How to Intentionally Find Time for what matters
It’s the dawn of a new year. It’s that time of the year when we make resolutions and set goals.
And yet, research will tell you that most people have given up on their goals and resolutions by the third week of January and if not, then by early February. Want to know how many?
92% of people. That’s right.
Then what is it that sets the other 8% apart? How can you ensure that you don’t fall into the larger bracket?
Now, at the age of 43 (well, almost there), I’ve figured out why some people stick with their goals and follow through, come what may.
A tool that will help
It involves (among other things) something very traditional.
Yes, that’s it. That simple-looking thing sitting on your desktop (virtual or otherwise) is a brilliant way to ensure that you never worry about finding time to do the things you want to do.
Let me give you an example, yeah?
Earlier today, I launched the #write21in21 Challenge and the details are up on my blog. You’re welcome to read all about it and join in too (It’s free)
And one of the things I asked participants or those interested to confirm to me on Instagram was whether they’re ready to commit to writing for 21 minutes every single day of 2021.
Over 65% said YES. The other 35% were on the fence.
Their reason for saying so? They weren’t sure if they could find the time to do the writing that they needed to do.
The Main Challenge People Face
Now, I’m going to pause and ask you to read that bold text in the previous sentence again.
This is the number 1 challenge that faces those who feel that they are not resolute enough or motivated enough. They’re always LOOKING for time.
And that’s strange, because time is the same for everyone. Granted, you and I are very different. We have different goals, different jobs, different responsibilities. I hear ALL of that and YET I tell you this.
If you can’t find time, the problem isn’t with the fact that you don’t have time. The problem is that you’re spending time looking for it.
Instead, here’s what works for me and works for every person who is disciplined enough to work through their goals.
The Secret to having more time
They never find time; they MAKE time.
Obviously, I don’t mean that they create time, because that would be a trick worthy of Time Lords (Dr.Strange/ Dr Who anyone?).
No; what people with good discipline do is that they put their priority tasks on a calendar.
They then work things out around it.
As an example, I block out 10 AM to 10.50 AM every morning to write an article, a draft of a blog post or just indulge in a free writing exercise
Similarly, I assign 5.30 PM to 6.30 PM every evening as my walking time.
Here’s the thing. I may not write for 50 minutes and I may not walk for an hour. But I will end up writing for at least 30 minutes and walk for at least 20 minutes daily.
That time is sacred and devoted to writing or walking. It also means I don’t schedule calls or meetings at that time. I don’t check my social media pages or my email inbox and I most definitely do not worry about phone calls, messages or other interruptions. My phone is usually set to ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode during the intensive writing sessions. When I’m walking the only app that’s running is my podcast app.
- If you want productivity with accountability, I’d recommend checking out Focusmate. It’s a brilliant co-working tool that allows you to get deep work done every day.
Can this become stressful?
I’ve heard people complain that the idea of putting everything on a calendar feels regimented and strait-jacketed. They argue that it takes away from spontaneity and creativity and turns us into lemmings devoted to a clock.
And that’s where the principle of joyful productivity comes in.
My coach, George Kao, explains joyful productivity in a beautiful way in his book by the same name.
When we approach any task with the idea that we HAVE to do it, our bodies and brains invariably tense up. This also leads us to a space of stress and doesn’t allow us to enjoy the task at hand.
What if we approached every task on our calendar with a sense of gratitude and peace? With an awareness that we are blessed to be able to do this task?
Marrying productivity with mindfulness is a powerful way to both enjoy your task and the time that is dedicated to it.
And the beauty of something like mindful productivity is that you will show up every single day to do the work you’ve chosen to do and very quickly, you’ll realize an important truth.
The key to getting better at something has nothing to do with inspiration, motivation or will power.
It has everything to do with whether you show up, every day, to do the work with a smile on your face.