Sometimes it’s hard to motivate myself to start things, but once I’m on the productivity train, it’s hard to derail me. I get moving in a particular direction and just keep going until I hit my destination.
The problem with this is I have several trains running at one time in my life, and I can’t really be on more than one at a time.
So the only way to keep things going smoothly in my life is learning to jump from train to train without killing myself.
People talk about work/life balance. But I honestly think there is no such thing as true balance – and trying to achieve this unachievable goal has made many a person crazy in the process (including me). We’re fed so much crap about being, doing, and having it all, that we begin to question our own validity when we can’t.
We can set priorities and we can stay as present as possible where we are, but in order to find success in any one part of our life, it has to take the front seat. If we give that seat to the same part of our life all the time, nothing else can move forward, however. So we must choose. We must ride the train of most importance at any given time. and that choice must be made as a conscious result of deep planning.
Two times of year (Dec/Jan, Aug/Sept), I spend a lot of time hashing out goals and priorities. (The two resources I go back to time and time again are Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Mapping and The One Thing. Both focus on setting long-term goals and then prioritizing daily patterns in a way to achieve them. I like LaPorte’s system, because it hones in on how you want to feel each day and then asks you to build goals and schedules around achieving that feeling rather than achieving tasks. The One Thing forces me to stop multi-tasking (trying to drive several trains at once…it’s impossible) and start focusing on the one thing that matters most at any given time. And both of them negate the “you can do everything” work/life balance myth. We all need white space in our day…even if that means we have to time block and actually put it on our agenda.
It’s a complicated thing to do, and the first time I did the goal-setting for either of these systems, it took days…even weeks. Now, I’ve got it down to a pretty quick review:
1.Come up with my core desired feelings (and these can change throughout the year): Connected
3. Then time block to help myself achieve my goals over time and feel the way I want to feel each day.
It’s not fool-proof. And I still stress out (hey, anxiety doesn’t simply go away with a pretty schedule). But, at least I’m consciously trying to make time for the things that matter and slowly making headway toward goals I have set for myself.
Sometimes, work will have to come first. Sometimes it’s my family that must come first. Sometimes it’s my marriage. And sometimes, I need to come first.
When my life is running as smoothly as possible, and I’m train-jumping like a boss (keeping all my trains on the tracks as often as I can), that’s when I feel the happiest. To me, productivity + creativity + love = nirvana.
But, I’m a planner. Organizing and writing lists and checking off tasks is a fetish for me. Not everyone lives and dies by an agenda. And I get that (in fact, I’m a little jealous of you spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants types).
I like everything in its place. So, over the next month, that’s my job…to put everything in its place. To get all my trains running in the same direction, so I can jump between them easily.
This post is in response to prompt 5 – part of my 13-Day Retreat. To join in, please click HERE for more information and possible prompts.