The New Year is such a great time to get focused. Beginnings give me energy and momentum. I get excited about all the possibilities ahead. I want to be sure I’m aligned with my purpose and what I really want to do this year.
I know that It’s the small things I do every day that create my life. My work helps me evolve and brings me joy.
My soul craves growth, so going through the discomfort of doing things I’m not good at yet is essential to feeling more satisfaction and in the flow.
When we’re still and in touch with what our soul seeks, we know what is essential. But how do we stay focused when we are distracted and tired?
First, Schedule Non-Negotiables
I remember a feeling of awe when I read that chapter. Really, I can put my family and me ahead of work? My Protestant Work Ethic upbringing would argue, but I was tired of working myself sick.
Forcing myself to go through this exercise, I discovered that I only have 17 hours of time I can focus on work. No wonder I was driving myself sick trying to cram 40 hours of work in 17.
I am transformed. I am now much more protective of my time.
Helene says to open our calendars and:
- Brainstorm a list of personal tasks.
- Star those that can only be done by you and schedule them. (Otherwise automate, delegate, or eliminate those tasks.)
- Include the time you take children to doctor appointments, lessons, sports, school events, dentist/orthodontist appointments.
- Schedule time to go to bed, and add 30-minutes decompression time with no electronics.
- Choose a wake-up time at least seven to eight hours later.
- Block off meal times, including preparation and clean up. Add in grocery shopping.
- Block off shower and personal care times.
- Do you run errands on the weekends? Block that time.
- Block exercise, meditation, fun, and connection time with those you love.
Building my personal time framework around my work keeps me sane and healthy.
Take the time to nourish you body, mind and soul. You’ll have more left energy left to give to your goals and your loved ones, including you.
Next, Get Crystal Clear About What Is Essential
List 30+ Things You Want, including what you already have.
Writing down what we already have created is so satisfying. It helps us think about what we want next knowing that we already have more than enough. Starting from abundance is a great feeling.
- Use the healthy, wealthy, wise pillars and 9 categories to organize the list and make sure nothing important is forgotten.
- Put an asterisk * in front of what you want that you don’t have yet.
- Write the list in your Notes App as you will refer to it often when creating Your GPS. Keep it in your “GPS” folder. Label it “30+ Things I Want (*Don’t Have Yet).”
Getting specific about the kind of life you want and exactly what you want in it helps you carefully curate your time. I call it my GPS. Here’s a short article with a few more details about how to create yours.
Then, pick ONE new thing to get next.
Most of us have many ideas of what we’d like to have to improve our lives. I’d like to teach more UU Moms about Healthy, Wealthy, Wise Living, add hardwood floors to our bedrooms and save more money for the future. You probably have a list of multiple goals as well.
Science confirms that simpler is always better. James Clear outlines in this blog post exactly why:
- You are 2 to 3 times more likely to do an action when you plan when, where and how you will do it.
- Trying to improve on multiple fronts doesn’t work.
- Habits become more automatic with more practice, at least 8 weeks.
The eye sees what the mind looks for. It will notice ideas, find opportunities and figure out how to accomplish what you focus on.
If we don’t tell our mind where to focus, it will default to what it normally does: think the very same 60,000 thoughts it thought yesterday, 98% of the time.
It will scan the environment looking for trouble and danger. Or, it will find the new and novel. These distractions will not get us what we want.
Sticking with only one new goal makes deciding easy. Does this action take us closer to our goal? If not, it’s a ‘hell no!’
Easy peasy. No decision fatigue.
Finally, focus on the next 12 weeks
In The 12 Week Year, Brian Morgan argues that every week, every day, every moment count. We must realize that action happens every day and week, not monthly or quarterly. So it’s best to create a plan and act 12 weeks at a time.
With a 12 week plan, it’s easier to predict your other commitments so you can fit in actions that create results.
Each week, you plan and consistently do the top one or two things that have the greatest impact on achieving your goal.
Just by creating a 12-week plan, we create productive tension. It’s the discomfort we feel when we’re taking action that we planned. Our natural response when confronting discomfort is to resolve it.
- Now you must block your time to do this work. Take your calendar, create recurring blocks of time labeled ‘work.’
- What are the two or three tasks (20% of tasks) that bring you the most results (80% of results)? Schedule them in your work blocks.
Work this plan for the next 12 weeks, revising as needed, but committing to it. At the end of each week, grade yourself. What percent of your commitments did you keep? Brian argues that if we do 80% of our schedule actions, we will achieve our goals.
Why is this approach so different from the way we normally operate?
Our minds focuses on the daily problems and struggles we face because it thinks they are important for our survival. It’s the way our brain kept us alive a hundred years ago.
But today, our survival is pretty certain. We really don’t need to think about staying safe, or fed, or reproducing. Those things are pretty certain today.
Instead, we need to create solutions: systems, routines and blocks of time for completing work that matters.
We also must be able to adjust them — move them around — so we can flex with what life throws at us and move around obstacles.
We must become deliberate regarding how we use our time.
Let’s Get Healthy, Wealthy and Wise
How does it feel knowing that you are on your way to craft a healthy, wealthy, wise life without neglecting those you love, including you?
Please let me know in the comments below. I really value hearing from you. I honestly want to help you learn from the mistakes I’ve made and the solutions I’ve discovered.