Are you organized for success in 2013?
OK, then. It’s the first Monday in February. How are YOUR book marketing plans for 2013 going? I was battling a fierce cold for the first two+ weeks of January. When I finally stopped coughing long enough to be able to hold a reasonable phone conversation, I looked up, and January was g-o-n-e. Now, I find myself back in work mode – and the ideas are swirling fast and furious.
I’ve been reading great stuff, meeting fantastic people, developing new projects, one after the other – all of which is very exciting, but I’m realizing that if I don’t rein it in a bit and organize these thoughts, they could be lost in the whirlwind of energy that carried them to me … and wind up going nowhere.
If you’ve ever heard of the Enneagram personality assessment, I’m a 7 – THE ENTHUSIAST. “Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming overextended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.”
Some coaches refer to this as Shiny Gold Object Syndrome. Or using my catlike reflexes to chase a bird, eat food, climb on the dresser, sit in your lap, and bat at dust bunnies … all simultaneously. I think many creative types fall into this category. The goal is to work on that last line, “At their best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.” They say the teacher teaches what the teacher needs to learn … so trust me when I say I’m not necessarily the best-equipped person to tell you how to manage the 1,000 new ideas that may barrage you daily.
The following are a few things that are working for me. Please know, these didn’t come easily and I have yet to master them completely. But since I’ve been incorporating them, I’m definitely more productive, focused, and calm.
- WRITE IT DOWN. No matter how good the idea, quote, tagline, website, suggestion, or invitation may be, it’s not going to stay at the forefront of your mind for long. Because if you’re active and interested, another great idea, quote, tagline, website, suggestion, or invitation is going to come along right behind it. And then another. Do you really want to trust your memory to recall all of those opportunities, or do you want to be sure to be able to examine them again, when you have some time to focus on them?
- Which leads to the next point. MAKE SOME TIME. I used to have a really bad habit of not reading email as it came in. “Oh, that sounds interesting. I’ll look at it later when I have more time,” is what I told myself. Two hours pass. Another 137 emails poured in on top of the one I was going to “get to,” and before you know it, it was buried, deadline all but forgotten. And it wouldn’t come up again until someone mentioned having attended the event, met the speaker, or in some other way taken advantage of that email that I was going to get to. Now I schedule time to read – and ATTEND to – email every two days.
- PRIORITIZE. Try as you might, you cannot do it all. At least not all at once. This means learning to put an order to your goals and ascribing deadlines to them, too. You might think about creating a physical or virtual file for the things that are interesting but don’t practically apply right now. Then calendar some time (once a quarter, once a month, whatever works for you) to look that file over. At that point, you can reassess your current plans and determine whether the things in your Future Folder might have more relevance now.
One thing is true: it’s impossible to be successful if you’re overwhelmed. 2013 can be your best year yet – as long as you stay somewhat organized and VERY focused. Please share your suggestions, ideas, and experiences around what’s worked for you in the comment section below!
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
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