As the single songstress of my own life and home, being a classic “D” type personality, it was no surprise that I have overachieving tendencies. Living alone has its challenges at the best of times. There’s no one else to do all the jobs at home, cook the meals, clean, get the dry cleaning. Generally, we independent women must get our own shit sorted on a daily basis!
Professionally and personally the cup was never too full and there was just a little bit of pride in my role as a fixer. Now this is great in a crisis and in short busts multiplistic thinking is crazy nuts for productivity. But in the long term, not so much, and I can attest to the fallout firsthand. Burnout, my friend will put you on your ass, so I set about finding a better solution for living in my world and maybe it might work for you too.
List building and the daily to do list are constant companions in our lives, (I do love a good notebook!), I have dozens, but here’s the rub. Where’s the end of the to do list? And even if you tick it all off for the day, you will surely thing up some more, adding to the constant chase of “doing more”. It’s a bit like a cup that we fill and fill some more. The truth is that it is not our time that is limited each day, it is our energy.
With this new decade kicking off, I wonder how full your calendar is already, the resolutions, just another to do list. In my current read from Kate Northrup called “Do Less” Kate discusses the value of a weekly list rather than a daily “to do list” and I’ve been giving it a go. The results are pretty astounding.
So, in the spirit of saving more energy rather than being time conscious and filling up the day to overflowing, these are the 3 things you need to get this to work for you.
1. Set time for yourself at the end of each week, (mine is a Friday night, otherwise known as wine night) and focus on the week ahead of you as to what you want to add, what appointments you have, is there anything you need to get to make the week run smoothly? Should take about 20 minutes or in my case, one glass of the best red wine I can find. Some tasks might be time sensitive, but others not so. I leave those all lumped together and batch task them during the week. It’s a much for efficient way to use your previous 168 hours.
2. Highlight the priorities and focus there. You will feel a better sense of achievement if you punch out the big stuff without sweating on the detail so much. e.g I plan to get my exercise in but it’s not critical what days that happens on. If I get my walking in and 3 gym sessions somewhere in the week, I’m happy. In the past I would beat myself up if my day didn’t go to plan and as we know, life is a fluid thing. Shit happens!
3. Create time for you. Now this goes without saying, that this life is yours to do the things you love. Self-care goes a long way and this list gives me energy and fills me up.
Mine is called “the big 5”. It’s 5 hours for myself and whatever I want to do with it. Coffee, a bookstore run, a walk on the beach, quality for myself. Essentially, it’s me time so I’m able to bend time and stretch it and it’s changed my energy levels, I’m happier, I sleep better knowing that what’s on my list really matters.
4. Restraint. Now this takes practice, because the temptation is to keep adding shit in. It’s a trap my loves, step away from turning your love list into a battle board. The secret is to keep a notebook with you or random thoughts to go into. The tasks that “aren’t important and don’t need attention” (The Decision Matrix). This keeps the randomness of life out of your head and onto paper. Your brain is for thinking and not for storing. This is brilliant for your career too. Ideas, thoughts, stuff, put it there and leave those thoughts to brew until they become worthy of making it to your Weekly Planner.
My final takeaway is to leave white space in your planner and in your life. Less really is more! Imagine what might be out there waiting if we only looked up from the grind of doing too much?
Every week, you will be able to take more of the “to do” out and make room for more “to be”.
Reach out, take charge of your life. And shout out and flick me a message, I’m always here to help in any way I can.