Another Sunday had arrived, and as I sat down to make my to-do list for the upcoming week, I felt frazzled. Why did I feel tired and unfocused?
Something wasn’t working.When my clients feel overwhelmed or stuck, I have them write out their typical day and then we use that to take a look at where there were leaks in their time and priorities. I took myself through the same exercise.By examining the way I was spending my time and energy, I was able to adjust my schedule to help me work towards making sure I’m doing the things I love each day, and therefore am spending more time fulfilling myself.
If you feel exhausted, overwhelmed or stuck, you should try this simple exercise too!
1. Make a list of your daily schedule.
Be as detailed as possible. It will both reveal routines and help you find hidden chunks that can be used or consolidated.
2. Once you've written out what a typical day looks like (tip: weekdays are extra important), put that aside and make a list of your priorities for your time.
Family, exercise, meditation. What are the things that would lead you to greater happiness if you could do them every day? These might be habits that you want to adopt or behaviors that you want to bring back or focus on
3. Now look at your schedule.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you getting all of the things that make you happy into your days?
- Where are there activities that can be eliminated or outsourced (such as cleaning, laundry or errands, for instance)?
- Can you "double up" on some things, like reading or listening to meditation on your way to work or at the gym?
- What can you eliminate?
After completing this process myself, I revamped my schedule to reflect the things that matter to me the most in the way I’m spending my time.
Working for myself gives me a certain amount of flexibility, but there are little tweaks that we can all make to advance our priorities and make sure we’re taking care of ourselves.
This is what I came up with:
First thing in the morning. This gets top spot.
This is something that I love and prefer to do in quiet. At night, I’m tired, so it’s not going to happen if not early in the day.
I’m at my desk to deal with calls and emails.
3-4pm: Attend meetings.
Get outdoors, run errands. Nice to get back outside and feel productive after a focused work period.
Sometimes I have plans with friends, sometimes I read, see a movie or review my writing for the day. I always make my to-do list for the next day so that I feel organized. But typically after 6 or 7pm, I'm in downtime mode.
Even looking at these changes makes me feel peaceful and relaxed. There is plenty of time for work and meetings, but knowing that I’ve put my priorities first thing in the day gives me a sense of real calm.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com