Most of us love new beginnings, which must explain the mass enthusiasm over the calendar change, each year. And why not? We all wish to be a better version of ourselves wherever we’re concerned, and that’s quite natural.
New Year resolutions are the perfect excuse because it’s marketed best.
I love anything that comes a yard near to ‘new beginnings’. The thought of a fresher, better tomorrow, a rebirth of sorts, is so appealing especially when one has made so many mistakes.
The lovely resolutions shouldn’t have to go into another regret bin. So I sat down and did an honest analysis of myself. Perhaps they apply to you too, and if they do, I hope this helps.
So what were the issues with my older methods?
I would always start off by writing a list of the things I had to get done, and then issue time blocks for the completion of each task. I might start off perfectly well, but as the day grew old I would simply slack away, get distracted and forget about my beautiful timetable.
My intentions were good, but the method just didn’t sit well with me. There were only few reasons I could see for this repeated failure.
The inability to follow a structured timetable. Now I could beat myself up all I wanted, chide myself, repeat ‘motivational quotes’ until they were fire-branded inside my head, and still not follow a timetable. Why?
The inner rebel. Many of you must be familiar with that (sometimes) annoying little voice that keeps pulling you towards every single distraction when you really should be doing something. What if that was an outburst, a rebellion? Especially if you aren’t particularly interested in what you have to get done? A static timetable drawn out by our past self (probably with a very ideal self in mind) will only annoy us further. Particularly if we don’t feel very hardworking at the moment.
But it just won’t do. It won’t. Perhaps at that moment we may feel satiated, but in the long term, it just gets frustrating. You can’t seem to get anything done. We label ourselves procrastinators or just lazy, and feel like we have so little control over our lives because that little voice is doing all the ruling.
So what do we do?
- Take control. The first step is to acknowledge. Know that the laziness/ tendency towards procrastination/ whatever the little voice goes by, is making you unproductive and keeping you from realizing your full potential. Decide that while you may not be able to decide the outcome every time, you CAN decide where you put your time at this instant.
- Have a notepad – something you can carry around with you all day. This can be on your computer or phone if you so choose, just make sure it’s accessible to you at your work space. This is very important.
- Write down all the tasks you have to do for the day. But don’t write when you plan on doing it. Perhaps you can give yourself suggestions as to which part of the day you can use for the tasks, but no solid timetables. Do this at the start of your day – put the book beside your bed, or let your alarm notify you – whatever suits you. Tell yourself this is what you have to do, on this day.
- Make hourly updates in your log. From the moment your day starts, write down the time and what you plan to do for the next one hour. Or the next half-hour, whichever is suitable. However, do try not to let it go farther than an hour, unless you have some appointment that takes up such time.
- Jot down how you used your time. If you’re doing something different from what’s planned, write that down too. Be honest with yourself. In the end it will look something like this:
What we’re doing is simple. We are taking control. We are keeping track of how we’re spending our hours and minutes. Just keeping a tally can help us become more aware of how much time we’re squandering away.
Sometimes that’s the worst thing. We become so immersed in whatever we’re doing, we forget how long it’s been. With the exercise, you also need to check the time often so you become aware.
The trick is to develop that awareness, to become intentional, so that you control your life.
As you should.
Have a great one, folks.