"The first thing each morning, and the last thing each night, suggest to yourself specific ideas that you wish to embody in your character and personality. Address such suggestions to yourself, silently or aloud, until they are deeply impressed upon your mind."
-- Grenville Kleiser
Despite the fact that there is great benefit from remembering "the big picture" when we are considering strategy, there can be an equally huge benefit in being quite specific when it comes to many forms of action. For example, in communication (and to communicate is a form of action), particularly when giving directions, being precise about what you mean, and what you want someone to do, can avoid a multitude of problems.

When listening to people talk about their problems, I have noticed that those who are the most stuck often wrap all their problems into one bundle, and then wonder why it is that they are unable to find a way out from under. Most frequently, when I am coaching someone in such a situation, my advice is that they be more specific. Rather than looking at one immense problem that has many facets, I suggest separating them out. One problem may be personal. Another may be financial. Perhaps another involves work or career. Even though each may feed into another, it is best to separate them from each other as well as we can. Now there are several, perhaps many, smaller problems, but each one is likely to be solvable if we focus on it alone. Then we can turn to the next one in importance.

Another place where specificity can help us in our move toward whatever we define as success can be in scheduling time. Long-time readers know that I recommend making an appointment with oneself for whatever tasks need doing. If you believe that you need to spend an hour a day reading, or marketing, or tidying and filing, then schedule that hour just as you would schedule an appointment with someone else. However, lately I have realized that this is not enough. These "appointments" are too general to help us to keep ourselves on task. We need to be more specific.

For example, suppose that you run your own very small business, and you decide that marketing needs a hour an day every day -- or perhaps more. You schedule the allotted time, flexing it around other activities, and you believe that provided you keep those marketing appointments you are all set. Right? The problem is that you may spend each of those hours on marketing activities, but you may also tend to spend them on marketing activities that you most like to do. Perhaps you like to network and meet people, but you dislike record-keeping, or writing. What are you most likely to do during your marketing time? You may make phone calls, keep appointments, have coffee or lunch or attend information meetings and networking functions, but you will very probably not give sufficient time to the tasks that are not your choice.

This is where it helps to be specific. Rather than just lumping all your marketing time together, decide how much time you REALLY need to spend each week doing EACH of your various marketing tasks. Then schedule accordingly. Perhaps meeting and greeting on Monday, record-keeping and following up on Tuesday, writing on Wednesday, and so on. That way your calendar will help you to keep on track of what you really need to do.

Excerpted from A Work In Progress, a free e-zine from Personal Development Coach Diana Robinson, Ph.D., PCC www.ChoiceCoach.com
Copyright 2002 Diana Robinson, Ph.D., PCC
So now, a challenge!
1. What are the tasks that you most regularly overlook even though you know that they are important to the life you want to live?

2. When and where can you fit them into your schedule, naming them specifically?

3. Will you do that?

4. Take a look at your schedule now, and see where you can fit them into your plans.

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November 8, 2002
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