Time is precious. We’ve all heard that old proverb thousands of times, but we still take it for granted. We aren’t usually mindful everyday of how blessed we are to have this thing called TIME. Until we lose a loved one, or our child gets sick, or we are stuck in an airport for hours. In those moments, TIME becomes important.
We fill up our days with so much, but at the end of the year, it seems we got so little done. We’ve spent over 40 weeks so far this year, almost 300 days have gone by. We have used up over 3/4 of our year. We should also have over 3/4 of our goals and dreams for 2019 accomplished by now, right?
I wish I had even 1/2 of what I had aspired to do this year actually done. On the other hand, I have hundreds of other things done that were not on my “Goals for 2019” list. Looking back, a lot of those other tasks didn’t matter, at least not to me and my overall vision. Sometimes, my goals change throughout the year and opportunities come up that were never on my radar. Some ended up being important stepping stones on my journey getting to where I want to be. But regardless of all the tasks I have completed this year, they all took TIME. Whether or not they elevated me closer to my end goals, they all used up the time I have.
TIME is a real thing.
It may not be tangible, but it expires.
It gets used up, or it gets ignored.
We choose what becomes of our time.
How Are We Using Our Time?
So, If you’re like me, we’ve already used up 278 of our days this year. However, I haven’t effectively accomplished all I set out to do. So what have we done? Why aren’t we spending our time on the things that will lead to accomplishing our goals?
For me, anytime I am out of alignment with my actions and my dreams, I look at why I am doing what I am doing. Look back at the last month, how much time did I set aside for my personal development, for my business, for connecting with my community? All of these areas are important to my overall goals, but I notice I spent very little time scheduling in my own agenda. Is something stealing my time, or am I sabotaging myself?
Do We Allow Things to Steal or Sabotage Our Time?
How can the goal happen if time isn’t scheduled for the tasks that will lead to accomplishing the goal? Time that is left open to “whatever” becomes lost, rarely do we fill it up with good things. Instead, unassigned time gets taken up by activities outside of your ideal agenda. We fill it with mindless trips to Target in between appointments. Or we don’t allocate our time, and end up not having time to help our child with a school project. Someone asks for our help, and since we have nothing else assigned to that block on our calendar, we say “yes” before making sure we actually have that “free” time. Having a plan prevents our time from being stolen or sabotaged.
Or there are too many things on my never ending “To Do” list. When I have un-allocated time, I have a huge list of all the things I need to get done and finish. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to start. The list is so long, and I know it never fully gets done. So I freeze, and get nothing done. My “free” hour is over and I have nothing to show for it. The next time I have another block of free time, my sub-conscious is already berating me for wasting my time, and overwhelm is joined by anxiety. We sabotage our own efforts to use our time wisely with our own self-doubt and negative talk.
Who Do You Want to Be Next Year?
In the last 90 days of or so you have left this year, figure out what your focus is and your WHY. Write out who you want to be at the end of 2020 – 15 months from now. This isn’t about the goals you want to accomplish, but more the version of yourself you see when you think of your ideal YOU.
Write it down! It is so important to write out your dreams and goals and visions. This gives you something tangible to look at and remind yourself daily, who you aspire to be, what you want out of life. Where you are going and WHY.
For example, some parts of what I see when I think of me next year – I see a healthy, happy, and, energetic me, empowering women as an educator, camping with my partner, and getting ready to move into our first home.
So by December 2020 – what does your life look like? ……….. (I’ll give you a moment to WRITE IT DOWN!)
Focus on YOUR Agenda, Not Everyone Else’s
Now, to become that person over the next months – what do you need to accomplish? These are your goals for 2020 – the milestones that will lead you on the path to creating the life you envisioned. What steps can you focus your actions on that will most effectively make your dream a reality?
Some of my goals to get to the “Me” I envision above would include; saving $15,000, losing 25 lbs, join the local Chamber.
Keep it to about 10 goals overall to reach that version of YOU you want to be. The important thing is that you have those goals narrowed down, and they are specific so you know what you are working toward this year. These goals shape YOUR AGENDA so that you know where all the tasks fit in, or don’t fit in.
Take Your Goals, Break Them Down
You have 10 overall goals for 2020 – 10 BIG things that, once accomplished, will lead to the life you desire 1 year from now.
Inside of each of those BIG goals – write down the tasks and actions you will need to do in order to make the goal happen. For every goal – break it down into do-able tasks, all the small steps. Break them down into everything you can think of to aid in the overall goal. These are regular tasks, as well as one time things that will need to be done. All. The. Things.
For one of my big goals: lose 25lbs, tasks like “go to gym,” or actions like “eat healthy foods,” would be part of my ‘HOW TO’ for my goal. Then I can look for ways in my week that I can implement those tasks – schedule the gym time, schedule meal planning and grocery shopping to ensure I have healthy food options.
Schedule the Important Things
On our calendars, we usually have our work schedule, family appointments, and big events coming up. Those are all necessary items in your daily life. The job you have today may not be your dream job, but that is your current schedule and won’t be changing anytime soon. The kids have soccer and play practice and you need to make sure they get there. You volunteer 2 days a month at the community center. These should all still be part of the life you envisioned, or at least steps on the way to it, so keep them in your calendar.
But we also have all those GOALS for 2020 – and we need to figure out HOW to accomplish them this coming year, so we don’t find ourselves at the end of 2020 in the same boat we are today – wondering where all that time went and why we didn’t spend it the way we truly wanted. Plan your TIME according to the tasks on YOUR agenda. Fill up your time with the things that fill you up, the things that elevate you closer to your best self.
What is tracked gets improved, what is scheduled gets DONE.– Ed Mylett
Create a Routine By Scheduling Your New Habits
Look through all your tasks and actions. Pull out the things that need to happen regularly, essentially your HABITS vs single tasks. Going to the gym or having weekly date nights need to become part of your routine to be successful. So schedule the regular time everyday or week for these important core tasks. These are your fundamentals and will be lifestyle adjustments, so they need become ingrained habits now. They need to become part of your regular routine.
Your self care tasks and pampering need to be scheduled and that time set aside and promised for your own sanity and healing. Whatever your overall goals, improving your body, mind, and spirit connection will help you reach all of your goals. In comparison, not allowing yourself time to reset and renew will also de-rail your ability to focus and accomplish the harder tasks on your agenda. So schedule a monthly 2 hour block for a massage or facial, or a weekly lunch with a friend, or daily “me time.” Whatever you feel you need to be the best you and love on yourself, within reason and within your budget of course.
Adopt an New TO DO List Method
So you’ve got your calendar populated with the important events coming up, and time allotted for your routine tasks and habits and responsibilities. Now when you have those blocks of “free time” on your weekly calendar, what do you do with it to best utilize that time?
From your goals and tasks brainstorm list – all those single items like “Register LLC name” or “Open Emergency Fund account” go on your TO DO Lists. These are all the other things you NEED to do at some point. Also on your TO DO lists will be all the other things that come up along the way that you need to do that may not be directly related to your goals, but need to be done regardless – “Take Dog to Groomer,” “Register Car,” etc.
I use a spiral notebook and have 3 lists going at any given time. A personal tasks list, business related, and other. I put due dates next to things that are time sensitive. The lists have so. many. things. on them its overwhelming to look at and try to figure out how to get it all done. SO DON’T!
Don’t try to figure out how to get it ALL done. Figure out 3 things you CAN get done today, or this week if they are cumbersome tasks. Make it do-able, and your brain will relax almost immediately. Focus on just those 3 things. Find space in your day to schedule those 3 things.
That’s it, don’t look at the list anymore that day or week (however you choose to plan it out). Put the list away after you have written down your 3 things in your calendar.
Imagine if you got 3 things a day completed and off your to do list? That’s 90 things accomplished in a MONTH!
Be Grateful Everyday
We have our overall goals, and our long lists of all these tasks that need to be completed. We are fitting those into our schedule to get them accomplished and make them habits in our lives. Something that is not on most of our “lists,” but is proven to level up our life is gratitude!
Probably the single best use of small moments of time,
is to be in a mindset of gratitude.
Being grateful everyday helps ground us in our current life and how amazing it is. It allows us to have a positive mindset and outlook going into our daily “To Do’s” that may not seem exciting or can even be painful to accomplish. But being in an attitude of gratitude going into those difficult tasks give us the strength and faith to see it though.
Start another list, a daily list of things you are grateful for. Every single day, take 10 minutes of your day to focus on and acknowledge the blessings you have right now. Despite the hardships we may be in the midst of – there are always blessings around us as well. Look for them, seek them out, focus on those.
And again – WRITE THEM DOWN! Each day make a list of 10 things you are grateful for.
Do It Anyway
Even if you do so begrudgingly at first, that’s okay sis, do it anyway. I’ve been there, when I was so disappointed in life that I didn’t WANT to be grateful. I didn’t want to hear someone say, “but you have all this blah blah blah,” when I needed/wanted something I didn’t have.
So even if you have to write, “I’m grateful I got to give my kid a hug even though I don’t have any money to buy him the new Xbox he wants.” That’s a start, you are still finding gratitude in being able to hold your child. Just read that again and be honest with yourself, is the second part is important or not? Then, line through that negativity. Tomorrow, write a new list of gratitudes and I promise you your mindset will shift and those negative thoughts won’t creep into your blessings list after awhile.
Use The Last 90 Days of 2019 to Launch Into 2020
For the last 90 days of the year:
- Focus on your agenda and being grateful everyday for the blessings you have.
- Keep your promises you’ve made to yourself by keeping to the tasks you have scheduled.
- Create the habits and lifestyle that brings you closer to the best version of you.
- Don’t commit to things if they are not part of your goals or if they interfere with your schedule.
- Remember that ALL the appointments on your calendar directly connect to your goals and becoming who you strive to be by next year.
- Don’t let others tell you what your agenda should be, don’t let them steal your blessing of time.
Go into this season at the end of the year to evaluate how you’ve spent your time, change your habits to better align with your ideal lifestyle, and elevate yourself closer to your ideal, best self! You have about 10,000 hours before the end of next year, how will you use them?