Excitement mounted as the finishing touches were added to the video of my read of Born Free, my chapter to be included in Pebbles In The Pond: Transforming the world, one person at a time (Publishing in May 2012). I loved the entire creative process. Reveling in each aspect, from the writing of the chapter through to designing the video, recording it, selecting images, liaising with Graeme, The Video Guy, on the editing process and finally sending the link to my awesome social media navigator, Tami, so that she can spin her wonder with it on the web to serve the rippling pebbles transformational community - and you!
As I sat back sipping mango-chilli tea uplifted by completion, enjoying the fabulous results of hours of mindful work, I asked myself: "What did you learn and what would you really like to share that may be of use to others?"
Let me share the underbelly of the project, so that you get a glimpse not just the glamour, but also of the guts of gathering this small work together. For my 7 Keys to Calm, Productive, Purposeful Planning read on.
My main learning was around planning. The video recording of Born Free, is one of many projects I have on the go right now. As well as generating new content and continuing with my commitment to excellence in terms of supporting my existing clients, in the past two weeks I have delivered "How to Have Your Thriving Coaching Business in Topsy Turvy Times" for the International Coach Federation along with "So What's The fuss about NLP" and also "How To Have Your Best Year Yet". Each of these seminars required follow up to honour the fantastic people I met. I hadn't allocated sufficient time for follow up! My plan had to undergo a revision.
I had my timeline all laid out. My organization for the year shaped around the launch of my book Hot Confidence on 19th June 2012 and the Pebbles in The Pond Launch a month earlier, May 20th ( the day before my birthday - so no way I can mix that up!). Planning included the seminars I was committed to, and those I intend to run. My schedule took care of the launch of my new website, my book website, my radio show and the launch of Your Unique System, the coaching program I'm now proud to be offering.
Then, my chapter was chosen for inclusion in the opt-in for publicizing Pebbles in the Pond. Which is fantastic! This meant calling on flexibility to reprioritize my map of the world for the early part of 2012, in order to have the necessary pieces in place to support the flow of that wonderful opportunity.
What was key to successful planning? How was overwhelm kept at bay? How did I remain true to course and cause?
Here are my 7 Keys to Calm, Productive, Purposeful Planning:
1. Take care of the basics:
I ensure that I have no fewer than seven hours sleep a night; my early morning meditation, exercise routine and walks are a non-negotiable; my relationship with my daughter and partner are a priority; and touch and hugs are fully in my life. I endeavour to keep my relationships crystal clear.
2. Keep connected with your personal mission and purpose and make all decisions in accordance with those core factors. Reminding myself to align with my path helps me to decide how to select my priorities.
3. Identify Critical Points: Critical points may include external dates, such as finish lines that must be met, either my own or those set by others that I choose to make important. These can include personal factors such as the first week of school or my daughters birthday party, or vocational and work elements such as the High Tea Launch I have scheduled for Pebbles In The Pond, or Breakthrough consulting days, coaching and mentoring already scheduled with clients. Critical points my include dates for travel.
4. Once Critical Points have been decided on and committed to, it becomes possible to Choose what needs to be attended to first.
5. Get Present and Widen Back: This point has been pure gold. This is where I remind myself that there is a bigger picture and there are always gains and losses involved in making a decision to attend to one aspect rather than another.
Slotting in this step means that I keep things in perspective. It is so tempting for me to head off down the track of making things that could be simple into a complex extravaganza! I've been known to over deliver, and that is not always a good thing, nor strategic. I have learned that my tendency to do too much has cost me health, finances and possibly even clients (isn't that ironic?).
6. Lay out the plan in writing: No more than six or seven items on the list for completion, including exercise and meditation!
7. Plan the first step of the first point and get onto it. Immediately.
Beginning is the ultimate secret to staving off the stress of having too much to do, I find. Finishing a project is a valuable skill to be mastered, as well as as taking the necessary steps along all the way, whether I feel like it or not. To sum up: Identify your Critical Points; set your course; begin; keep taking action, complete. Remain flexible, present and aligned to the essence of you whilst keeping connected to your endgame.
Happy and productive planning to you!