Are you feeling overwhelmed? Have the never-ending to-do list?

Clearing out a living or workspace can be liberating. Throwing things away, removing clutter, and donating items you are no longer using provides a rewarding and enriching experience. The process you go through expands your mind and allows you to make space for new things and fresh ideas.

You can emulate this cathartic experience by sharpening your focus and getting rid of the clutter blocking your brain from moving forward. If you’re uncertain or need help organizing and prioritizing, I recommend this easy-to-use tool to help you get started.

The “stop, start, continue,” tool is widely used in change management for transition planning.

The goal is to help individuals and teams prioritize and focus on their new paths and assignments. It’s also beneficial for aligning teams towards a business strategy or common goal in an inclusive and collaborative way. However, you do not need to be part of a team or be going through a major transition to create your own “stop, start, continue” list.

You just need to be ready to take ownership and control of how you want to manage your time. If you are looking for a better way to do things, I encourage you to download this template. Here are questions to consider prior to filling out the template:

1. What’s your goal/desired state and what actions do you need to take to get there?

If you are feeling overwhelmed and your lists keep growing, pause, and reflect. What is your ultimate goal? What do you need to accomplish at home or at work? Often in change management, we’re looking to uncover the gaps in moving an organization or team from a current state to a desired state. By understanding the gaps between the two, you can then outline actions to close the gaps and get closer to your desired state. These actions may be things you are already doing or new ones that you need to start. Enter these actions into the appropriate columns in the template.

2. What do you need to stop doing?

Often what happens is that we keep adding new ideas and things to do. However, you can only do so much, so it’s equally important to eliminate some items. As someone who enjoys working in creative spurts, I try to choose 1-3 things to focus on during the day. This gives me enough options to jump from one thing to another, meet my commitments and minimizes trying to focus on everything at once. The items in the “stop” list can be temporary or permanent. For example, a few years back, I reorganized my closet and bought matching wooden hangers. I donated items that I was no longer using and the hangers that no longer fit the style. My new rule is that if I buy something new, something needs to be sold, donated, or thrown away. I will not buy any additional hangers.

By filling out the stop, start, continue template, you can begin to visualize and think through how best to change your approach to make sure you are prioritizing your actions to reach your goal or desired state of being. If you’re thinking, “I just don’t have time to stop doing what I’m doing to prioritize,” I suggest you take two more minutes and read my recent blog post about setting boundaries for yourself. Your time is now.

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