I met a friend for lunch on Saturday. We had a lot of catching up to do. Are you ever surprised at what comes out of your mouth when a friend says, “What’s new?” Even though we had big things to talk about including her trip to New Zealand, my visit with Dad, the retreat I’d just had for my Monthly Marketing Bundle members in Sonoma, her expanded position at Sustainable Fairfax, I heard myself say, “It’s this book I’m reading.” I pulled it out of my purse and showed it to her and then bent her ear for fifteen minutes about all the ways this book was changing my life. (Not to be overly dramatic or anything!)
It’s by UK author Mark Forster and it’s called Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management.
But it’s true. I believe this book has the power to influence my whole year plus the next five! It’s helping me recognize why I’m so busy all the time and how I can be more productive and a whole lot calmer by changing systems and practicing new habits. It’s exactly the right book at the right time.
There are other books that have been wayshowers. The book Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges appeared when I faced divorce and knew life was going to change in big ways. I carried it with me everywhere I went. When I started my style and wardrobe consulting business with the realization that as a single mom with three kids I had to make it work, the book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffries (first published in 1987) became my guidebook. (I’d still recommend these today!)
But why this book and why now? I have a great life but I’ve been feeling vaguely unsettled. I’m busy. Too busy. Or is that not true? Maybe I’m just disorganized. I make lists of things to do and then do everything but what’s on that list all the while being busy, busy, busy. I want more time for myself but how do I do that when I have all these other things to do? I don’t know what to say yes to and what to say no to. I get ten new great ideas a day and want to do them all but don’t know where to begin. I don’t trust myself that if I do begin I’ll follow through to the end.
Does any of this happen to you? If you’re like most of the style and image consultants I know you’re very creative. Do you get sidetracked? Do your creative projects get stalled, neglected, or abandoned? Then you know how I feel.
Over the holidays a podcast led to a free ebook which led me to Mark Forster. The topics that led me to him were about productivity and time management skills for creatives. As soon as I opened Do It Tomorrow (he has three books) I knew I’d found exactly what I was looking for…EXACTLY. He got me! Help was on the way!
Here’s how Mark Forster’s book helped me this week
After the retreat, I went back to Do It Tomorrow and read the Current Initiatives chapter. I saw an immediate use for this chapter.
A current initiative is something that you choose to focus on, every day. It’s important. By making it your current initiative it’s not going to get buried or abandoned and you’ll reap rewards.
Here’s Mr. Forster’s promise regarding working with current initiatives.
If you allow it to, it will take your life and business forward in a way you never imagined possible. It will enable you to turn pipe dreams into reality.
Mr. Forster asks his readers to look at their businesses or creative endeavors and choose one to be their current initiative. (One at a time.) From all the things you want to move forward, you choose one to focus on. He wants you to take action on that current initiative first thing every single day. If you only have five minutes, you do it for five minutes. If you have more time, you do more.
He stresses these three steps.
- Every day
I decided to put it to the test. I had a bunch of notes and great ideas that I got during the retreat. I embraced “processing retreat notes” as my current initiative.
As per an earlier suggestion of his to put all the materials that need to be processed in one place, I started stacking up everything that had notes, resources, good ideas, evaluations, ah-has, blog ideas, and conversation notes in one pile in my office.
Usually, this kind of thing is daunting. It seems like a good idea but who has time for it? Look at that pile! It would take forever to go through all of that! Or would it? If I spent a minimum of five minutes a day, could I get through it and reap the rewards of taking action on those great ideas?
Every day I took one thing from the pile and processed it. I’d given my A Conversation On Aging presentation during the retreat and had some sensational notes on my paper easel that I wanted to process for future blog posts, presentations, or maybe even a book.
The MMBers helped me brainstorm ways to let more people in on the best-kept industry secret which they claim is the Monthly Marketing Bundle program. and our retreats. I started noodling about future marketing bits I could write for the website.
I wrote up my notes with plans to share them with Lucy, my social media marketer.
Look what happened after a few days of doing something every day with all those great notes and ideas. They all got processed!
What do I have as a result? I’ve made a great connection with another professional and we’re going to do some cross referrals for our programs. I’ve got a headstart on blog posts for this website. I got some great quotes from the retreat evaluations and I’ll use those for my website. I brought some ideas to Lucy and she’s inspired to redesign my website. Yay!
And more than all of that, I am really proud of myself. I feel good about myself. I didn’t let those good ideas languish in a pile somewhere. I processed them. Bit by bit I followed through on my current initiative. I did it the Mark Forster way: do, first, every day.
I can’t wait to see what else Mark and I will do together!
Do you have a current initiative that’s calling your name? If I can do it, you can do it!