I always read articles on how to help you be more productive and really create results. I especially love the ones that talk to us about the value of FOCUS…books like The One Thing by Gary Keller and The Ivy Lee Method of approaching your work each day.
The bottom line of all of this sage advice is to focus our attention and effort on just one thing at a time. To work to completion and then move on to the next thing on the list.
This approach really is effective in getting things done, but there is a companion skill that you need in place to really make it work for you. See, life doesn’t just pause once you have decided what ONE THING you will focus on.
You have to create a way to deal with the noise of all those other “things to do” that are constantly blaring in the background, competing for your attention. It’s hard to focus on just one thing at a time when your are distracted by a laundry list of other to dos.
I have found that a small shift in perspective can create the proper context for great results.
If you are juggling home, family and business all while trying to have a life, there are bound to be some pieces that fall through the crack. Adopting a philosophy of planned neglect lets you choose what those things are going to be.
The process of Planned Neglect starts with learning how to prioritize what to focus on first. It looks something like this
1. Be real with yourself about the amount of time and energy you have available for the things you want to do.
2. Choose wisely which things will have the biggest impact on the results you value the most.
3. Commit to take focused and inspired action on what is most important.
4. Completely let yourself off the hook for the things you have chosen not to focus on.
5. Work to completion and then choose the next one thing to focus on.
So much of our anxiety, pressure and stress comes from feeling like we should be doing things that we have not prioritized. Choose differently…either make it a priority or plan to neglect it until you have time to really give it the appropriate focus.
I have played this little game with myself on several such occasions and I’ve found that it works like a charm.
Here is a perfect example:
I had just returned from traveling internationally with just a few weeks before a scheduled move into my new office space. My first day home, I went to drive my car and kerplunk. It was completely on the fritz. After taking it to the dealer and hearing the cost of repair, I knew it was time to buy a new car. Ordinarily, that would seem to be an urgent situation. But knowing that I was in the middle of a move and that car buying would require some research…I chose to practice some planned neglect. I told myself. “I will apply for the financing now…but I won’t even look at cars until I have completely moved into my space.” Instantly the pressure was off even in a stressful situation. Taking that approach also helped me find creative solutions to my transportation needs while I was in my neglect chrysalis. Worked like a charm. Within of a week after the move, I secured a few car…no worries.
Have you ever had a situation when planned neglect worked for you? I’d love to hear from you.