How are you doing negotiating this new decade to design the life you choose with intention? I used to feel like one of those circus performers with the spinning plates – I had to keep them in constant motion, or everything would come crumbling down. Sound familiar? That approach does not allow us to live into our dreams and vision. It can trap you and interfere with prioritizing what’s most important to foster deep success and enhance your relationships, your mindset, your growth, your fulfillment, and your very sense of purpose. I feel so passionately about helping you take charge of your life and set it up on your terms that I’ve created this multi-part series, inviting you to get out of the daily grind of a ‘to do’ life and on track to your best future as your best self. So far, we’ve explored the power of thoughts; planning our vision with intention; uncovering obstacles that hold us back; and getting in touch with our deeper why to give us sticking power and motivation when the going gets tough. As promised, this post is dedicated to creating a productivity plan that allows you to take control over your time.
At the front end, I invite you to get rid of any scarcity mindset around time. Do you find yourself complaining that you just don’t have enough time? Wishing for more hours in the day? Well, much like scarcity mindsets around money, the less-recognized scarcity mindset around time can be just as debilitating, if not more. We all have the same 24 hours a day. The same 1440 minutes. We all have all the time in the world. The issue is how we choose to spend it. And make no mistake, it is a choice. Are you ready to explore where you’re spending your valuable time? Are you willing to accept the challenge to choose differently so that you no longer feel like life is happening to you, but instead, happens as you design it?
The good news is that you’ve already started that process if you’ve been following this Hot Tips to Negotiate the New Decade series. Sometimes it’s not a lack of time we suffer from – we just need a better vision. That’s why we tackled uncovering your vision with clarity and intention in Part II. Or sometimes our apparent inability to prioritize the things we say are most important is because we haven’t yet tapped into our deeper why – that motivator that drives us to move toward our vision when we tie the two together. That’s why we excavated to uncover and tap into your deeper why in Part IV. Sometimes we struggle to manage our time because we haven’t anticipated obstacles or learned to manage them, and we let ourselves get stuck. That’s why we explored obstacles in Part III – the need to anticipate them and mindset shifts for turning them into jet fuel to propel us towards our bigger future.
Now you’re ready to face the truth about where your time seems to be disappearing. Much like with a GPS, if we want to know how to get where we want to go, we need to know where we’re at – our starting point. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to commit to undertake this life-changing exercise.
Commit to track where you spend your time for one week. I don’t mean just set out in a general way the kinds of things you do in a typical week. I’m talking about tracking where all your time goes – from quick little errands that barely register, to middling time commitments that you’ve become resigned to, to large chunks of time investment – the whole enchilada. I challenge you to track your time like a lawyer (something I know a little about)! Docket your time spent in six-minute increments (and yes, that’s really how lawyers track their time and bill you). Each hour has 60 minutes. So, each .1 notation represents a 6-minute increment of time. This is like doing a deep-dive financial budget, but instead of tracking money, you’re tracking your time. And ultimately, isn’t your time infinitely more valuable than your money? At the very least, you’d have to acknowledge that your time is one of your most valuable assets. I’ll warn you; this will feel weird at first – maybe even seem like a pain in the butt, but I’m asking you to take a leap of faith and trust that it will be worth it … because you’re worth it!
Once you’ve tracked your time for a full week, make a list with 3 columns:
- Things I love to do – that make me feel alive and vibrant.
- Things that I don’t love, but don’t really mind – that I’m okay doing.
- Things I don’t like, find irritating or hate to do.
Now take all the activities that took up your time during your recon for the week and slot them each into one of the categories above. In other words, decide for each activity that takes up part of your precious time whether it’s something you (i) love to do, (ii) don’t mind doing (maybe it used to be exciting, but now you do it out of habit) or (iii) don’t like doing (as we’re often programmed to do these things that actually irritate us).
Needless to say, the goal is to live in the ‘things I love’ zone. How do you do that? I’m glad you asked! Our next step is to start your ‘Not to Do’ list.
Not surprisingly, the goal is to get rid of the stuff you hate doing. How simple is that? Often, we get so conditioned to doing things that we believe are expected of us that we spend inordinate amounts of our time doing things we don’t enjoy, that don’t move us closer to our dreams or vision and that frankly aren’t the best use of our time. It’s time to break that habit and replace it with a more productive mindset. With that goal in mind, I invite you to turn your ‘Things I don’t like’ column into your new ‘Not to Do’ list. How, you ask? Simple. Find a way to automate, delegate or eliminate the items on that list.
Start with elimination. Chances are there are things on that list that you simply don’t need to do – or at least you don’t need to do as often you do. One of the ways to get a breakthrough is to break something – like an old habit that no longer serves you. Toss those things you should no longer be doing off your list!
Then determine what you can delegate. Maybe you can have the kids, or your partner do some of them. Or maybe an intern, junior or co-worker. Heck, you can even pay someone to do the stuff you don’t like to do, which allows you to focus on the things you love and allows you to make more money in the process.
Finally, consider what you can automate. In today’s technological world there are countless ways to automate many of the mundane tasks that take up your valuable time. Once you’ve successfully reduced your list in the ‘things I don’t like’ column, move to the ‘things I don’t mind’ category and go through the same exercise.
Just think how liberating it will be to offload things you don’t enjoy and open up time to do more of what you love. Think how that time will allow you to live into your limitless life. Decide today is the day you take your life back and choose how to spend your time so you have more time to do the things that matter to you and the things that will move you toward your dreams and vision. Simple, but powerful … like most great ideas!
If you’re interested in kick-starting 2020 to make it your best year and decade, try our new Women On Purpose Planner, designed and dedicated to helping you step into a purposeful and purpose-driven life!