What Would You Do if You Had An Extra Hour In The Day?
Whenever I ask my clients that simple question their responses include, exercise, cook a gourmet meal, play, spend time with family, write a book, read more, meditate, take salsa lessons and the list goes on.
What’s amusing is that, earlier this month, in regions that observe Daylight Savings Time, we all received that extra hour, but most of us, didn’t take advantage of the extra time.
In my opinion, it’s not so much that we need “extra” time, I think it’s more about, really being aware of how we spend our time, and how we make the best use of our time. Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day, the equivalent of 1,440 minutes, but how we value that time, and how we use that time is the main differentiator between those of us who make the most of every minute, and those of us, who don’t.
Learning how to use your time as a valuable resource, starts with taking a hard look at how you use your time now. Keep a time log for a week, and track (by 30 minutes to an hour) all the things you do from the moment you wake up in the morning, until you hit the sack at night. At the end of the week, circle all the areas that you consider to be unproductive. You might want to go even further and categorize your time at work, home and personal time. Once you get really conscious about how you spend your time, you can make an effort to replace unproductive time, with activities that you enjoy the most. Remember that time is a tool. It can be manipulated, shared, divided and saved.
Here are 6 tips on how I squeeze every second of time out of my day, I hope you find them helpful:
1.Take Time to Plan – I use the Self Journal, which is a daily planner to help optimize my day. I take 15 minutes in the morning to set my intention for the day, and 15 minutes every evening to set my goals for the next day and beyond if needed.
- Prioritize Your Daily Targets and Tackle the Hardest One First. By prioritizing the hardest one first, you are more likely to complete the rest and build the momentum you need for the day. I often use a Top Five list, where I list my top five priorities and as I complete one, I cross it off the list, and add another priority task. I never have more than five priorities on the list, at one time.
- Stay Focused. This can be difficult, because there are so many distractions. I recently turned off all of the alerts on my devices. I also let people know when I’m working on something important so I can eliminate unnecessary interruptions. I find a quiet space and I stay focused on the task at hand, until I complete it.
- I stay true to Stephen Covey’s #2 Habit, which is “Begin With the End in Mind”. I create the vision and outcome that I want to achieve. This always helps me to get my mindset ready and feel purposeful as I set out to accomplish my goals.
- Include Managing Your Energy With Managing Your Time. You can be the best planner and have all of the resources you need to get the job done, but if you don’t have the energy to do it, then it’s a bust. I typically start my day off with a long brisk walk, and 10 minutes of meditation before I get to work. It’s a true energy booster for me. Figure out what works for you, and make it a daily habit.
- Remember, There Are Always 1,440 Minutes in Each Day. They do not vary from day to day. If you get conscious about how you spend every minute of the day, you’ll find yourself using your time much more wisely, and wasting a lot less of it. Appreciate that some of these minutes will be used systematically (time at work, calls), others to service your physical requirements (eating, sleeping) and time for personal needs (relaxation, self-care). It’s really about what you do with the remaining time that makes a difference and can lead to you getting the most out of life, and enjoying every minute of it.
Some of my favorite audio books on this topic include:
-The Four Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferriss
-I Know How She Does It, by Laura Vanderkam
-Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy
Whenever I would make big decisions in my life whether it was about a career transition, buying a new car, or moving from one place to another, I would find myself talking to several of my closest friends or family members to “validate” my thoughts and get buy-in on my big decision. I often felt as if I subconsciously needed permission to do the big hairy audacious things, that in the moment would seem scary or drum up feelings of uncertainty. Of course, fear would creep in, and my ego would insist that I play small, and stay safe. I would always ask the proverbial question “What do you think? or “Does that make sense to you?” which now, I realize for me was code for “Would YOU do that?” , or “Do YOU think it’s a good idea?”. You see, my ego would push me to find those voices that would essentially agree that I should just keep the boat steady at all times.
I’ve come to realize that possibility and magic, live outside of the comfort zone. So, I have to expect that making bold decisions is naturally going to cause some discomfort, and that’s okay.
Here’s what I learned.
· Trust yourself – if there’s something that you want to do, and you’ve given it thought and it feels good to you, then do it.
· Don’t be afraid to fail – It’s okay to make a mistake. In fact, making mistakes is one of the ways that we learn.
· Slow Yourself Down- Sometimes stepping away and finding a quiet space to sit and think can be helpful when you’re making a decision. Allow yourself to get quiet enough to hear your own voice.
· It doesn’t have to be the greatest idea to move forward – We’re always in learning mode, so give yourself permission to explore an idea and develop it along the way. Sometimes the best idea starts out as a seed and grows with time and effort.
· In the book, Big Magic, author, Elizabeth Gilbert says about fear “You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you’re not allowed to have a vote”
It goes without saying that this year, the campaign and the election results were troublesome in so many ways. Without getting too deep into the muck, many of us had a visceral response when the election results were announced on November 9th. Emotions ran the gamut from being elated, to completely distressed. As a coach, I get to peak underneath the hood and I have experienced that for many, practicing some good old fashion self-love, can make a huge difference.
There are those days in life, when you give yourself, total permission to lie out on your sofa and watch Netflix, eat Talenti caramel cookie crunch, guilt-free, and give yourself time to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.
When those feelings expire and you’re ready to get back in the game, consider the following ways to pour back into you and nourish yourself:
- Take a meditation walk, spend time noticing the change in the seasons, check out the colors of the leaves, the flock of birds flying and the brisk air.
- Visit family or close friends and just be with them. Enjoy the time being together, playing a card game, watching a movie, or sharing a good meal.
- Notice where the stress may be in your body, and get a massage. What a great feeling it is to work out the tension in your muscles, and release the tightness in your shoulders or neck.
- Sit back and listen to your favorite music. Play it loud and get up and dance as if no one were watching you, and you knew every step to the nay nay.
- Find five people and give them all bear hugs. Studies show that human touch and closeness are therapeutic and can go a long way in making us feel better.
Don’t be afraid to love yourself and to practice being kind and gentle with yourself. Life can be tough at times, and the more we purposefully pour back into ourselves, the more ready we will be, to face the new day with open arms.
Change is like letting go of one trapeze in the air to catch another one, but right before you grip the bar, the transition begins. In the book, Managing Transitions, by William Bridges, he states “Transition starts with an ending and finishes with a beginning”.
Lately, I have been doing a lot of thinking about being in my own transition phase. I haven’t quite figured out if I’m completely out of it just yet, but what I know for sure is, I’m beginning to enjoy the process so much more . My story begins with being a very ambitious career oriented young woman, who graduated from college, moved from a suburb in New York to a suburb in Washington DC, got married, started a career, had two sons and basically continued to follow the already pre-determined template of a successful life.
And yes, there were a few detours and bumpy roads along the way, but for the most part, things went as planned. Fast forward, let’s just say, twenty plus years, and here I am, thinking about my “What’s Next” and not only am I thinking about my “What’s Next”, I’m realizing the corporate machine is no longer working for me. I am not feeling fulfilled, I’m not passionate about what I’m doing, and I have no idea what my purpose is supposed to be. So, “what’s next?”, I ask myself. I suddenly realize, I am in the chrysalis stage of my life. You know, the chrysalis that forms that protected shell where the ugly caterpillar goes through this metamorphosis and comes out as a beautiful butterfly. It’s the perfect metaphor for what this experience is like. I find myself wanting my life to be different, but not certain of what that “difference ” looks like, or what will be required of me, while I go out and search. My thoughts are filled with knowing that there must be more joy, more fulfillment, more passion to my everyday life. This just can’t be the end of the yellow brick road. At first, being in the chrysalis is not fun, after all, it is the zone of the unknowm but it turns out to be the beginning of one of the most accelerated forms of self exploration and personal development. So, letting go of the trapeze for me, began with making some bold choices. And ultimately, it also included the realization that I had to stop asking everyone around me for permission to go live my dreams. I had to understand that if I wanted things to be different in my life, that I had to do things differently. Easier said than done, but armed with a high level of curiosity and the confidence in myself to forge ahead, I made some choices and set out on my journey. This past June, I left my corporate gig behind and I became a full-time entrepreneur. This was definitely and by no means an easy decision to make. However, I realized that my time in the chrysalis helped me to gain the clarity that I needed to take the steps necessary to get me closer to arriving at the next big thing for me and moving happily into my new season. Along the way, I developed new relationships, created new partnerships, and found new resources and tools to educate myself and became a personal development junkie. Oh, and most importantly, I hired and connected with a coach. I realized I needed support along the way, and I needed to tease out what I truly wanted from what I thought I needed. I had to move away from the monologue going on in my head, who’s sole mission was to keep me comfortable and at the same time playing small. I spent some time really understanding what made me happy, beyond a bowl of ice cream. And at some point, I realized that it was time for me to not only challenge the old stories in my head, but to let many of them go so I could make room for new experiences and new opportunities. I wanted to connect with people who were having or had a similar experience to mine, and wanted to hear their stories too. I wanted to own my time, and make decisions about the direction of my life. I wanted to remove any perceived and real fences that got in my way from exploring my creative side and using my right brain. I wanted more courage in my life to do the things that brought me joy and simply to live without the template that I was so heavily reliant upon but no longer wanted to follow.
Being in the chrysalis is uncomfortable, and it is filled with a tremendous amount of uncertainty and insecurity. It is that point of your life where you arrive at a crossroad, and it’s time to make a decision about which direction you will take. And, it doesn’t help that your inner critic is doing their best to keep you trapped, right where you are. It is that time, where if you choose to summon up all of your patience, courage and fortitude, and you crush any self-doubt that exists, the rewards waiting on the other side can offer up a life that is driven by purpose, reflects all that you want and has you being really clear about what’s next for you. And once you have that clarity about what you want, you will become unstoppable in the pursuit of getting it and making it happen.
Surviving the chrysalis, gets you through that transition time, and helps you catch the other bar of the trapeze, while you’re still in the air, and safely moves you to the other side. While everyone’s time spent in the chrysalis is different, and everyone’s experience is unique, it can be memorable and worth embracing.
I am a transition coach and I help people move through that challenging time in their life where they are looking for their next season and working on finding the answer to the question of what is next for me.
Check out my thoughtful coaching packages and find the one that meets your needs.