A common complaint that I hear from friends, from clients and from my recent survey, is that people are too busy to do what they would love to be doing, be it spend time with their family, take the course they really want to take, they have too much to do at work and are constantly being asked to do more as companies restructure and downsize, if you have your own business, then as a solopreneur, you are likely doing it all yourself.
It appears that we have been striving for this better life, to have more, to be more than our parents and grandparents before us, yet the cost has been increase in stress, depression, disEASE in the body.
Time is something we cannot get back, we have to look at how are we serving ourselves and others in the way we use our time and does it give us joy or take us away from it. There is no point going through life saying look how many hours I worked, look how much work I could get done with no help, look how I can do it all if inside we are feeling stressed, depressed and miserable. This is not living, it is existing and for what?
How can you therefore do less and achieve more? Here are my tips that I have learnt over the last few years having my own business and being able to reflect on how I did it the hard way before:
Email / phone / social media reduction – Start to monitor how much you are attached to your phone, checking and replying to emails, checking facebook, reading posts, posting, replying etc. This is such an energy drainer. It takes your focus away from the tasks that need to be completed. Email checking is a reactive not proactive activity. Turn off the auto function that notifies you every time you have a message. Set aside time at the end of your day for checking and replying to emails. Leave your personal phone in your bag until after work. If you can, set aside some focussed time where you are not interrupted by the telephone or put it on silence for a few hours a day while you focus and work on that which is important. Basically, clear the technology distractions for a few hours a day.
Focussed intention – do you know each day, each month, each year what it is you want to achieve? Do you set a focussed intention that is progressing you forwards each day, month, year? Or are you just drifting along, just reacting to what is asked of you at the time? I have found when I set a focussed intention, I make sure I get it done, I also find the help to make it happens comes to me as though the universe is responding to what I have set. This way, I know what I want and I take action steps to get it and I am much less distracted.
Say No – are you one of those super helpful people that is always helping everyone else out and you just cant say no. Be it someone coming over to your house to have a moan about their life, someone asking you to help them at work so they can get their work done, family asking you to taxi them around at the weekend. If you are overloaded, it may be time to start looking at all the things you are saying yes to and ask, how is this serving me? Is there a little payoff of ‘saint’ coming into play here, that makes me feel good, or do I fear people will not be my friend or help me out if I say no. If you want to have more time for what is important to you, then learning to say no is essential.
Ask for help and be prepared to receive it – I dont know when it happened and I dont know why, but particularly as women, we seem to have some unconscious pattern running in us that we have to do it all. This is not serving us and it perpetuates the too busy problem further. To ask for help is not a sign of weakness, it does not san we are not capable, it means that we are willing to collaborate, it means that we know that we are 10 times more productive when we work as a team then when we do it all ourselves. Be willing to ask for help, then when it is offered, don’t say those terrible words of “ oh I’m fine” or “it will be quicker to do it myself”. Say “yes please” and “thank you”.
Energy drainers – where is your energy being distracted or zapped. For example, are you spending time in meetings that you dont need to be at but attend because you think you have to? Are your meetings not focussed so they go on for a lot longer than they should, your attention has drifted and you feel drained at the end of it? Are you getting sucked into dramas at work or personal, that just zap your energy, they are not productive and pull you away from what is important for you to get done. The vampires are out there, what and who are yours around you?
Meditation – this for me is key to having such a different day and being more productive and taking time to start and even end your day on a more peaceful and aligned state. However, most do not start the day this way, they are straight onto the phone, they are straight onto email and straight into that mental energy and drama. Really take the time to use your breathe to get centred, to set the intention for the best day possible. To set the intention for what you want to get done and to ask the universe for the support to make it happen. Often people think its counter intuitive to take time sitting in quiet, but trust me when I say, I am far more productive now with this practice than I was without it.
What will you do with the time – its great to say I want more time, what I find though is when people have it, they dont know what to do with it. They have filled their time with so much busyness and noise and distractions that they actually find having time quite uncomfortable. It can mean we have to sit with ourselves, which I love, but only because I got through that fear, that boredom, that feeling of isolation, that constant noise chatter. If you have the time, then thats one less excuse you have to live the life you want or to do something you have always wanted. Sometimes there is a payoff to being busy. So examine what it is and say, wow, now its time to change if I want some time back.
Let me know how you get on and if you have any other tips that work for you.