By: Dr. Gwen Smith
There was a time a few years ago when I was completely handling, quite ‘efficiently’ all my tasks that I had. What I didn’t realize was that my body was stressed about what needed to get done due to my view of, and my relationship with time.
Though I was keeping up with all that I had to do, I felt like I was on a hamster wheel, continuously going. It didn’t feel good. I thought this was a normal way of being to be successful in life, especially as it had brought me tremendous success and prosperity in my career. The real fact is that I couldn’t find the time to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Later, I brought the same approach to business; because, it had worked in my career, giving me all that I wanted. But what I failed to do was associate my lack of a sense of freedom and lightheartedness to my constant state of urgency that kept me from enjoying life. It was becoming clear to me very quickly that I did not want to repeat that cycle.
This way was not the way that was going to leave me having refreshing, beautiful days where I could feel empowered to joyfully participate, in all areas of my life that mattered most to me.
I wanted to feel free, happy and fulfilled and I wasn’t feeling this way being under the constant beat of the drum of my to-do-lists.
I had to learn to apply new approaches to my view of, and my relationship with time. And, of course, had to also learn a few strategies to help me stay on top of what was important without feeling like a bum, by not having my important tasks completed daily.
The tools that I applied, along with my approach and relationship to time helped significantly.
The first thing I needed to learn was that time is abundant and that I wasn’t going to conquer anything driving myself the way I was. I simply had to step back and take a look at the tasks that I had before me and figure out which were priorities and which were not. Staying up till late at nights completing them all wasn’t going to be my way of operating for the rest of my life.
My renewed relationship with time caused me to immediately feel relief in the stress I felt when I thought about what needed to get done. In my Facebook Live Video, I shared how my time-relationship changed, along with some additional insights.
Beyond that, prioritizing my tasks helped significantly. This may be an approach that will work well for you too, so I’d like to share it.
First is that you can’t really know what priority is unless you know what’s important to you.
You first must know what areas you are most passionate about making changes in your life for. These are the same areas that will enhance the quality of your life experiences, causing you to have tremendous pleasure and happiness from just living.
Start with identifying two Goals and two Commitments you’d like to experience in each of these areas:
- Career of Business
- Family Relationships
- Social Life
- Environment or Contribution to Humanity
- Health and Wellbeing
- Personal Growth and Development
Download a Worksheet here that will give you examples and provide a template to work from.
Once you have the major goals in your life outlined, you know what’s important to you and the next step is making a list of three things that you’ll need to do in each category to help you take the first step.
Now every step does not have equal urgency nor importance, and you get to choose the levels of importance each goal has for you. But once you’ve figure it out it’s simple after that. You can know the order of priority to address each of the areas.
A tool that can help:
Setting your priorities each day is an important part of eliminating stress and overwhelm. There are competing opportunities and schedules that you face from day to day. The Eisenhower Matrix is a great tool that has helped me to bring my life back in focus.
Urgent and Important—Don’t operate in this box out of habit. You’ll be stressed. Delegate if possible
Not Urgent and Important—This is where you want to operate from for most of your life. Schedule these items on your calendar and make them happen
Urgent and Not important—These items you can definitely delegate. You don’t want to be operating in the urgent column for too long
Not urgent and Not important—You want to definitely ignore these things as much as possible
You can download a copy by clicking the button below. that you can begin to use immediately.
Also there are great apps that will help you to set this up and to coordinate with your calendar for convenience, just in case you’re the techy type.
Here are the apps:
Once you set your items on the list, focus on the tasks that are yours and continue to build out your action steps weekly (lists of to-dos) from your goals you’ve created.
The Final Step is taking a look at everything you currently have on your plate. Each of those items will fall into one of the four categories in the Eisenhower Matrix. When they fall in Category 3 (Urgent and Not Important) or Category 4 (Not Urgent and Not Important), you now know exactly what to do with them.
Live your life out of habit in Category 2 (Important and Not Urgent) to keep stress levels at bay. Knock out as soon as possible the Urgent and Important items in Category 1 by delegating if you can, or getting them done soon. Stay on schedule with your Category 2 items (Important and Not Urgent) to keep up with what’s important in your life and to feel more relaxed and fulfilled.
Living your life from this perspective is energizing, beautiful and quite peaceful too.
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