Monday, July 28, 2008

Catch-Up Days


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Look for an announcement soon about a UPositive opening celebration being scheduled for September or October. We’re actively looking for a room, and a date. It’s going to be fun, with door prizes and comedy-relief included! I’ll post the time/date/place here as soon as I have it!

Catch-Up Days

No matter how much visualization, planning, organizing, and scheduling we do, life has a habit of jumping up and grabbing our time and attention. Things take longer than we thought, steps show up we hadn’t thought of, and distractions arise that turn into either needed breaks or necessary additions to our goals lists.

After a week or two, when we review our to-do lists or goals outline, it’s natural to wonder where the time went. Didn’t we plan right? Didn’t we choose the right steps? Are we out of sequence? Where did we go wrong?

It’s worthwhile to check ourselves and correct any mistakes or miscalculations we’ve made. Think of goal attainment as sailing…you don’t get from here to there in a straight line. You tack from side to side, using the weather and the wind to power your journey.

Sometimes, though, it’s not what we’ve done but just life itself that “gets in the way”---and not necessarily negatively. Trust me, if Robert Redford knocked on my door I’d throw my entire to-do list for the week away in a heartbeat, invite him in, and take as long as possible to have a really deep conversation. (Of course, that conversation is on my goals list, it’s just not scheduled into my DayTimer this week.)

So what do we do?

Expect the unexpected. An old adage with a lot of wisdom to it.

What does that mean? For me, it means scheduling in what I call a “catch-up day.” I try to do it every two or three weeks, before the “leftovers” from my DayTimer turn sour or proliferate to overwhelming proportions. Knowing I have the space and time to catch up also releases the stress from seeing leftovers on my to-do list.

A catch-up day is on the schedule with nothing much else around it. I might take a break to go for a walk, or to the gym, but that’s about it. I take out my daily planner, and my goals lists and spend some time reviewing where I’ve been, where I am now, and anything that might be missing. I add and subtract items from the goals list. I go through my to-do lists from the past few weeks and make a list of things I didn’t get to do. Then I schedule those into the next week or two. I update my calendar.

Usually I take the time to re-visualize my goals. Closing my eyes, returning to my relaxed state, I pull up the visualizations of my life five years from now, then three, then next year. By then I have re-energized myself, and I’m ready to get going. This also serves to shortcut the guilt trip I might otherwise pull: “Oy, I should have done that last week”; “How could I have forgotten to call my friend?”; “The meeting was two weeks ago and I haven’t sent my notes yet---why bother, they’ll have forgotten me anyway.” I, like many of you, can go on and on with that goblin-voice in my head. Re-visualizing quiets that voice. Excitement is always more powerful than worry.

After all the organization of my catch-up day morning, I might spend some of the afternoon making some calls or sending some emails that were lost in the rush. Do the follow-up from networking. Send thank you notes. Send great-to-meet you notes. If there are small, quick tasks that fall by the wayside, I might do a few of those, just to check them off the list.

Often, after a catch-up day, I feel refreshed, reorganized, re-inspired. And I try to remember the goals listed under “mental health/relaxation/replenish my mind-body-spirit.” Catch-up days are great for the bubble bath or manicure I’ve been putting off because I’ve been running around too fast trying to GetItAllDone.

So take a day every two to three weeks and play catch-up with yourself!

Do you have your own version of catching up with yourself? Please share it with us along with any other thoughts about this post!!