Dear future me,
This is going to be harsh, this is going to be blunt but you’re going to thank me for this someday.
Enough is enough it’s time to take control.
Take control of your time, your mind, your health, your sleep… everything. Gone are the days when the excuse of busyness makes way for lack of rest, lack of preparation and loss of time well spent doing the things you love. It’s time to get intentional.
Goal number one: block out your time and stick to it.
You know this works when you put your mind to it. They key is to turn off all notifications, outlook too and even that pop up BBC news alert that appears at the top of your screen, yes even that. Give tasks, projects and people your time and give them your undivided attention. Stick to the time you’ve given each thing. I know it’s hard, but don’t allow any distractions to come in between you and what’s scheduled. If you feel like multitasking some days, then give each thing maximum of an hour before you move on to the next. Just make sure that hour is spent doing what you’ve said. Oh, and obviously schedule in some breaks… you’re going to need those.
Goal number two: give time for creativity.
This also calls for discipline, but you need time for your brain to not feel bunged up with emails, questions, phone calls and the like. Your brain needs the space to breathe and daydream. Remember that, ‘daydreaming?’ You used to love imagining the unimaginable; getting lost in possibilities and worlds not thought of. Allow your mind the space it needs to escape, create and convert. You know you miss the magic that happens when you make time for it. Your heart will thank you too, I promise.
Goal number three: make conscious choices, don’t be a victim to default.
Now, this is a big one and it will need a massive mind shift. Remember that book you read? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? Well, always remember Habit 1: Be Proactive. You need to start taking control of all decision; the ones you know you… (oh well done for turning your phone off, those texts can wait) … let me start again: take control of the things in your 'circle of influence' and let go of those which fall inside your 'circle of concern'. In other words, change the things you can control and make a conscious choice to let go of the things you can’t. For instance, stop saying “I have to attend that meeting” just because you think you do, and instead weigh up the consequences. What happens if you don’t attend the meeting vs if you do? Could someone else attend it for you? Would they really miss you if you weren’t there or are you making your presence more important than what (you know) it really is? Which brings me to my next point…
Goal number four: start writing “not to-do lists”
You’ve been working on your delegating, which is great. But there is always room for more and this is a question that shouldn't just appear once but come up weekly if not daily! What don’t you have to do today? What is the most pressing of tasks and ask yourself if someone else can do it for you? Or, if it can move down the chain to tomorrow’s list, next week’s list, next month’s lists or postponed altogether? I know you have lots of plans and aims for this year, but sometimes you’re going to have to accept that not everything is possible and somethings will just have to wait.
Goal number five: never forget your long-term goals
It’s all well and good putting goals in place and starting new ventures this year. But are those things helping you get to your long-term goal? More than that, are those things helping you become the person you want to be remembered as? You know, the things that are at your core values; not wealth, not the stuff you own or your social media following, but the person you want the people you love to remember.
- The wife and mother who was known to be patient, kind, loving and generous.
- The aunt who brought in warmth and laughter
- The godmother who always had fresh-baked cookies.
- The friend who would drive miles to be a shoulder to cry on.
Those values will and should help you make choices this year where you can feel comfortable saying ‘yes, I would love to’ or ‘no, I’m sorry not this time.’ Those values are what will leave goodness behind when everything else has faded away.
Leaving behind the word and state of mind to be 'busy' won't be easy, I know. It's such a fad now-a-days, like if you're not busy there is something wrong with you; I mean what are you going to complain about if it's not 'the lack of time to do things'? We live in a time when culturally it's cool to have side hustle upon side hustle. But what is the point if at the end of it all you're unhappy, tired and grumpy?
Life is too short, so own it.