24 short hours—that’s all we’ve got in a day! And yet, in the mad rush of our lives, we are constantly trying to fit a zillion thing into its tiny package. Here are the 5 steps that set me free. I believe they can do the same for you!
- Stop Believing in Busyness: Believing that we need to fill each moment of our day with action to feel productive is a fallacy of our times. We evolved to benefit from ample breaks, variety and connection. Even our hunter-gatherer ancestors spent no more than 3-4 hours per day in the active pursuit of prey or plant material. Consider the time for recovery, socialization and artistic expression as essential to your well-being.
- Use a Long-Term Lens: There are times when everything on our lists seems equally compelling. However, when we’re connected to our true selves, we become aware of the direction that really speaks to us. Connect to the things that you want to be remembered by, and it will be easier to shed everything that’s simply creating needless noise in your mind and in your life.
- Plot Your Goals on a Time Ladder: Even so, we are multi-faceted creatures and there is certainly more than one goal we wish to pursue. And yet, operating on too many fronts simultaneously means that we do justice to none. Our attention gets frazzled, our energy becomes scattered and we leave most things incomplete. Instead, make a list of all that you want to accomplish and prioritize it on a time ladder. (Literally, try drawing an item on each rung of a ladder on a piece of paper!) By focusing on one goal at a time, you’ll organize your time and reclaim the energy that was strewn in all directions.
- Draw a Relationships Circle: When we fill our agenda with urgent items all day, we leave little space for the important relationships in our lives. Worse, when we do connect, we feel guilty about the work we could’ve been doing. It’s ironic, given that we’re the most social animals on the planet and our strength and success lies in the relationships we nurture. Make a pie chart of all the important relationships in your life and honor each one with the time they deserve. Your journey will be far more fulfilling.
- The Two-Column Action Plan: Once you’ve identified and prioritized important goals and acknowledged the relationships you need to nurture, you’re ready for action. Take a sheet of paper and draw 2 columns. Now write down the three things you can do more of in one column and the three things you can do less of in the other. Implementing these small and simple changes will begin to move you steadily in the direction of your goals. Then go ahead and take the first step. Action is the best way to create momentum.
Space is not a waste of our day. Rushing around in mindless pursuits often is. I know that I will never rush to fill it in again, treasuring the moments where I can hang onto that hug just a little longer, gaze at the summer stars just a little deeper, and perhaps, one special day, build in an after-lunch siesta to bide the afternoon away. Now it’s your turn.