The Clock is Ticking
Here are some personal goals I'm tracking in my life:
1. Arise at 5am every morning;
2. Daily exercise;
3. Attack one Big Project, per month;
4. Execute a regimented writing schedule;
5. Read one book per week;
6. Daily Quiet Time; and
7. Strengthen my social networking.
My thirty-day review of how I'm doing is a draw. I've done really well with some goals and not as well with others. Here's what I'm learning.
The Illusion of Time
I have three tools that I'm using to power me through accomplishing my goals. They are (1) my schedule (2) my To-do list and (3) my journal. My schedule is the daily routine that I've committed to following. It sets forth the structure of how I spend each day.
The second tool is my To-do list. That is a plain list of my daily tasks that I strike off the list as I accomplish them each day. If I don't finish the task that day, it stays on the list until I complete it and mark it off the list.
The third tool and what's most relevant to this post is my daily journal. My journal is where I detail how I ACTUALLY spend my time each day. I fill it out twice per day: at lunch time, which records what I did in the morning, and in the evening, which records what I did since lunch. I write this out by hand so it's quick and easy.
In reviewing my journal from last week, I was shocked and amazed how quickly a week had flown by! Things that seemed to happen a day or two ago actually happened a week ago. It immediately made me realize that we have no time to waste. Time flies! If you've got an assignment or task to accomplish, you've got to jump on it without delay. Time is NOT on your side.
Don't wait around on our goals. Don't seek perfect conditions. Don't do it! You have to get started. Just the act of starting, alone, will provide you with momentum. Time is slipping away.
Your productivity schedule has to take into account that life happens. That is, there are going to be things that you didn't count on that pop up in your life; an unplanned trip, an interruption by a client, a friend drops in town. There are a thousand possibilities to move you off your goals.
I noticed there were a couple days where I had periods of two to three hours filled with what seemed like nothing. It was stuff like grocery shopping, walking the dog, cleaning up around the house, etc. This was alarming at first. Then I realized that I had sandwiched these down-times between equal periods of time filled with solid work.
The experts say that this is actually a better way of working. We should work between ninety minutes to three hours of focused work with no distractions. Follow that with a mental break by switching to something lighter, getting in some exercise, meditation or running errands.
Come back to your desk in ninety minutes and then focus on work without interruption for the next two to three hours. You will feel more refreshed and get more done. This seems to be working for me.
Turn Off the TV
One of the decisions I made this year is to watch TV only on the weekends. The TV is permanently on "off" Monday through Thursday. This was a major revelation for me. I found that I was able to substitute TV time with writing time, and it's made me a much more productive writer over the past couple weeks.
This is really exciting to me. I remember reading an article by high performance coach Dennis Waitley called "Primetime." In it, Waitley argued that most people waste prime-time watching their favorite television programs. He used it to accomplish his big goals. How true that is. TV is a big thief. You could double your productivity by simply cutting out your TV time and going to work on your goals instead.
Diet and Exercise
I didn't hit the target of exercising daily, but I managed to get in some form of exercise four days out of seven. I've also been following a 21-day program called the "Daniel Diet" based on the Biblical character Daniel. This involves eating a diet of fruit, water and vegetables during the program. Essentially, I am fasting from eating meats, sweets and treats.
While I don't intend on becoming vegan, I will continue to follow this diet after the fast. I find that I'm feeling more energized and less sluggish on this diet. I fall asleep naturally around 10 pm or earlier and I wake up naturally around 5 am, feeling energized. I will reincorporate fish and chicken in my diet, but it will be cooked in a way that's really vegan-like and healthy. (No fried stuff).
Where I'm really lagging is on attacking my Big Project for the month. I'm also struggling with my reading goal and on the social networking. But what I'm finding out is what I suspected: by having a short, weekly personal checkup, it's allowing me to make adjustments to make the goals a reality. That's the biggest goal of all.
So, for now I feel like I'm well on my way to getting the things I want done. I'm feeling good because I'm establishing a level of consistency that I feel will gather momentum. I've still got a lot to do this month, but with two weeks to go, it feels doable. I soon hope to report a major leap on my first Big Project.
Thanks for reading my post. I'm an attorney and Christian minister. I'm also a #keynote #speaker and an author. I write about business, life and faith, focusing on how to know God's vision for your life so that you may fulfill your purpose. You may connect further with me here or by clicking below!