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FAD: File, Action, Delete. Make Your Goals Happen.

FAD: File, Action, Delete. Make Your Goals Happen.

It is almost June and the question on my mind is whether or not I can really enjoy my holidays because my goals are on track. The summer sun is calling us outside while those in the Southern Hemisphere are snuggling up for winter. I always feel a sense of urgency around this time of year; the clock is ticking and I realise that I only have half the amount of time left to complete all the goals I set at the start of the year. Items on the to-do list need to be crossed off and I need to make revisions to actions that have not been achieving the desired results.

Summer holiday unplugging brings with it a revival in my thinking. My creative inclinations start blooming again, and ideas and plans start taking shape. Reflection is important during this period: looking back, looking forward and taking decided action. Knowing how to take decided action is key.

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My creative inclinations start blooming again.

Firstly, I do a brain dump of all the goals I am working on and all the new ideas that are swirling in my mind. I also bring my master list to the exercise. I then use the File, Action, Delete method to take action:

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File:

There are a number of reasons to file items from both my master list and my new ideas list:

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  • I will only need to take action at a later date.
  • I can only take action when I have completed another task.
  • I am waiting for someone else to get back to me about something.
  • I am still planning the action or gathering information about it.
  • I need to oversee activity related to the item but I am not directly involved.
  • I will ‘file’ these items by scheduling them into my calendar so that I remember to follow up on them. When the allotted date comes up, I will then either move the item into the action category or I will delete it.

Action:

Items can be actioned when:

  • I need to take action immediately in order to progress the activity.
  • All tasks that needed to be completed prior to this item are complete.
  • I am not waiting for anyone to provide further information or input on the item.
  • All research and planning around the item are complete.
  • There is a deadline attached to the item.
  • I action these items by immediately taking the next step that is required to progress the goal to its next phase. If there are too many items to action on the spot, I schedule them into my calendar over the next couple of weeks. If an items has been actioned immediately it also gets deleted from the lists.

Delete:

Items can be deleted when:

  • There is no longer a need to complete the item.
  • The item has passed its due date.
  • The item was an idea that never came to fruition.
  • The item requires action from someone else and is not related to you.
  • The item no longer interests you at all.
  • The item was actioned or filed.
  • The FAD method is versatile and can be applied to many areas of work and life. For example, it can be used to clear out an inbox. It can be used to clear out cupboards or storage spaces (with some modification to the language of course: store, use or throw out). It can also be applied to specific projects and their multiple action items. It can be applied to company restructuring when reviewing processes. It can be applied to a personal training regime.

There are many benefits to using the FAD method but I find the following three to be the greatest::

  • A continual sense that my goals and master list are achievable.
  • A very clear focus on what is most important, right now.
  • A sense of regularly de-cluttering which means I do not feel mentally burdened.

Have you used the FAD method before? Where can you see this method being applied in your work and life?

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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