Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Dose of Truth Serum.... Getting Started & Getting Results!

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part of making changes.  You always read and hear people say, "the hardest step is the first step." While that's true, sometimes even after the first step we get 'stumped' if we don't know where we're going or what our ultimate plan is to ensure we reach our end-goal. That's what I'm finding is even harder, is developing a plan to keep me on track and then learning how to plan accordingly, think outside the box, manage my time and then be strategic in my approach.

Sometimes it may seem that there isn't enough time to do everything that you need to do. I know this is a problem for myself. What I've realized is, this can lead to a build up of stress. Chances are good that, at some time in your life, you've taken a time management class, read about it in books, and tried to use an electronic or paper-based day planner to organize, prioritize and schedule your day. How's that going for you? I know for me personally, it's overwhelming! I have an app for my family, Outlook Calendar for work, and a day planner for my side business. Yep, that's a little overkill and confusing because it's just not working! Which calendar do I add the impromptu meetings, board meetings, barrel races, etc.? Well, for me, I've been adding them to all three because my husband needs to know what's going on, I have to make adjustments to my work calendar when I have a board meeting or school event I need to attend, and oh yes, when was I going to add in exercise? Why, with this knowledge and these gadgets do I still feel like I can't get everything done I need to?

The answer is simple. Everything you ever learned about managing time is a complete waste of time because it doesn't work! Before you can even begin to manage time, you must learn what time is. The dictionary defines time as "the point or period at which things occur." Put simply, time is when stuff happens. There are two types of time: clock time and real time. In clock time there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. All time passes equally. In real time, all time is relative. Time flies or drags depending on what you're doing. To an adult, 2-hours at the tag office can feel like 4 years and yet our 4 year old child seems to have grown up in only 2 hours. The reason time management gadgets and systems don't work for me is that those systems are designed to manage clock time. I don't live in or even have access to clock time. I live in real time, a world in which all time flies when I'm having fun and drags when I'm working on things of no real interest.

Here's what I've learned... there are really only 3 ways to spend your time.... thoughts, conversations and actions. Regardless of the type of business you own, your work will be composed of those three things. As a Mommy, wife, daughter, Executive and Entrepreneur, I am frequently interrupted or pulled in several different directions. Since I cannot eliminate interruptions, I do get a say in how much time I spend on each one. While I still need to have some type of calendar or system to manage my day & time, and know where I'm supposed to be, I have consolidated my calendar to one. That's the first step to consolidating efforts that can be used to put towards an action that will lead to getting something done. Below is a quick list of 10 things I'm doing to gain better use of my conversations, thoughts and actions. Some are very fundamental and even elementary but I am noticing they are working:

1) Spending the last 30 minutes of my day to prepare for the upcoming day
2) Learning to say "no!"
3) Trying to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night
4) Devoting my entire focus to the task at hand. (This is extremely difficult since I'm constantly thinking about everything else that has to be done. Truth is, if I don't focus, I don't do it well).
5) Completing most important tasks first
6) Get an early start... "The early bird gets the worm"
7) Eliminate unimportant details that drag me down
8) Be conscientious of spending quality time with my daughter and husband daily
9) Leave a buffer-time between tasks to wrap up and prepare for the next item on my list
10) Spending quality time in prayer daily! This is the most important tip of all. If you are not spiritually renewed, you cannot be a positive influence on others!

Everyone is different. We all work at different paces and we all have different goals. Learning how to get started is one thing (and very important), but, if you fail to plan then your plan will fail.

Last, but certainly not least, DO NOT beat yourself up if you have to reset and restart your plan. Life is full of changes and often we have no control of the things that come our way...what we do have control of is our reaction! Be known for the one that can manage difficulty with dignity and think before you speak!

As I said before, if you take nothing else away from my blog - I pray that you will never forget that you are "wonderfully and fearfully made" (Psalm 139:14). Never forget that you are the son or daughter of the almighty King of King and that you do not have to "BE" what the world expects you to be, but you do have to be what makes you happy! Do something kind today, be nice to others, and respect those you interact with. Strive to make a difference in others lives, but more importantly make a difference in your own life. Life is messy...thank God for Bounty paper towels, Grace & Mercy!

"Pretty words aren't always true...and true words aren't always pretty."

"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

"G18 Mommy"