Do you reach the end of the day wondering where your time went? Why you didn’t accomplish what you’d hoped?
Happens to me a lot. I’ve heard the advice to write down what you do with your day to see where all your time goes. Honestly, I’m scared to find out. It would reveal a lot of wasted time. Things always seem to happen beyond my control. Life’s always a bit crazy. But as I think these thoughts I’ve got to be brutally straightforward with myself. I let things distract me. I allow the outside distractions to push and pull until I’m weak and tired and confused about where my good intentions went.
Time: It’s pretty clear. There’s never less of it or more of it but somehow there’s never enough of it to get things done. But that’s a lie that lets us off the hook for letting things control us. Perhaps that’s a bit harsh but that’s the way I see it. There is enough time for the things we value. We either control our time or the world will do it for us.
Mindset: This is huge! I can’t stress this one enough. If your mindset starts off “I can’t,” “I don’t have enough,” or “It’s beyond me” than you’re right. You’ve already failed. I do this to myself all the time and lo-and-behold, at the end of the day, I didn’t, time ran out, or I lacked the ability.
We’re taught to be busy, busy, busy because there’s always more to do. Hogwash. In a world that’s quickly becoming bussier, half of the ‘more to do’ is pointless. It doesn’t add value to our lives, so why are we doing these things. Such as checking facebook ten times a day. Cut that in half even and there’s a good hour of time. Plus, you won’t miss a thing. Facebook doesn’t change that fast.
-Intention: We’re not taught this anymore but it’s the key I’m figuring out as I write and it’s as big as mindset. I must know what I want before I’m able to actually accomplish anything. Otherwise, I’m thrown willy nilly across noon and into the evening without a guiding source to direct my actions. I must be intentional about my day. I encourage you to be as well.
And while we’re being intentional, we need to be reasonable. Let’s not set ourselves up for failure. For instance, if I need to run a friend to the airport in the morning, perhaps I need to let go the desire, for that day, to write 1,000 words before noon. It just won’t happen and I’ll depress myself expecting it will.
–Mindset again=) Especially in the United States, I’m not sure about elsewhere, we’re told a lot to ‘relax’ at the end of the day. Sounds good right? Except our ‘relaxing’ has become mindless as well. We watch tv until way too late or zone into a video game or stare at facebook. We tell ourselves this is the way to relax and wind down before sleeping. This is our mindset.
But what’s more satisfying? Watching tv or writing those 1,000 words you’ve been trying to get to all day? Playing a video game or taking a walk because you’ve been wanting more exercise? I’ll argue, you may not agree, that it’s easier to sleep when we’re satisfied. And winding down is whatever we tell ourselves it is. I repeat because I think it’s important. Winding down, relaxing, taking time for oneself, is whatever we tell ourselves that means. Writing, if it’s your passion, can be time for yourself. The key is to tell yourself it is and believe it.
-Prioritize: If you’re anything like me, you’re overly ambitious about how much you can get done. I’m horrible about thinking I can do everything in a day. I can write, clean, walk the dogs, see a friend for lunch, sand and finish a few chairs for the dinning table… All of these things (or whatever’s on your list) are good things. But if I intend to do them all in the same day, I’m going to fail. So once I’ve figured out what I want to get done, I need to sit back and decide what comes first.
Schedule it! I’ve read recently, perhaps from Michael Hyatt or Jeff Goins, I’m not sure which, that if it ends up on the schedule, it’s far more likely to happen. This is true. We’re creatures who like structure. I’d go so far as to say it depresses, frustrates, or angers us when we don’t have it. Don’t know when you work next because the schedule’s not out. Frustration blossoms because you can’t plan anything else. You get the point.
So here’s the solution I’ve found works for me when it never seems there’s enough time.
1. Figure out what you want so you can be intentional with your time.
2. Pay attention to your mindset because if you’re thinking you can’t before you start, you’re right. Also pay attention to how you view things. If walking’s thought of as a chore even though you want exercise, than it’s going to be a chore and you’ll hate it. Instead, try viewing it as your chill time. Time to think, slow down, or maybe spend time with a friend who also enjoys walking. The mind’s amazing in the way it shapes the way we view our world.
3. Decide what comes first. What’s our priority in the things we want to be intentional about?
4. Schedule it. Don’t just think, “Okay, I’ll do this thing today. I’ve got all day to do it.” It’s a trap. All day disappears in a wash of laundry. But if you’ve scheduled your task than the other, distracting things are what get shrugged aside instead of your priority.
Mission, if you choose to accept, write down for a day what you spend your time on. I’ll do the same and come back later to tell how it went. It might be a bit scary=( Feel free to comment on what you find helps keep you on track.
P.S. Monday starts a new Adventure story. Hope to see you then=)