This week our work will center on exercises that will reveal how we currently spend the precious commodity we call time.
One of the biggest hurdles some of you will face in achieving success in this Community Challenge is facing down the monster we call procrastination. If this is your personal challenge, take heart. This week we are offering you the tools to uncover the origins and gain mastery over this fear. Yes, that's right, procrastination is a fancy word for fear.
PLEASE NOTE: Once you've learned about why time is such an important factor, and have done your journal exercises in this section, please go to this week's exercises on procrastination.
Your answers to the following questions will reveal the blueprint for the way you use your time. They will also offer guidelines to make time your servant, enabling you not only to get done what you need to but also to pursue your wildest dreams. Are you ready? Find your Get Organized Journal. Take no more than five minutes per question (unless otherwise indicated).
- "Having more control of my time would mean I would _________." Examples include:
- no longer be late for appointments
- not have to rush to complete important projects at the last minute
- endure that sick-in-the-stomach feeling I get as the end of a business day rolls around and I know I haven't accomplished what I set out to do
- List the main areas of your life and what percentage each area occupies in your life. Here are some examples. Just use the ones that apply to you:
Family (roles as wife, _____ %
mother, daughter, sister
Business (professional or _____ %
Spiritual _____ %
Recreation _____ %
Friendships _____ %
Other: _____________ _____ %
Other: _____________ _____ %
Other: _____________ _____ %
Are you happy with the way your life energy is being used?
- Describe your life, in detail, one year from today, after you have achieved control of your time. How will the percentages have shifted? Will your life be more balanced? You may take up to 15 minutes for this question.
- Let's create three lists. You may take two minutes to create each one, or you can set your timer for six minutes and plug each thought into the appropriate column.
The first list is what I lovingly term the "do or die" list. Here you indicate all the activities that you must perform without choice each week. Going to work to earn money is a solid bet for most people. If you have children at home, much of your time probably revolves around coordinating their schedules. If you are retired, I might find golf on your "do or die" list. There is no right or wrong answer.
The second list is composed of important tasks that can be skipped without dire consequences. We might find housecleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, church or synagogue services and cooking in this column. I like to do my "chores" on the same day each week. The routine gives me great comfort. If an emergency arises, however, and I must do two weeks of laundry on the same night, well, you know, nobody dies.
Finally, we have a "wish list. " Here I invite you to jot down the things you hope to accomplish one day. Do you habitually promise that this is the year you will take an art class? What a perfect addition to the wish list. Have fun!
|Do or Die List||Important Tasks||Wish List|
Now let's take a minute and write the items on your various lists on a calendar page for a week. Like me, many of you work in professions where your weekly schedule fluctuates. Please just pretend this is a fairly normal week and don't be concerned that every aspect of every week cannot be contained in this space. This is just a microcosm of the "whole," remember?
Please use your red ink pen to record your do-or-die list. Your blue or black ink pen will work nicely for the important tasks. Use pencil for the wish-list items; you may want to shift them a few times.
When you took the time to describe your life in detail in one year, you were honing your goal-creating skills. Goals enable us to give our lives direction. As we learn to set goals and accomplish them, we'll automatically be developing the ability to control our lives through the conscious direction of time. The do or die list and the important list are the components of our goals. Think of building a bridge. First you develop the blueprint, and then you work gradually and logically to create your new structure. As you become adept at breaking down your stated goals into the day-to-day components that will bring them into existence, you will be ready to consciously make time for the items on your wish list.
Most of my students are shocked when they complete this exercise. Before them lie vast expanses of unused time they had no idea were available to them. Are you shocked to find that time is available to you? You might, on the other hand, have so much activity written here that only a bionic person could possible achieve results.
Either way, let's ask a series of questions designed to help us understand what this exercise teaches us.
- Is there any relationship between the life I am leading as indicated on my calendar page and the one I described that I wanted to be living next year?
- Do I see how I am unconsciously draining my physical energy with all this activity?
- Is it safe to say I overbook myself?
- Do I retrace my steps when running errands?
- Is it time to delegate some of my tasks?
- Should I consider how cost-effective it would be to hire even a part-time helper?
- Am I avoiding something with all this frantic activity?
- Finally, we must ask ourselves the $1,000,000 question: How would I feel handing this schedule over to the person I love most and saying, "Here, you do this"? People are often surprised to hear me say that being organized is about 20 percent mechanics and 80 percent a reflection of healthy self-love and high self-esteem. If giving your schedule to someone dear to you would cause you discomfort, it's time to ask yourself why you are so demanding of your own time and energy.
Your schedule reflects, to a great extent, your views about the quality of life. Your schedule is a blueprint for your belief system. It may say such things as, "I love myself and safeguard my energy." Or your schedule can reveal a love of high drama and the fear of change. A schedule like that will sabotage you. I am suggesting you create one that supports you.
Select a regular time to review the activities scheduled for the upcoming week. Plan your time in accordance with your long-range goals and with respect for your body, mind and emotional energies. We have been given the great gift of freedom of choice. Let us make good use of our time, and the creation of a productive life will be the gift we give to the universe in return.
*Now that you've completed your journal work on managing time, please take the next step to begin your work in understanding why you procrastinate.