It has got to the time of the year when our conversations seem to switch on to Christmas auto pilot. It’s like the same “I can’t believe it’s nearly December already” sneaks up on us every year and catches us off guard. We live such busy lives that time seems to get away from us and only ‘socially significant’ milestones in the year shock us into realising it’s passing.
When I think about some of the best times and the best uses of time, I always come back to some of our travels. One full day would involve waking up at 3am in one country, flying to another by lunchtime, unpacking and then going off to explore an entirely new place by the evening. Sometimes 24 hours here involves getting dressed and doing one load of laundry.
If only I could seem to find a way of packing in that much every day…I would feel like Bradley Cooper in the film, Limitless! When you are living your days fully, they don’t feel like they disappear or worse, are wasted. Time may just be one of the very few things in life that come to us all in an un-biased form, equal and fair. It is everything in between that tips the scales.
As ever, life is never that straight forward and for the masses isn’t a holiday everyday. It is easier to wake up at 3am when the purpose is a holiday. We have more energy when it’s used for the fun things in life. It is hard to keep spirits high when the day hasn’t gone well or has come with it’s stresses. So how can we find a balance of using our time fully, so we don’t end up bewildered that the year is nearly over?
One way of taking back ownership of your days is cutting back on ‘scroll time’. The twenty minutes, 5 times a day that got lost to Instagram post swiping, reading the Facebook comment roll on a post that has no relevance to you, etc., (we are all probably guilty of this, so there is no judgement from me). Just cutting this out could save a couple of hours. Even if you used this time for something you actually wish you had more time to do, creative projects, reading a good book; whatever you enjoy, it would be better spent. I think that sometimes, if we free up some time, then we feel like it has to be used on the grown up, life ‘stuff’. Trading distractions for chores probably isn’t a strong motivator. Trading distractions for fulfilling activities that make you happy is more likely to stick.
Planning The Day
I am working on this myself as I struggle, but I do know that the value of this is high and I need to improve. The experts and life coaches talk about this for a reason. If you don’t have your own plan for the day, it can get taken over really quickly! It leaves you frustrated and stressed when it is avoidable if you stick to the plan and implement boundaries; which leads me to my next point.
To actually run your own day, you have to be the boss of it and set some boundaries. This isn’t about shirking your responsibilities at home or at work or saying, “I’m not going to do it at all”. It’s about separating your time and not letting things all merge into each other.
I find this quite difficult, because I don’t want to feel like I am not reacting quickly enough or I am letting people down, but when this gets out of hand, it really does start to cause stress. It is not just implementing boundaries for other people, you also need to set some for yourself.
Tony Robbins talks about being outcome focused. By knowing the outcome you want, it can really help you work out the steps to create the outcome.
To List or Not to List?
There are different arguments on list making. Some people love lists and put everything on it. Some are against long lists and think it should be more concise and prioritised. Whichever side of the coin you fall, you will need something to prioritise your tasks and help you organise your thoughts. Brian Tracey wrote about ‘Eating the Frog’ and getting the ugliest task out of the way first and some people are more motivated by lots of ticks on the list.
Compounding and Procrastination
The compound effect has had a high profile recently. More and more people are switching on to the notion that the small actions that build up over time, create the biggest results. It’s the same whether it is used positively or negatively so to speak.
Procrastination may just be the compound effect in reverse. The more we put tasks off, the bigger they become, the more effort will be needed to reverse the effects, the more time it will take to accomplish etc. What always annoys me about procrastination, is that you never do anything better in the time you are wasting putting off the task. So not only do you not accomplish it, you haven’t spent the time on anything else either! There is a reason for everything we do. If we are procrastinating, there is a cause. What’s yours?
How do you keep yourself on track?
Have a great week 🙂