I have a friend who does so many things it makes me dizzy just thinking of it. He’s the organiser of a major project whose aim it is to establish the first true eco community in Ireland, tirelessly lobbying and putting together proposals. He’s always attending meetings and conferences and wooing sponsors, as well as scouting out potential sites and keeping interested parties informed. On top of all that, he’s a musician, a teacher, and generally a multi-passionate with a million things going on at any one time.
How he manages to stay sane through all this, is anyone’s guess! I develop a slight inferiority complex every time I think about my own need for copious free time to myself. I’m challenged just by trying to work a job and a business, and keeping the focus on my passions at the same time.
If you’re among those people who keep resolving to get their stuff together and make room for the right things in life, and never quite seem to manage, this article is for you. I have tried to implement many systems before I found what worked for me, and maybe I can help shorten that journey for you.
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The first step is to know your own needs and to organise accordingly. Many of my failures came from aspiring to systems that simply didn’t suit my way of thinking and my need for space. Most of us wish sometimes that we could be like my friend I mentioned above. However, we also know by now that comparison is not the way to go. Your life is about you and nobody else.
I invite you to sit down and really come clean. How much time are you willing to spend on the “necessities” of life? It’s no use resolving to go to the gym five times a week and have the house spotless every night if you need creative space for yourself after work and also have a family to look after (and this is just an example).
I’ve long realised that I’ll never be a 1950s domestic goddess but I like a clear space, and so I do a minimum of housework regularly. I also spend a lot of time doing virtually nothing, and I’ve stopped feeling bad about it. This is gestation time for ideas and projects, as well as processing time for my emotions and experiences. It keeps me sane and happy.
Ask the right questions
A lot of being a Coach is about asking good questions. When it comes to sorting out your schedule in the long run, there are a few particularly interesting ones you should ask yourself, and then answer honestly:
1. Does this give me joy/light me up? If it’s passions related, it should take priority.
2. Is this task inevitable (such as tax returns; you won’t ever want to do them, but you can’t get around it)?
3. Will doing this matter a year from now (exercise is just one example of an activity that’ll pay dividends in the long run)?
If you answer “yes” to any of the above, then the task or activity should go into your schedule. If it isn’t, you need to think hard about whether you should really spend time on it.
To save time, do more
Some weeks ago, I mentioned Gay Hendricks’s idea of “Einstein Time” (you can read the article here). Part of this idea is the observation how time seems to expand when you do what you love.
Therefore, paradoxically, I suggest you do more in order to have more time. More of the right things, that is! This is why my Coaching focuses on prioritising passions. It quite literally expands time and helps people get all their chores done along the way. I don’t know exactly how it works, I just know it does, every time, without fail.
If you feel permanently stressed and pressured, it’s a sure sign that you’re not doing enough of what lights you up. The problem is that most people dismiss the idea of prioritising their passion, thinking they don’t have enough time. In reality, this is the one step that would stop them being stressed in the first place! Try it, and if you need any help, let me know. This is exactly what I specialise in.
If you keep these priorities in mind and keep asking yourself the three questions above, you should end up with a schedule you can actually stick to for once. Do this weekly – I suggest either Sunday evening or Monday morning, but any day that suits you is fine – and feel yourself relax into a schedule that makes sense and fits your unique life and needs.