4 Ways to Gain Clarity on What you Want from Your Time
May 23, 2013
From the Design Your Days team, Sue West & Carol Williams: We’ve returned from Vermont, where we had the true pleasure of giving our Design Your Days workshop to WBON- Women’s Business Owner’s Network: A Vermont statewide network for education, support, and networking to women business owners.
It was fantastic and invigorating! With that, we’d love to address the CLARITY portion of our Design Your Days framework today.
Let’s start off with some comments we often hear …
I am constantly flying around from one thing to another.
I’ll start something, but get sidetracked into a whole different project.
I have three jobs, how do I keep everything straight? I take work from one job to another, and I’m never quite done with anything.
I need to be more organized, more efficient, so I that I can fit more in.
Do any of these sound familiar?
Continue reading our tips, or listen to our podcast by clicking here>> Design Your Days – with Clarity (May 2013)
As you know by now, we work with our clients to organize themselves around their own priorities- at work, at home, and at life.
Clarity is key.
Clarity is a word that reappears constantly in our work. Once you become clear about what you WANT from your time, it becomes far easier to let go of what you DON’T WANT.
So how do you gain clarity? AWARENESS is the first step.
Become the expert on YOU.
Our first tip is …
1. Pay attention to your stress level.
The key here is to get clear on the signals which tell you that you’re BEGINNING to feel stressed. Not that you’re smack in the middle of a meltdown or approaching one. The goal is to figure out earlier when you are headed down the path of stress. Some signals might be: barking at your kids or employees? Not sleeping well? Grabbing a bag of chips or alcohol or a cigarette to calm down?
What are your OWN signals that you’re starting down the stress path?
And then also think about how you’d like it to be instead. You might find a quiet place and breathe deeply, letting go of the stress, and thinking about what caused it. Pausing for a moment in the car after a long day often helps, before entering your home. Visualizing or feeling what you want the evening to look and feel like can help.
2. Talk and write, or write and talk.
When my days are full, I (Carol) MUST write down all my thoughts so they stop flying through my head. I use one of the following 2 methods. I write it all down on a blank sheet of paper with no lines. It feels more freeing to write on paper without lines. Or, when I am coming close to overwhelm, I write all thoughts, all projects, step by step (this step by step breakdown is key- task by task) on index cards so I can re-prioritize and re-shuffle as required. I have a pretty box I can then put my index cards into. Some of us prefer to process out loud (talk) to another person. We find clarity that way, and our priorities hit us. I like this method too, but I prefer writing, at least at first. If I choose to verbally process, it also helps if I am moving. Going for a walk with a friend helps with clarity on several levels.
So, what works for YOU to process what’s happening?
3. Try the “What just happened here?” approach. Think about a train going down the tracks. You know how it comes to a fork or a Y? There is actually a person who directs traffic, by flipping a switch; the train will then continue on or go off on that ‘side track.’ But it is on purpose.
YOU are the traffic coordinator of your time: So, find a way to keep track of what happens the minute before you get sidetracked. Become that switch flipper and make a CHOICE about which track to take.
It is in that moment of making your choice, that you will get CLEAR on what you want most: to keep on going or purposefully take that sidetrack.
4. “I’m never quite done with anything.” Here, you’ll want to become more aware of what “done” really means.
Is a project or task done well enough for now? Did you take on something far bigger than you had time for? If that’s the case, start doing more chunking down of steps. A single step in a project is “done,” even if the project is not done. Is it that you never have the materials for the project you want to work on, where you want to work on it? Or is your awareness that it takes you too long to activate and move to start a task?
See how awareness is important? You need to know where the issue really lies.
5. And in our last example, the person says he/she wants to “fit more in.”
More of what? And is that really what you want, or do you have some decisions to make? About saying “no,” or dropping an activity – or at least sidelining it for awhile until you “free up more time to tackle it.” And THAT is why clarity about what you WANT from your time is so important.
As a reminder, you are listening and reading our podcast series. We’d love your feedback.
If you have a question you’d like answered, please visit our new Facebook page called Design Your Days. If you’d like to add yourself to the successful professionals we help go from good to great, contact one of us to get started with personal coaching. We’ll help you become more AWARE, and kick off the transformational process of Designing Your Days.
We are also the co-creators of the Design Your Days framework, which we teach workshops, so if your group of business owners is ready for us to speak at your group, please contact one of us!
Our next DESIGN YOUR DAYS WORKSHOP IS Tuesday, June 4th. We’d love to see you in person in Concord, NH: More info here: http://efficientproductivity.com/blog5/from-overwhelm-to-overjoyed-design-your-days-is-here-for-you/
You can find us on Facebook as Design Your Days or contact us individually through websites:
Sue’s is www.OrganizeForAFreshStart.com
Carol’s is http://www.efficientproductivity.com/
If you found our advice valuable, please consider sharing our podcast or blog with colleagues and friends. Thanks so much and GOODBYE until next time!