New goals are exciting aren’t they? They can also be daunting.

One of the reasons that people hesitate to set new goals is the fear that they will fail. They will let themselves down. And a lurking belief that they don’t have follow through. As with many debilitating Limiting Beliefs, this one is another simple skills gap that is easily fixed.

Don’t believe me? Give me a call and I can show you that you can rock follow through!

I had a conversation with a couple of business owners in the last week that I think you may find interesting. These gentlemen were in a reactive, rather than a proactive state of mind. They would deal with things as they came in, which left them spending much of their time just running, putting out fires.

It is hard to feel sane, be organized or efficient, in this state. And we have all been there. What we may not all know is how to get out of this stressed-out state. If you feel insanely busy, it is time to get control of your week.

These gentlemen had always told themselves things like: “If it is important, I will remember it.” In the beginning, maybe that did work for them. Now that they were more successful, busier and managing staff, they had never stopped to see how that was working for them. As we chatted about the cause of the levels of stress they were undergoing, it was clear that the imaginary list of things-to-do was overwhelming them. They had no idea how big it was, and it was taking a lot of energy just worrying about whether things were being forgotten!You are the manager of your business. Take yourself seriously and treat your time, and your position, with respect.

I want to share with you today the one simple process/tool that they had never tackled:
• Deal with Incompletes

The process? A bit of cleaning of your short term memory with a Mind Dump.

Everything which is incomplete drains energy from you and your effectiveness. Like keeping plates in the air, all incomplete things drain energy from your purpose in life.

In David Allen’s book, Making it All Work, he outlines a plan that will help you work with a clear mind and reduce the stress in your life. His process starts by capturing tasks and ideas, then moves to clarifying, organizing, reflecting and then engaging in action.

Getting control of your mind and your life begins with capturing all the ideas, activities, promises, and responsibilities that you have consciously or unconsciously committed to. Getting things out of your head and down on paper is the first step to a mind that is clear and productive.

Incompletes Step One: This means a list.

So what goes on that list? You will be surprised!

Here is a full set of trigger questions to get this done: Trigger Questions  

You may be shocked at how long this list ends up being, but keep in mind that the list exists… whether you write it down or not. And each item that you are worrying about in your mind is distracting from your effectiveness. So, get it down on paper then edit and organize that list.

Incompletes Step Two: clarifying

The next part of this process is pretty exciting.

Review your list and decide if anything on this list that has been here so long that it is meaningless now. If so cross it off –  it’s done.

Also identify items that you said you would do… but had no intention of doing. Contact the person you made this promise to, and tell them you will not be doing that task. Cross them off your list.

Identify items that are actually meaningless – they do not add value to your home, business or relationships. Cross them off your list.

Next look at your list and decide what you should not be doing. What should you be delegating? 

Incompletes Step Three: action items

Get an appointment calendar with all the hours listed. Put everything on it. Plan your time. Include your travel time in a long time. Stick to it. Time must be managed, just like money.

Look at everything on your list that has a deadline  or is time sensitive. Put it in your calendar. Set an alarm or reminder in advance.

Notice anything that can be done in 30 to 60 seconds. Do it now.

Notice anything you want to do next year – book it. Calendars can book into the future. (This is also true in Dispatch… if you have accepted jobs in Dispatch, get them tentatively booked on your calendar now.)

Incompletes Step Four: teamwork

Many of your items require the action and cooperation of others. Call or email the others that are needed to carry out the task and set up a time to work with them. Transfer this item to a list called waiting.

Incompletes Step Five: resources/future

Many of the items might be things that you want to learn, things would be good to read, things that would be good to do. But they are not essential. Transfer those items to a new list called Maybe. (But cross off any that you know you will never do because they’re just not that important to you.)

Set up a file in which you can put magazines and newsletters that you would like to read but not right this minute. You may want keep this file in your bathroom or beside your bed. Then if the mood strikes you, you can just grab something from that file at your leisure when you have free time.

Now go celebrate. Recognize that your mind will now be available to focus deeper without those nagging worries and take a moment to be proud of that.