Ever notice how it seems a whole week goes by and all you’ve been able to accomplish is to attend a bunch of meetings, knock out a schedule for this weekend, and email your group of volunteers?
You aren’t alone, we all have those weeks. Ok…years.
So when there isn’t enough time in the day or in the week, how are we supposed to plan for the future? I think every one of us would like to do some forward planning, if only we had the time!
Here’s a few simple, but powerful suggestions, on discovering the time you need to plan.
1. Notice it
A weight loss trick I heard recently goes like this, “take time to notice what you are eating…don’t just mindlessly consume what is on your plate…instead, take time to be aware of exactly what you are putting in your mouth”.
That doesn’t sound that revolutionary at first pass. But it’s remarkable how effective it is. Simply taking the time to NOTICE what we are eating is an easy way to CHANGE what we eat.
So this week, take time to NOTICE how you spend your time at work. Notice when you spend an hour talking and socializing with your friends in the office. Notice how often you get distracted with Facebook or other random, non-work related websites. Notice your work habits. Notice when you are easily distracted. Notice when you feel the most productive.
Simply taking the time to NOTICE how you behave at work will in itself force you to take an honest look at your time and see if you are as efficient with it as you could be.
I’m not saying you waste a bunch of time…I’m just asking you to NOTICE how you typically spend your time. You might be surprised!
2. Set aside time
Again…when you read those words your first thought wasn’t, “WOW, I’ve never thought of that before!!”
But here’s what I’m suggesting…
Don’t hope for time to work on projects. Make time. Literally schedule a time on your calendar, as you would for a meeting or an appointment and make time to plan and work on the future. Honor the planning time on your calendar and if someone tries to schedule something on top of it say, “I already have an appointment at that time.”
This simple trick is remarkably effective at creating space to work on what normally gets put off until later.
3. Accountability gives you more ability
You know what motivates ALL of us? Accountability.
No one wants to face a friend and tell them they didn’t do something. When we know someone is going to check up on us we are FAR more likely to actually do whatever it is we set out to do.
I have a friend I meet with for lunch about once a month. He is an amazing storyteller and is working on several fiction stories. I’ve read pretty much everything he’s read to date so now I am constantly asking him what he has new for me to read. I am genuinely excited to read his latest and greatest writing. The last time we met he told me that a few nights beforehand he was frantically writing so he’d have something to bring to lunch with him!
Was I going to berate him over not having anything? Of course not. And that’s not the point. The point is that simply knowing someone will be checking up on you dramatically increases the chances that you will do whatever it is you are being held accountable for.
So if you want to do some forward planning tell a friend. And ask them, next time you see them, to check up on you. You might be shocked at how effective this simple technique is.
4. Honestly…What are you hoping to find?
Here’s a cold hard truth.
Do you really want to find time?
Or are you hoping for the adrenaline rush of another emergency to make you feel important and needed?
Are you hoping to find time in your schedule to make the future better, or are you really looking for an excuse to continue the status quo?
This is an important consideration. I think this saying is rather appropriate and poignant here:
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