After many months of juggling and struggling to do everything I wanted to in a day or even a week, I realised I was making limited success. Then I started making rules like, no emails after 7pm or on the weekends. That was my time to do all the things I wanted and also find some time to relax. We all know – of all rules we make, this one does not last too long. Whilst I am not a slave of my emails I realised quickly enough that this was not very sustainable. The other trouble with such rules is that you might be inspired with an idea about something in the time chunk that you have set aside for something else. Inspiration does not give you a heads up and tells you i will strike at 4pm today. So that was another downside to these rules. They were becoming barriers than enablers as I had originally imagined them to be. And Monday mornings are not exactly the “inspiration-abundant” mornings either. So cutting off time between things was not working. I was not any closer to my goals and I told myself.. here we go again…hahaha ! (have a laugh at yourself..its okay – it). But most importantly what I noticed was that I wasn’t getting the best return on the time I invested in something as not always were best ideas coming to me for the time set aside for doing something.. so my Return on Invested Time was sub par – not what I wanted. (Ho Hum)..
So week on week, I realised what appeared as a magical formula a while ago, was actually a self created booby-trap. So I decided to re-configure. I said lets build a an Ecosystem or a Continuum instead. Why don’t I harmonise my daily activities in a way that they jive with each other rather than struggle to compartmentalise and find time for them. So this was an interesting (read as smart 🙂 move..
I started to do things when an idea occurred. If I was in the middle of something else which needed finishing before I could get to this great next thing, lets say if your thought-bulb lit up in the middle of a jog- then I would just make a mental note of it (make an effort to memorise that I need to write it at the end of my run or on a note-pad in my phone and get to it after my jog is over). This allowed for creativity to flow (I feel very cool using the word “Creativity” for myself given that I am a particularly creative person, but I like it so will just say it :-). If an email needed answering or if I found a better (calmer..non pointed) way of answering an email then I would do it when that idea occurred, instead of doing the 10-breath inhale-exhale trick, as whilst that does pump more oxygen to your brain, it does not promise a good idea as a payback.
So instead of struggling and then finally finding that hour to listen to your favourite podcasts, or reading or listening to a book, or calling a friend – you decide what is going to give the best return on your time invested, when it is invested & in what or who is it invested. This ROTI (Return on Time Invested) will be your biggest enabler in helping you create your ecosystem.
If you have kids and lets say they need to be taken to a study or a sports class it is perfectly okay to ask for (reliable) help of friends or family who could do this for you if you believe you have other things you could do in that hour.
Going for a bike ride or a swim needn’t wait till a Saturday morning. It is okay to sleep in on certain days and ask for help. It’s okay on certain days to leave the dishes sit in the sink and go for a nice after-work massage. Whatever ticks you.
The only key thing is – Your Eco-system needs to work for you. It is a powerful weapon to enable energy flow through areas of our life that seem to not have worked in the past. And as that energy starts to flow you start to glide through things, situations and days…feeling happier & more accomplished!
Now lets look at the HOW part – there is No silver bullet or one size that will fit all. Each of us and what we are seeking and how badly are we seeking it, varies. And so will our speed, acceptance & agility. SO – first assess where are you on the “how badly do you want it” Scale. This will define the momentum you need to build.
Once you have figured that, next is the mental talk to yourself, that the “How” to making this ecosystem is not complex or does not involve giant steps. The key is to take note of what task is coming in the way of what you want to do and fixing that “task” or challenge is actually your task at hand first. So mindfully identify what are those things – for example is it running the washing whilst you could be reading a book you have been waiting for or preparing dinner while you could take a short energising nap, replying to chats instead of pushing yourself towards writing that piece you had been wanting to. The tasks themselves could be completely unrelated but one appears like a hurdle, coming in the way of what you want to do.
1. OBSERVE & NOTE : Spend a few days just observing WHAT were these “hurdle” tasks and towards “WHICH” tasks did they appear as hurdles. WRITE them down – even if it is 4 word sentences – but do write it – as it will distil your thinking process
2. UN-HURDLE – Now it’s time to UN-HURDLE ! – You do. Identify how could these “Hurdle tasks” be addressed – Start by first asking if the task could be completely eliminated (I know it sounds a bit extreme but remember you are taking an extreme measure here at creating your ecosystem). If it CANNOT be eliminated then ask could some advance planning help, co can they be un-hurdled could asking for help assist, or can it be done later – afterwards. Sometimes the answers will be yes & at other times a No. Either way you now know exactly WHAT the “Hurdle Tasks” are.
3. JUXTAPOSE – List all “WANT TO DO TASKS” in column A – “Hurdle Tasks” in column B & “UN-HURDLE” method in column C – which is your baby step forward
|What you WANT To DO||HURDLE TASK||UN-HURDLE|
|Read a book I have been wanting||Put the washing on||Just do it if no clean clothes in the closet|
|Take a Nap||Prepare for Dinner||Maybe some Advance Planning. Figuring best way to plan the week’s menu & read up some easy tricks for doing prep work and storing it|
|Go for a walk||Waiting for a delivery to arrive first||Ask for a (possibly) neighbour or friend’s help|
|Complete downtime – Just watch some telly and not talk to anyone||People around you who wouldn’t shut-up||You can say you just have a massive headache
& need time to recover (wicked..but it is not a crime 🙂 The universe did not just give you a black star – so RELAX !
The KEY is to CRACK-ON .. So start to create your map that works for you. One day at a time. One moment at a time. One Breath at a time.