As usual this has been a people intensive week. I have presented to a few groups and spent time one on one. If I had to choose a common theme from all that it would be that a lot of those people are having trouble getting their lives organised and fulfilling the demands of the course they are on (or the role they play) here at RAAF Base Wagga. In fact, when I reflected on those issues it was obvious that maybe I too had got slack and some of the things I was encouraging others to implement I had forgotten! So where do you start to become better organised? Here are some of the helpful hints I gave to others, in fact 7 steps towards better organisation.
- Vision! Often the reason people lack organisation is because they don’t know where they are going. We all need a goal, a clear, challenging destination to head for, which stimulates our passion to do what it takes to achieve it. As one book I was reading this week told me “Management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right things” (Peter Drucker), but if you don’t know your destination you won’t know if you are doing the right things even if you are doing things which seem right to others.
- Plan! Having a grand vision is useless if you don’t know how to get there, so step 2 is making a list of the steps you need to take to get you to that destination. Your goal might be to become Chief of the Air Force, but it will never happen if you have failed to do your homework and list the steps required.
- Prioritise! One of the facts of human nature is that sometimes we lack the personal discipline to do the first things first. We would prefer to do the things we enjoy! It is no use spending all your time working on how to become an officer to fulfil your dream of becoming CAF, when you have not yet completed 1RTU!
- Start! This might seem obvious but the world seems to be filled with procrastinators who may have a vision, made a list of the steps, prioritised them, but just never seem to find the time to start. As Nike says: “Just do it!” There will never be a perfect time, so take the plunge now.
- Finish! For every task you start, make sure that you have set a realistic finish time. It is interesting to note that the tide of opinion these days is moving away from “multi-tasking” to “finish one thing at a time”.
- Handle interruptions! To be organised you need to stay in control and not allow people or things to sidetrack you. In my job that is a big call because the nature of much of my work is reacting to situations. But if you plan wisely, allowing for time to batch those interruptions you can be much more efficient in dealing with them, whether they be people on the doorstep, telephone calls or emails.(That is the one that continually catches me out.)
- Reward yourself! There has got to be rewards along the route and not just at the end of the journey. As Martina Navratilova, the great tennis champion said “The moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else”. Plan a reward for every stage to keep your spirits up through the hard times that inevitably come.
On one level all that is pretty obvious, but looking but my own life, I sometimes forget! So, if you are feeling overwhelmed by everything, take some time out to reflect, to think about what your life is really about. Maybe you are doing things right but have lost sight of the right things. If you are still struggling, take the initiative to talk to someone about it, maybe even send me an email. I have not got all the answers but as a fellow struggler I might be able to steer you in the right direction or at least introduce you to someone who has – God!
Chaplain Ian S Whitley