It can be a lot to juggle multiple priorities (work, school, family, home life, personal development, self care, community involvement and a social life) while still staying on track with your goals. When things get crazy, it’s always best to take a minute to remind yourself what matters most to you. What are you dreaming about? What is on your list that you never end up getting to? Or perhaps that something seems so far fetched, it hasn’t even made it on the list yet! The action you take should be meaningful, it should take you closer to achieving your goals and living your dreams. Below is a five step approach to incorporating this thinking into your daily life.
Meaningful action is a term we often use in coaching. A great way to figure out if your action is meaningful is to ask yourself, “Will doing this one item over and over make me successful in reaching my goals?” (Remember, we always mean successful according to what YOU want, not what society/others identify as successful!). If you are a blogger and you wish to grow your business, maybe your meaningful action is to post engaging and relevant content twice a week. This action will produce your desired results (loyal and growing readership) and lead you to your desired outcome (a successful blog with 30,000 monthly page views) This outcome could result in you quitting your 9-5 job in favour of blogging full time – your dream.
I want you to sit down at the end of next week with a contented sigh, knowing you gave your heart and soul to what matters most to you. Follow these steps and you will be well on your way!
Identify what matters most. A brain dump is a great way to do this. Take 10 minutes and two blank pieces of paper (one labeled “Work” or “School” and one labeled “Home”). Just let your mind go – and write down everything that pops up that you need to address… laundry, insurance renewals, birthday gifts to buy, follow up calls to make, newsletters to send out, invoices to complete etc.. Write it all down – and enjoy the feeling as it leaves your brain! Don’t forget to include fun stuff while you do this… maybe it’s a great time of year for a picnic with your family, or a trip to the local apple orchard or Christmas tree farm. Add that project you keep meaning to start, or photos you have the best intention of scrapbooking. If you couldn’t fail, what would you try? When you were a little kid, what did you absolutely LOVE to do? Now look at those papers. And I mean really look. What are you drawn to? What excites you the most? Don’t think here – feel. This is where you should focus your time and energy for the most fulfillment.
Prioritize! Block some time to take care of urgent and important items that didn’t make the “what matters most” cut. We do NOT want you driving without insurance here people. The trick is to take the minimal amount of time to accomplish the most important and urgent (key is both!) tasks on your list so you can free up time to really dive into what matters most. I like to group these tasks together, coordinating errands, chores etc. for maximum productivity (ie errands on Tuesday afternoons once a week, and house cleaning on Thursday evenings). Some people find a weekly routine works well here as they know ahead of time they will have space in their schedule to run to the dry cleaners during their afternoon errand time – others like to play it week by week. Do whatever works for you, but just do something.
Identify the meaningful action you need to take this week to get yourself closer to your goal. Please note I am working with the singular here! ONE THING! What is the MOST crucial to you moving forward? How will you do that? Is it an action that you will need to repeat daily? Or a project-like task that will take up several blocks of time? Whatever it is, embrace it, own it and know you can do it.
Schedule time to make it happen and automate wherever possible – Now go block some time in your calendar. Seriously. Open your calendar tab/phone/planner right now. Block large chunks of time for your meaningful action and the most important projects you have on the go. Automate anything you can to take it off your plate. This can come in the form of literally automating bill payments, emails (I love being able to type an email and then setting it to send later!), grocery shopping, insurance renewals etc.. I also like to automate reminders for birthdays, upcoming events, and tasks and must do’s that require attention on a regular basis. Just automating and forgetting these items frees up so much creative space in my brain!
Identify challenges and plan for setbacks. What challenges do you face in your quest to get this done? Are they internal? External? How do you plan to overcome them? The key here is to have a plan, quickly identifying these items and thinking about how you might work around challenges and setbacks will not only strengthen your convictions, it will set you up to quickly resolve things and get back on track! Do not skip this step!
Make it FUN! Once you have identified the area you want to focus on, figured out your meaningful action, and blocked off dedicated time, I want you to think about creative ways you can play with this action:
- What are you curious about around this item?
- How can you bring creativity into the picture?
- How can you make it/keep it fun?
Often setting personal challenges for yourself, trying to beat the clock, learning something new or working in a different location are good places to start. But think outside the box here and challenge yourself!
Now take a moment to dream… if you completed this action and got that much closer to achieving your goal, what would life look like for you? What change would you see in your life if you made this action a habit? This is where you find the gold.
My single focus item for this week will be to write! There are so many things to do with a business and my coaching practice but writing content makes my heart sing. Sound off in the comments below about what your one thing will be this week.