Get Clear About What Needs to Get Done

by Kimberly Fulcher - Date: 2006-12-16 - Word Count: 1081 Share This!

This is the time of year that delivers long lines, parking lots so filled to capacity that you must drive in circles to find a spot, interactions with annoying relatives, endless invitations to parties you'd rather not attend, shopping lists designed to decimate your financial health, and to-do lists so long that Superwoman couldn't accomplish them. Tis the season for overwhelm.

Not this year!

This year you have a coach, and together we are going to create a plan. This plan will help you identify everything you want to accomplish, the steps you need to take to complete your objectives, and the timeline you can use to make sure that everything gets done on time. Let's get started.

Step One: Get Clear About What Needs To Get Done

There is a big difference between "need-to-do" and "want-to-do". For some reason, even the most reasonable people I've encountered seem to lose all sense of logic and reality during the holidays. They think they must attend every party, make home-baked gifts for all of the neighbors, offer extravagant gifts to their family and friends and host get-togethers that rival Martha Steward. No way!

Please allow me to be the voice of reason. Not only do you not need to complete everything on your list, you don't need to complete those things that make your list the hard way. First let's talk about what's going to make your list.

Take a moment, and write down every item you feel like you need to accomplish between today and the culmination of your holiday season (whether that culmination rests with Hanukkah, Christmas Day, Kwanza, or some other celebration). This is the first step on your path to freedom.

Step Two: Get REALLY Clear About What REALLY Needs To Get Done

Now that you've completed a summary of all of the activities that have been taking up space in your head, I'm going to challenge you to revisit your list, and rid yourself of half (yes - that's 50%) of the items you placed on it. I encourage you to do that by evaluating why each item made your list in the first place. If an item made your list for a good reason; fabulous, keep it there. If an item made your list for a reason that isn't so good, let it go!

How do you determine whether the items on your list are based on good or bad motivation? While you will certainly have highly personal criteria that helps you make this decision, my work with coaching clients has allowed me to identify several patterns that might be helpful to you as you make your decisions. Take a look at the list below, and consider whether any of the items on your list match up with anything in this example.

Good For You Motivation

*It's important to you.

*It supports someone you care about.

*It's a family tradition that matters to you.

*It will make you feel great.

*It will make you feel connected to others.

*You want to do it.

Bad For You Motivation

*It's important to acquaintances who aren't important to you.

*It supports someone you know but don't care about.

*It's something you're family has always done.

*You're worried others will judge you if you don't do it.

*You feel obligated.

*You don't know how to say no.

Now it's your turn. Using this perspective, evaluate each of the items on your list, and eliminate at least half of the things on your list. Remember to focus on those things you want-to-do vs. those you believe you need-to-do.

Once you've evaluated your original list, re-write those items you've decided to keep one master list.

Step Three: Create Projects

It's probable that most of the tasks you've identified are related in some way. Your next step asks you to move through your list one more time; identifying key projects that will guide your efforts and prioritizing steps that will be required to support each of those projects.

For example, let's imagine you made note that you need to select and order holiday cards, buy stamps, address envelopes, and mail your greeting cards. In this instance, all of these tasks are related to one another in that they have to do with getting your holiday greeting cards out. Therefore, they really make up one project. In this case, your project would be Greeting Cards.

In another example, if you know that you must host a holiday gathering, even though you might not have written all of the steps involved in doing so, you're aware that there will be multiple steps involved in doing so. Thus, Holiday Gathering would become a project.

Identify Your Key Projects

Let's personalize your projects. I've provided you with a sample of key projects based on the work I've done with coaching clients. Take a look at my example, and then summarize your list.

Sample List

Holiday Decorations

Holiday Cards


Events to Attend

Events to Host (I. E. Parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza Celebration Dinners)

Take a few moments to create your project list this week.

Step Four: Create Your Project Task Lists

Now that you know what your key projects are, we need to identify the specifics actions you'll need to take to make them happen. For each project, identify the key tasks you'll need to complete to finish each project.

Now you'll define the order you want to complete tasks in for each of the projects that you've summarized. Revisit the activity you just completed, and prioritize the tasks you'll need to do first, second, third, and so on.

Step Five: Create Your Timeline

Now that you know what to do - it's time to do what you know. Let's take your tasks, and assign them to a workable timeline.

Based on the number of weeks you have left between the time you started this workbook and the culmination of your holiday activities, assign the tasks you must complete (in order) to each week on the grid below.

I've provided a space for you to define the name of each project (under the project number) on the grid. From there, write the specific tasks you need to complete each week to move your project forward.

Step Six: Work Your Plan

The only step between you and holiday success is scheduling. Your timeline will show you how many actions you need to take each week to support your holiday plan. Based on this knowledge, pull out your calendar and make appointments with yourself to complete the weekly activities in your timeline. Then, show up to address the task-at-hand each day. Not only will you complete the projects you've defined, you'll enjoy your holidays as a result of the personal mastery your survival strategy has given you.

Related Tags: holiday, self help, motivation, time management, goals, organization, life coach

Lifestyle Expert, Kim Fulcher, has been dubbed America's Reinvention Coach™. She is the author of Remodel Your Reality: Seven Steps to Rebalance Your Life and Reclaim Your Passion. She is the founder, president and CEO of Compass Life and Business Designs, a professional coaching, training, and publishing company. Her work as an entrepreneur, company leader, author, speaker, and professional coach has resulted in her national recognition as an expert in personal and professional success. You can learn more about Kim and join her FREE community at and receive a free eBook and audio.

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