Of all the things people cite as the reason they don’t start or finish something—write that book, lose the weight, build the business, or invent the widget—time lands squarely at the top of the list every time. What clients say time and again (sorry) is that becoming conscious about how they use every hour actually creates space for beginnings to take hold and completion to become routine.
Before you even consider making New Year’s resolutions, try out this exercise:
- Create a Time Journal: Print out a blank week from your calendar program. If you don’t have one, make one (rebels, don’t get stopped on the very first step! You can do it your way, but just do it.)
- For one week, write down how you spend your time in 15 minute increments: Much like a food journal, you are simply recording what’s you really do. Don’t try to look good.
- Divide your activities into three lists: After you’re finished with one week of journaling your time, take a hard look at that list of doings and divide your activities into three categories:
- Daily Definites: things you absolutely have to do like drive to work, pick up the kids from school, etc.
- Distractions: computer backgammon, obsessively checking email, talking on the phone. Tell the truth.
- Goal-Oriented Actions: activities that contribute to the life you’re committed to creating.
If by chance you noticed that your goal-oriented actions are curiously absent from your daily doings, what is your prescriptive choice? What can you give up to make space for your real life to occur? Are some of your Distractions disguised as Daily Definites?