organized-chaosWe are honored to have guest blogger Rhonda Hight of Let’s Talk Communications, who is an expert in communications and work-life balance, share no-nonsense tips regarding how to bring sanity back into your professional lives. The tips in this post actually apply to anyone, not just high potentials. However, high potentials usually demonstrate a consistent rigor which helps to support their outstanding performance. Thanks Rhonda!

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If you’ve ever thought or uttered “How am I going to get all of this done?” “I can’t
find things I’m looking for; I can’t catch up with emails, or return calls in less
than a 72-hour time frame.” If these thoughts cross your mind with regularity,
it’s time to get organized. The following steps are designed to get you started
on the right path:

Step 1: Set Holistic Goals – Often when we consider our goals we look
at them individually—career goals in one category, personal goals in another.
While employing the SMART Goals philosophy, take a holistic approach to this
process. Goals for both your professional and personal life should be homogeneous. Evaluate them for compatibility. When goals are not synchronized they become impossible to attain.

Make sure that what you want to accomplish, and [realistically] what you can accomplish are in alignment. Just like the tires on a car—goals that are out of alignment create a bumpy, uncomfortable and often stressful ride. We’ll eventually make it to our destination, but the trip getting there was not as smooth as it could have been had the tires been in alignment with one another.

Step 2: Prioritize Your Goals – Prioritize them based on the five most important things/people in your life, and YOUR definition of success. Don’t base your priorities on what others think is important for you. A successful plan for organization is as unique as the individual making it. Don’t over analyze why something is most important to you, accept it as the truth of your authentic self. Goals based on things that are not reflective of our values, beliefs and capabilities are just pseudo goals that will likely impress [others], but will never progress, or support the results we hope to achieve.

Step 3: Create and Document Your Plan – Identify specific tasks you’ll need to do in order to achieve your goals. Your plan should be able to answer the following questions: What resources (e.g., time, people, or activities) will I need to accomplish my goals? What is a realistic timeframe for accomplishing each task? What are indicators that my plan is effective? Documenting your plan in this way creates a roadmap that will help you maintain and measure your commitment to these goals, and increase the likely of successfully meeting them.

Step 4: Remain Flexible – In a world where change is a constant, don’t confuse having a plan with being handcuffed to an inflexible regimen. Think of your plan as a method for balancing competing demands on your time, energy and resources, so that what’s most important to you can be accomplished with less mess and stress. Even the best laid plans need periodic adjustments. One my favorite quotes states: “Fortunate are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”

If you need, or just want assistance in moving from organized chaos to chaos that is organized, check out The National Association of Professional Organizers, a non-profit organization that provides a referral service for professional organizers in your area, and offers resource materials. You can find them on the net at: http://NAPO.net.

Disorganization limits your possibilities, capabilities, and ultimately—your profitability.

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