones we have to remember time and time again not to do. We can’t just not do it once and check it off. We have to refer back to it, remember it, and develop it as a habit.

This can also take a lot of energy.

But, if you spend your energy working on your TO-DON’T list, you’ll save more energy in the long-run.

Below is an example of a TO-DON’T list. It’s my own personal TO-DON’T list for 2020.

Feel free to personalize it for yourself so you can de-stress and focus your energies on your personal and professional goals.

My TO-DON’T List:

  1. Spend time on meaningless things that distract me from my goals, like scrolling through my phone.
  2. Forget to maintain personal and professional relationships.
  3. Choose work projects which don’t support my company’s mission.
  4. Censor myself too much on my blog. I want to be more transparent so others can learn from my experiences instead of worrying they will think I’m talking too much about myself.
  5. Do anything that doesn’t support or line up with my personal mission statement.

Do you have a personal mission statement? If not, add this to your to-do list! It can serve as the basis for helping you make difficult choices when faced with different opportunities.

You can learn how to come up with your own personal mission statement in my book Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

Your TO-DON’T List

What do you need to add to your own TO-DON’T list?

Perhaps you don’t need to continue feeling stuck in your current job.

Maybe you don’t need to keep putting off pursuing your passions or letting lack of confidence stand in your way.

Or, you don’t need to put off getting help in these areas any longer.

If this is the case for you, add to your to-do list, “Fill out the paNASH intake form.” It’s a simple item you can check off your list to get you started on a brighter future!

Related post:

How to Say No and Have More Time For Your Passions

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How to Say No and Have More Time For Your Passions

In last week’s post entitled “The Best New Year’s Resolutions to Boost Your Career,” I gave you seven resolutions to try this new year. One of those resolutions was to do less so you can have more time to focus on your personal and professional goals.

This may sound impossible, especially given your current work schedule and all the other resolutions you’ve made for yourself this year.

But there are several things you can do less of  to carve out more time for your goals and passions.

Say yes less and learn how to say no more

It can be hard to say no, especially for people-pleasers. Anytime you’re faced with a task, activity, or event, ask yourself the following questions before immediately responding with “yes.”

  • Will I enjoy it?
  • Does it earn income?
  • Will it open up more quality time with my family?
  • Is it something leading me one step closer toward a goal of mine, like starting my own business?
  • Does it support my personal mission statement?

If you can’t answer yes to at least three of the above questions, say no or delay giving a commitment if you need to think about it some more. Perhaps you can say yes, but need to set some clear parameters or boundaries. For instance, you may agree to help with the task but for only a certain amount of time.

Most importantly, make sure you measure the opportunity against your personal mission statement to see if it supports it or distracts from it. If you don’t have a personal mission statement, check out my post “How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple” to help you create one.

If you realize it’s best to say no to the request, do so politely. Simply say, “I appreciate you thinking of me, but unfortunately it’s not something I can commit to at this time.” You don’t have to give any further explanation.

If the person doesn’t respect your response and keeps pushing the issue, keep repeating the above statement without changing it or adding anything to it. He or she will eventually accept your response or move on.

Outsource what you can

If the task or activity is an obligation, determine if it can be delegated our outsourced. While you may not like the idea of paying to outsource the task, the time saved from hiring someone can open up more time for you to do work you find more enjoyable and more profitable.

For instance, housework is a necessary evil and it has to get done. Some weeks I have more clients and more billable hours than I have time to spend doing my housework. But if I can make more money in an hour or two doing a job I love than I’d spend on a visit from a housekeeper, it makes more financial sense to pay the housekeeper so I can have the time to make more money and grow my business. Plus, not having to spend the extra time cleaning frees me up to spend time with friends or family.

When considering what can be delegated or outsourced, choose to delegate or outsource the tasks you enjoy least or make you the least money yet require the most time.

Work within your skill set

Make sure you’re spending your time working within your skill set. Don’t expend time or energy trying to get better at the things you’re not good at. Instead, let those be the things you delegate or outsource.

When I do presentations on the topic of personal branding, I often ask the audience why it’s important to know your weaknesses. The usually say it’s so you can know what skills you need to learn or improve. But this is not the correct answer. Instead, it’s so you can know what to say no to.

Do the things you do best and forget the rest. Stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole or you’ll just get frustrated and waste your time. You were created with certain gifts. You’re a good steward of those gifts when you’re using them instead of trying to take on someone else’s gifts.

Be selective in who you work with

You don’t always get to choose your boss or co-workers, but on the occasions you do, only work with those who are receptive to what you’re doing.

This is especially important if you’re starting your own business. If a potential client or partner doesn’t get your vision or mission, don’t waste your time trying to sell them on it. Save this time and energy for those who do get it.

This is why I’m selective in who I take on as clients. The ones who see the importance of career coaching and understand their return on investment make my work so much more enjoyable and less stressful.

If you do have to work with someone difficult, keep any necessary interactions with the person as short and limited as possible. During those interactions stick to facts. Don’t express your emotions to someone who can’t be trusted with them. Also, establish boundaries and repeat them if necessary. And above all else, remain professional.

Downsize

If you’re spending more time and money having to maintain your material possessions, it’s probably time to downsize.

Get rid of the stuff that costs you more to maintain than it provides you convenience. Better yet, sell those items and use the money as seed money to start your own business or side hustle.

I promise, you won’t miss those things tying you down.

Say no to time-suckage activities

While you’re at it, also eliminate any unproductive activities sucking up all your time. This includes scrolling through social media, binge watching Netflix, talking on the phone with people who only want to gossip instead of talking about more meaningful things.

At the very least, reduce the amount of time you do these things by 30%.

With all the free time you gain back, use it to learn a new skill, read a book, or write a business plan for your own company you hope to start.

Screen your calls

I have a personal rule. If I don’t recognize the number calling me, I don’t answer it.

I’m surprised how many people don’t do this. Especially given the number of robo-calls people get these days. If it’s important, the person calling will leave a message.

Manage your time better

Sometimes finding more time for your passions simply requires you to revisit some tried and true time management practices. This includes setting deadlines for the obligations you can’t delegate or outsource. Put those things on your calendar.

Speaking of calendars, once you’ve incorporated some of the above suggestions in your life, look to see how much time has been freed up on your calendar. Write in the productive things you now want to use this time for in pursuing your passions.

In addition, if you like to make a to-do list for everything, consider writing a to-don’t list too. This can also help you manage your time better.

Get over your FOMO and say no

Some of the above suggestions may make you feel like you’re missing out on some things. But consider what you’re really missing out on if you say no. It will be the things that have no real pay-off in your life.

Sometimes the joy of missing out (JOMO) can free you up for the things you should say yes to and should never miss out on.

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The Best New Year’s Resolutions To Boost Your Career

The best new year’s resolutions to boost your career aren’t just resolutions. They’re also commitments. If you commit to incorporating even just one of the following resolutions into your career for this new year and new decade, I guarantee you’ll see a return on your investment of time and energy.

Resolutions guaranteed to boost your career

1. Deepen your knowledge and become an expert

Take the favorite part of your job or know-how and deepen your current knowledge of it so you can establish yourself as an expert in this area. Doing so can open doors for you down the road.

For instance, it can lead to a promotion, or it could make you a sought-after consultant in your industry. This could allow you to become independent and set your own hours and salary.

Start by reading as many books on your subject as possible. Once you deepen your knowledge on your chosen subject, you can then start to share this knowledge along with your experience by writing articles and speaking on panels or podcasts about it.

This is a way to serve as a resource for others in your field. It also gives you credibility which can begin your journey toward career advancement and career independence.

2. Use creativity when solving problems

Does your current job allow you enough freedom to be able to solve problems in different ways? If so, don’t be afraid to try new ways of solving old problems and see what happens.

If you’re able to invent a better way from what’s always been done in the past and you’re able to share your best practices, you’re for sure on your way to becoming an expert in your field.

3. Learn a new skill

While you’re spending time becoming an expert in your field, don’t forget to also take time to learn a new skill.

For instance, if you think you eventually want to become an independent consultant in your area of expertise, take some time to learn some digital marketing skills to help you promote your service to your potential client base.

Or, learn a skill you may need in a higher-level position if you were to get promoted.

4. Adapt

In addition to learning a new skill to advance your career, don’t forget to also learn the things you need to keep up with your industry. Things change rapidly in today’s world of work. It’s important to adapt to industry trends and changes to remain relevant.

5. Always be networking

You knew I was going to say this, right? Always, always, always build and maintain your network. Networking is important throughout your career, especially if you decide to leave your job to work for yourself.

Reach out and reconnect with old contacts and create new ones. Set a goal for yourself in this new year for a specific number of people you plan to reconnect with. Then set a goal for how many new people you want to add to your network this year.

You may even want to set a goal for how many networking events you plan to attend each month or how many one-on-one conversations you plan to schedule.

6. Resolve to do less

While all of the above suggestions may sound like more things to add to your already busy to-do list, you may have to let go of some things to make room for your new commitments and resolutions. But it’s important to know which ones to let go of.

Learn to let go of and say no to anything that doesn’t support your personal mission statement (see my post entitled “How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple“). Also, let go of and say no to anything that isn’t a building block for your personal and professional goals.

7. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, update your resume every six months, even when you’re not looking for a job. You never know when you’ll be invited to serve on a panel or speak at an event (especially when you start fulfilling the above commitments and resolutions). When this happens, the coordinator of the event will likely ask you for a copy of your most recent résumé.

You’ll want to include the new skills you’re developing, the results of your new creative problem solving, and the speaking engagements you’re giving and articles you’re publishing on your area of expertise.

You’ll also want to update your LinkedIn profile and add to it your new contacts from your networking efforts.

Resolutions work if you’re committed

Making resolutions and keeping resolutions are two different things. It’s easy to make resolutions. It’s not easy to keep them. Therefore they will require commitment on your part.

To help you stay committed to your goals and resolutions, subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a free download of the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. This free resource is designed to get you out of your rut and get you moving toward success.

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How to Make This New Decade Your Most Successful One Yet!

Several years ago, I was introduced to the pageant world when I was hired to provide interview coaching for the contestants of a preliminary pageant in the Miss America system. Since I wasn’t familiar with pageant competition, I began my research, which included attending something called “Work Weekend.”

Work Weekend is the annual event held a month before the Miss North Carolina state pageant. It’s where new judges are trained and the state contestants are prepped for the upcoming week-long competition.

Each year during Work Weekend, the current Miss North Carolina gives a talk to the newest batch of state contestants. She shares her experience of winning the crown, making appearances across the state, and promoting her philanthropic platform.

While attending this talk, I observed the contestants as they listened intently to the reigning Miss North Carolina. But I noticed one contestant in particular who was writing feverishly in her notebook. She never once looked up.

Laser-sharp focus

At the following year’s Work Weekend, this same young woman stood before the latest batch of state contestants. She told them how, when she was sitting in their place, she was writing down what she wanted to say to them in her own speech.

I knew what I witnessed the previous year was someone who’d already won the crown and was preparing for her role as queen. Within the year, I watched this woman compete and win the Miss North Carolina title with laser-sharp focus, and go on to become the 2nd runner-up at Miss America.

She used a method for achieving success you too can apply to both this new year and this new decade.

Method to a Successful New Year and New Decade

1. Visualize it

Start by visualizing the success you want to have by the end of this next decade and by the end of the new year. Close your eyes and picture yourself having already achieved this success.

What do you see?

What do you hear?

And what do you feel?

Go back to your vision board I talked about in one of my previous posts and see what you might need to add to it. Look at it on a regular basis as a reminder of what you’re working toward.

Repeat this step each year of this next decade.

2. Prepare for it

Now, taking your vision, work backward to determine what steps must be taken to arrive at your goal.

Do you need to learn something new through training or additional education?

Do you need to expand your network?

Or, do you need to just gather the courage to take a calculated risk?

Use a mind map like the example in my recent post “Are You Happy With What You Accomplished This Past Decade?” to help you plot your steps for success.

Then, consider if there’s anything you can begin now that will be required of you once you’ve achieved the success you seek. Map out those steps as well on your mind map.

Update your mind map at the beginning of each new year of this new decade.

3. Trust in God

Like Amanda Foust said in “How To Find Peace About The Future,”

“We need to accept that the future is unpredictable in some ways, but what we do now does have an effect on where we will be later…Understanding our lack of control, continuing to work hard in the present, and letting God handle our future is the only sure way we will find peace.”

Once you’ve done the first two steps of visualizing your success and preparing for it, all you can do at this point is trust everything will work out the way it’s supposed to, as long as you’ve done your part.

It’s at this point you have to develop patience to see the fruits of your labor. And you must learn flexibility in case success might look slightly different than you originally envisioned. It may take the entire decade to develop patience and flexibility, so allow yourself time to be molded in this way.

Believe in your success in the new decade

The example of the young lady mentioned above is a reminder how success doesn’t just come from achieving your goals. It also comes from believing you can achieve your goals.

She was able to do what was within her control. She visualized it, prepared for it, and trusted God with the rest.

I encourage you to do what’s within your control. Learn to recognize when you still have more to do, and when you need to take a break and let God do the rest.

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How to Make This the Last Year You Say Next Year

As I sit down to write this blog post, I’m procrastinating. I don’t feel like writing it for a couple of reasons. One, it’s my birthday and I’d rather do something else, but I can’t because I have too many other things I have to get done between now and when this post is due to publish. Two, the words for this post aren’t coming to me as I’d hoped.

While I don’t usually procrastinate, there are times when I do. And this is one of them.

Another time I was reminded of this morning was when I was a junior in high school. I had an English class assignment to read a book entitled A Walk Across America and write a journal entry for each chapter of the book.

I did read the book. But I was procrastinating on the journal entries. I told myself I’d go back and do them after reading through the entire book first. This was not a good idea.

After reading the book, the journal entry portion of the assignment now seemed too daunting. I never did finish the full assignment. I only turned in three or four journal entries and therefore did not get a good grade. Twenty-nine years later I still remember this.

Better late than never

About five years ago, I decided to re-read the book and maybe even journal on some of the rest of the chapters.

In doing so, I learned the author, Peter Jenkins, now lives near me just outside of Nashville. I contacted Peter and told him the story above. He got a good laugh out of it and of course said, “Better late than never!”

I often wonder to myself, “What if Peter had procrastinated and never took his walk across America?” He surely wouldn’t have high school English instructors using his book to teach young minds about the importance of pursuing goals and adventures.

How to stop procrastinating: get to the root of the problem

Procrastination isn’t a good thing. But it’s even worse if it’s causing you to put off your dreams and your goals for your life.

How many years (or decades) have gone by where you never did what you said you wanted to do? How many more years do you want this to continue happening? Make this year, 2019, the last year you say next year. Here’s how!

You first have to get to the root of what causes you to procrastinate, especially if you’re a chronic procrastinator. So let’s first figure out your reason for procrastinating.

1. Is your goal not urgent enough?

If you don’t think your goal is urgent, then ask yourself if you’ll be disappointed again if you haven’t completed it by this time next year. If the answer is yes, then your goal has now become urgent.

Look at some of the other goals you have for yourself and ask the same question. Then choose the most urgent of those you said yes to, and commit to beginning it now.

2. Do you feel like you don’t know where to start?

Well, whether you realize it or not, you’ve already started just by reading this post and determining which of these reasons are causing you to delay your goals. And if you’ve read last week’s post (“Are You Happy With What You Accomplished This Past Decade?“), you should’ve already started with the first few steps in the complimentary 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. If not, go back and do so.

Now you have a place to start, so you can no longer use this as an excuse.

3. Are you afraid of failing?

You won’t be considered a failure if you at least give your goals a try. It’s when you don’t try at all that you’ll be seen as a failure.

I’ve written a lot in my blog about the fear of failure. If this is your reason for procrastinating, I suggest you type the word “failure” in the search box of this blog and read what pops up!

4. Do you work better under pressure?

This might be about the only legitimate reason to procrastinate, but be honest with yourself about it. Is this really true about you? Or are you just saying this because you don’t want to admit any of the other reasons might be the real reason?

If you know this is true for you and you honestly produce your best work having a tight deadline, then keep working this way (since it seems to work for you!). But go ahead and set your deadline for your goal.

5. Do you just not want to do the work that’s involved?

If the amount of work it takes to accomplish your goal feels overwhelming, choose some other goals you’re excited about and won’t easily get either bored or overwhelmed with. Start with those.

Once you see how you’re able to accomplish these goals, you’ll find it easier to accomplish your other goals.

How to stop procrastinating: take action

Now that you’ve figured out which reason or reasons for your procrastination, next set and prioritize your goals. Again, use the free 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan I gave you in last week’s post.

Then, find an accountability partner. Someone who you can report to periodically on your progress (but not someone who’s going to nag you about it). Someone who wants to see you succeed but doesn’t necessarily have a personal stake in the results of your goals.

Also, write down dates in your calendar and set alarms on your phone for check-in points (either every month or every 90 days).

I recommend using a Passion Planner since it’s specifically designed to help you accomplish the goals you’re most excited and passionate about. I’ve used one every year for the past four years and just started filling out my fifth one for 2020. I honestly don’t think I would’ve accomplished as many things as I have in the past four years without my Passion Planner.

Finally, at the end of each quarter in the upcoming year, look back over what all you’ve accomplished thus far. This will give you the confidence and the momentum you need to finish out the remaining steps and tasks for your goals.

“The truth is 2020 won’t be any different than 2019 if you don’t make the choice to change.” Yasmine Cheyenne

By this time next year, instead of saying, “I’ll do it next year,” you’ll be saying, “What’s next?!”

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