Sometimes, life is a grind - a slog that seems less like lava flowing and more like a giant mound of oatmeal. It’s not bad, but, meh.
I’ve been in a slump like that for a while. It’s one of those periods in my life where things are fine but with no big plans on the horizon. Also, I’ve felt like a living example of that old adage that a meeting will expand to take up all the time allotted. That was my life - time just seemed to stretch out in all directions and I JUST COULD NOT GET THINGS DONE! All my “priorities” just sat stagnant on my list. I just couldn’t get on top of things and then I started to feel guilty, worse, inept. I hate it when that voice gets turned on in my head - you’re going to lose this work if you don’t get it together. You know how you are. I don’t know about you but that voice is not the least bit motivating, but there is a nagging tendency to make it right.I get even more entrenched in my ennui. On top of that, I’d also had a friendship blip that really knocked the wind out of me.
I definitely needed to get that damn voice out of my head!
With nothing on the horizon to light me on fire and my heart a little cracked, I was searching for a way back to my authentic self. That’s the self that has high energy and is enthusiastic about my own life and the lives of my children, friends, and clients.
So guess what happened next?
I love how one small thing is the linchpin that provides the required stability for a solid jumping-off point. As it happens, I have been working with a client on time management, and he’s really been hitting it out of the park, with an established morning routine and honing his afternoon routine. When I got off the phone with him one afternoon, I thought to myself “Gee, coaching! What a good idea!”. So, I reached out to a local coach, and wonder of wonders, things began to turn around.
I wanted to work with her on time management, but it didn’t turn out the way that I thought it would. I expected a big productivity push maybe even with a whip and a chair. But that’s not how my coach approached things at all. She advised me to plan my week blocking off time for the biggest priorities first - my nonnegotiables. And by nonnegotiables, she meant MY priorities - the things that are most important to ME. So, what’s most important to me? Family, outdoor time, intimate time with my sweetheart, planning time, soul seeker time and money love time. I can zero in on them right away, but put them first?! What a concept! My usual habit is to hopefully squeeze them into the week, fingers crossed. I have a tendency to focus on work first, and since I was a child, it’s been drilled into me that once the work is done, then you get to play. The problem with that is that …you never get to play because there is always more work. And so, MY biggest priorities never would make it to the calendar.
Years ago, I took the Passion Test, for which I can no longer find a free online link to share with you. But the Passion Test is a series of questions which asked “Would you rather do A or B?”. If you choose A, then the next question is “Would you rather do A or C?”. And it would go like that until you had exhausted the comparison questions. Your score would ultimately reveal the top five things you SAY you are your most passionate interests. It was very revealing because while I wouldn’t disagree with my results, there was a big disconnect in how I actually spent my time. My life was spent primarily in the soul sucking should-do areas of life, rather than the life affirming love-to areas. That has made me a good daughter, mother, wife, employee, but a stunted creative.
As soon as I began to carve out passions first, I started getting up earlier because now my time was MY time first. It’s been a huge leap for me. Things that have been lingering on my to-do list are getting done, and I’m much more productive. I feel really positive about how I’m spending MY time.
I’m not saying that I’ve mastered this 100%, but I am saying that it’s made a polar bear paw imprint on my life. Try it for yourself. First, what are the most important things to you? Then put some time on your calendar and see what happens. It’s magic!