Show of hands… How many of you automatically think of restarting school when you think of September? I sure do! Those of you who have children still in school probably really feel that way!

Take a second to think about the significance of restarting school when you were a youngster. Did it mean seeing friends that you had not seen over the summer? Did it mefresh-start-compressedan starting fresh with a new teacher (or new set of teachers)? Did it mean you were one year closer to graduation?

Personally, I think it meant all of those things to me; however, the biggest opportunity was a fresh start.  This
meant starting fresh with a new teacher, a new classroom, new things to learn, new friends, etc. I was always filled with a combination of nervousness and excitement about the upcoming school year.

Do you still have that nervousness and excitement at this time of year? After going through so many school years it almost feels ingrained in us.

How can you harness this nervousness and excitement into a FRESH START PROJECT that will catapult you forward during the last quarter of 2016? Here are some thoughts…

STEP 1: Determine what it is that you would like to accomplish during this time that would be in the form of something new and different (a fresh start). A great way to decide what this will be is to do what I like to call a “brain dump”. Here are some helpful steps:

  • Take a piece of paper and a pen/pencil.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes of uninterrupted time.
  • Use this uninterrupted time to sit down and write down EVERYTHING that is swirling around in your head. Do not edit it. Do not group things together. Do not judge it. Just write it down on the paper!

STEP 2: AFTER the timer rings, you can review what you wrote to determine ONE thing (or group of things) that will give you a fresh start. As you look at this list, be sure to pay attention to the items that make you somewhat nervous AND excited, just like when you were starting a new year in school.

STEP 3: Once you’ve decided on your fresh start project, block off time on your calendar to specifically focus on this new and exciting project. You may find you can only book 30 minutes at a time. That’s perfect! If you can find 30 minutes 2 times a week, imagine how much progress you can make!

Here’s a word of caution — be sure to KEEP this appointment with yourself. It can be very easy to push a meeting with yourself aside, especially when things get busy. If you do need to take this meeting time slot for something else, be sure to RESCHEDULE the meeting, instead of canceling it completely.

STEP 4: At your first meeting for your fresh start project, take some time to brainstorm all of the steps you will need to take to complete this project. Use this information to put these steps in order as best you can. You probably won’t have all the pieces at this time or have the exact order; that’s normal. This will give you a framework of a plan to get started that you can change as you go. Finally, add any estimated completion dates to the steps in your plan. This will help you to gauge your progress going forward.

Start your future meetings by reviewing your plan. Mark the things you have accomplished, change due dates, add missing tasks, change the order of tasks, etc.

STEP 5: Schedule some time on your calendar to continue to go through the rest of your brain dump to determine what other things you want to focus on, delegate or let go of.

This 5-step process allows you to figure out your top priority and positions you to take action! This is much more productive than just letting all of these things swirl around in your head. You are really able to USE the nervousness and excitement associated with your fresh start project to make great progress (just like you did all those years in school)!

Helen Kosinski
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