We all have the same 24 hours in our day, so start using yours effectively
If you find yourself avoiding scheduling and planning or you resist making decisions ahead of time, then ask yourself why. Do you think it will give you more time to be spontaneous? Are you reluctant to plan or think ahead because then you have to commit to following through, and you don’t know if you will have time? Or do you feel that the planning itself will take time when you don’t have time to spare?
How planning creates more time
The opposite is true. The more you plan, the more free time you will have. You’ll create more time for exercise, meditation, learning a new language – all those things that right now, you’re convinced you don’t have time for. By including non-negotiable blocks of time for yourself and your goals in your scheduling, you will create the life balance you dream about.
Scheduling your time will liberate you from the overwhelm of the unknown. Once your intentions are mapped out on your planner, you either have clarity on how it’s all going to get done or you will recognise that the expectations you were putting on yourself were simply unrealistic.
Having clarity on ‘what you are doing, when’ means the time you have scheduled for yourself is guilt-free (parents, I’m talking to you!) If you know you have scheduled time with the kids in the diary, you can stop lugging that big, fat bag of guilt with you to your gym session.
Make planning your superpower
The key is to make planning your superpower, and if that does not come naturally to you, it might take a bit of practice. However, the benefits will be immediate. By planning how you use your time, you will find yourself becoming far more efficient. You will create more hours for yourself and your goals and finally feel like you have control over your life.
11 Strategies to get you there
1. Be deliberate
Make deliberate plans ahead of time and include time to relax. Once a decision is made, commit to it.
2. Take action
Take action instead of wondering about what pursuing your goal might look like. If you take action and don’t get the result you want, that tells you to move on to the next strategy – information you would never have if you continue procrastinating. Stop ‘trying’ to do stuff and start doing it. How do the words “I’ll try to do that” vs. “I will do that” sound when you say them? Whichever you habitually say becomes part of the fabric of your identity. Be a doer.
3. Pick one thing and get really good at it
Get really good at one new thing. Once you nail that, recognise the feeling of success and then move on to the next thing. Having too many goals might mean you won’t do any of them.
4. Have a strategy for when you ‘don’t feel like it’
Your plan has to be non-negotiable no matter how you feel when the time comes. Understand that any plan you make today is not necessarily going to be what you feel like doing tomorrow. Be prepared for that and have an implementation strategy for anything that has the potential to derail you. When you overcome that obstacle once, you will be better prepared for the next time it happens until the habit of committing to your goals simply becomes part of who you are.
5. Follow through
Every time you follow through on your plans, you get better at being someone who follows through. This, in turn, will build your confidence, and that helps create a habit. Get better at managing that part of your brain (your amygdala) that is often trying to hold you back, sometimes referred to as your critter brain, which might suggest you go and have a lie down instead of getting in the car and going to the gym. What you accomplish is about how much time you have and more about your ability to follow through.
6. Don’t be afraid to fail
The opposite of failure isn’t succeeding. The opposite of failure is doing nothing. One epic fail a week is better than doing nothing at all.
7. Say ‘Yes’ to less
Honour your time and your goals by constraining your energy to what matters. When someone asks you to do something, and it doesn’t work for you, get comfortable with saying “No!” You don’t even need to offer an explanation. You have to be able to say yes to yourself first and accept that you are not able to please everyone.
Understand what you are good at and where possible delegate the rest. If you can pay someone to clean your house or do your ironing then great but delegation does not always equate to a financial cost. Speak to your family and explain you need time to work on your self-care and your goals and ask them to support you by helping out.
9. Finish things
Think about all the things you’ve started and didn’t stick to or complete. You form your opinion of yourself based on what you do. Honour your commitments to yourself. Build your integrity and respect for yourself and let that momentum carry you on to your future goals.
10. Stop multi-tasking
You are only every truly working on one thing at a time. The time wasted each time you shift your focus is lost time. Staying focussed takes conscious effort, so notice your distractions and disable them. Social media, iPhone notifications, Netflix – notice what they cost your productivity.
11. Take off the “I’m so busy” badge
What does “being busy” even mean? Busy-ness is a mental concept. It refers to how much you are thinking about, not how much you are doing. Download all that stuff that’s making you feel busy by writing it down in a plan of action and then handle it “one follow-through at a time.”
Make planning your superpower!
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This blog provides general information about health and health-related subjects and the content and links are not intended to be used as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please do not delay in consulting with a healthcare professional.