When you live a deliberate life, you know how and where you spend your time. You know where the one resource is going that you can’t make more of: Time.
But most of us are not living a deliberate life, at least not in all aspects of life or probably to the degree that we’d like to be. We have commitments and obligations and habits that take over in small or large ways and before we know it, we spent years doing something that we never questioned. We wouldn’t have chosen it, but we made it work or lived with it while cringing or made it part of our life because everyone else was doing it. It was easier to keep doing it than to change it.
Alas, as my readers, you are here to learn how to live a more deliberate life. That means, you get to figure out what you WANT to CHOOSE and then get to work making it a reality. The work is hard, but the payoff is awesome.
CREATE YOUR CALENDAR: THE STEPS
To take back control and management of time, the first thing you need is a Calendar. This is how you plan to live your life. The following steps gets narrowed down to one week daily calendars that are driving you toward your 10 year, 5 year, and 1 year goals. After all, the compounding effect of your DAILY activities is what creates your results.
- Audit your time- how do you spend your days? Account for EVERYTHING you do- time to get ready, commuting, working, shopping, studying, social media, carting kids around, checking email, preparing and eating food, cleaning- put it ALL DOWN. Take a look at an entire week or “work days” versus “non-work days”. Review your activities. Note which ones you want to continue doing and which ones are not serving you or not aligned with your goals.
- Get your priorities in order- spend time evaluating your real time priorities. Are your priorities and time commitments in alignment? What do you want to spend your time on? How much time are you willing to dedicate? What are you willing to give up in order to make time for your higher priorities? Write it down even if you are not doing it right now.
- Create your goals with your priorities in mind- is there something you want to work on? You have to create a plan and schedule it in if you ever want to achieve it. Create goals for 10 years, 5 years, 1 year. Remember goals should always be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Time-Oriented, and COMPELLING. Understand your WHY when you create a goal- if the WHY is weak, you won’t commit to the goal through the tough times.
- Create your goal action plan so that you have specific actions that you can schedule- it is helpful to also write out any obstacles you can think of when you are pursuing your goal and then have an action item that deals specifically with that obstac
- Chunk it down: Starting with your one year goal, break down your year in quarters and months and then further into weekly goals that you would have to achieve and the ACTION ITEMS to get you there.
- Each Week: Create a Weekly Calendar to Follow
- On a weekly planner, SCHEDULE your down time- you know you need a certain amount of Me Time, Quiet Time, Social Media time, Family Time, TV Time, etc- if you have them scheduled and in stone, then they are much more manageable and consistent
- Secondly SCHEDULE your highest priority time commitments with clear results you want for the week
- Fill in the other action items to hit your monthly goal(s)
- Fill in the “normal activities” that you will continue to do
- Decide what to do with things that didn’t make the calendar- do you have to let some commitments go that don’t align with your goals? Do you have to hire someone to do the activity you no longer have time for? Do you have some tasks you can delegate to others?
HONOR YOUR CALENDAR
Now that you have a Weekly Calendar laid out each week with everything planned out, the last step is to HONOR your calendar. This is a specific skillset. It may take some thought work, so here are some tips on thinking about your calendar:
What thoughts and feelings about your calendar would you need to be thinking in order to honor your commitments?
What will you do when your future self wants to procrastinate or do something different from the calendar? This is much like dealing with an “Urge”.
When emergencies arise, what is your game plan for getting back on track?
Remember, as with any new habits or changes, it will not be easy at first to create a calendar and adhere to it. Doubt, fear, anger, frustration will come up. You’ll want to quit. You’ll want to stop planning. You’ll mess it up. You’ll fail. If you can allow these negative feelings and process through them without reacting to them, that’s when the magic will happen. Get curious about the failures without judgment. Remind yourself- often- about your WHY. Remind yourself about who you are becoming in the process. Pick up the pieces and rinse & repeat the process until you hit your desired results. You can do this.