by Erica Quam
Time is a valuable resource. Somehow we end up wasting it. Time can be scarce. It sometimes seems that we never have enough time. Yet, we always have the same amount of time each and every day. We always have 24 hours, 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds - in each day.
What matters is how you spend your time each day. Do you get as much done as you want and end the day feeling complete and fulfilled or do you end each day wishing you had gotten more done or had gotten to do different things?
Part of the answer to this question has to do with mindset. You can have the mindset of scarcity - where you never have enough time, you never get everything done, and you never feel fulfilled or satisfied. OR you can have a mindset of abundance - where you make the most of your time, and you end the day feeling grateful at the things you have accomplished and completed.
The energy you experience is completely different depending on which mindset you choose.
In our culture today - we are so busy. AND we want things to be perfect. So, when we get something done, sometimes we don’t even check it off our list...we raise the bar a little higher to try and do it even better. We’re always reaching for that little extra, adding more things to the to-do list, instead of celebrating what we’ve just done. Even the small steps we take and the victories we have are worth taking time to pause and acknowledge. Instead of being so hard on yourself, be kind to yourself - give yourself a little pat on the back or a high 5.
Ok, so life is demanding and there are always lots of things to do. I totally get it. Here I am writing to you about it and I have such a difficult time with it myself. I’m right there in the trenches with you trying to figure it out!
Here are three of my keys to getting more done:
1. Doing things with clarity
2. Setting up a structure
3. Creating an intention
For me, these three things have allowed me to shift that mindset - from lack to abundance...not everyday, but some days...and to catch myself when I slide back into hold habits and patterns that I know are no longer serving me.
Part 1. Doing things with clarity
I find that I need clarity before I can get things done - efficiently and effectively...with ease. I can make everything hard and difficult, I can grind things out just like the next person...but when I do that, I usually find that I’m simply just spinning my wheels. My attention gets splattered, my thoughts are scattered, and I end up wasting precious minutes of my day.
Here is one simple exercise for you to get clear. It has to do with clutter. There can be physical clutter and mental clutter. Both can lead to similar results. Let’s approach physical clutter first.
- What is the most cluttered physical space in your life that is draining your energy? A. Your office B. Your car C. Your home D. Something else?
- Which specific area of that space has the most clutter? A drawer, a corner, one of the shelves, maybe even the windows
- What amount of time could you put towards cleaning up this area? A. 5 minutes B. 10 minutes C. 15 minutes D. 30 minutes
- When can you fit it in? A. now B. tomorrow C. this week D. next week
Once you have your answers to these 4 questions...put it on your schedule, block out the time you committed to, and set an alarm to remind yourself. When you start cleaning, stick to the time that you allotted for yourself.
Here's the key...when the alarm goes off, stop what you are doing. Resist the urge to clean everything - your whole office, your car, or your house.
Next, take a step back and observe how you feel about the space. What thoughts come up for you? Simply notice and observe. Do you feel more clear and open in that space? Share your experience in the comments below.
Then, give yourself a pat on the back...give yourself a high five and check it off your to do list. Acknowledge that you got it done! Let go of any perfection...any tendency you may have to see what else you want, need, or have to do with that space.
If you really want to keep going, again, resist. Instead, take time to answer those four questions again. Look at the next space, the next specific area, and then schedule it in.
Why not keep going and clean the whole space?
You are training your mind just as much as anything else. Allow yourself to experience the energy of completion and the sense of clarity that comes along with that. You are just beginning to tap into the essence of productivity. And you have exactly enough time to get it done.
(stay tuned for parts 2 & 3 over the next couple weeks...)