“There just aren’t enough hours in the day.”
“My to-do list keeps growing – I cross one thing off and two more are added in its place.”
“I always start the day with the best of intentions and within minutes, I’m off the rails.”
Does any of this sound familiar? I know it does to me. I’m a coach working with clients daily on areas like goal setting and accountability and it can still be a struggle at times to keep on course.
So what are your biggest obstacles, the mountains that get in your way? Your boss? Co-workers? Clients? Or sometimes the home front brings the biggest challenges with kids, spouse, chores and activities…and sometimes we, yes WE, are our biggest mountains! I have been known to complicate my day with no help from anyone else!
But let me tell you, there is HOPE! It isn’t as hard as it may seem to readjust and redirect the train back on the rails. And it starts with what I call “The Sacred Hour”. And no, this doesn’t require a trip to church or a visit with your pastor. It just requires a step back to really evaluate the flow of your day.
Is there a time of day that stands out where you typically get a moment to truly exhale? I know that from the outside looking in, my day can rival the Tasmanian Devil – I just go and go, spinning all day. But there is this magical hour each evening after I get the kids in bed that I just sit on the sofa with my hot tea and just….Ahhhhhh….exhale. My mind clears. The stars start to twinkle and I can grab my computer and just plow through my to-dos. I am my most creative and introspective during this hour each evening (and sometimes I am gifted with two or three hours!).
Maybe your Sacred Hour is first thing in the morning when you get to the office. The place is quiet and your co-workers haven’t arrived yet. Or after your get the kids on their way to school and the house is quiet. This is your moment.
Whatever your Sacred Hour, there are rules to keeping this time all yours so that you can focus.
Set boundaries around your Sacred Hour. If you don’t let the people around you know that you are setting this time as yours, you are inviting interruption.
Prioritize. Spend a few moments with your to-do list and prioritize each item. Use a number system – a simple 1-2-3 is fine – or HOT-MEDIUM-COOL to indicate what to work on first. Nothing is more overwhelming than looking at a list of 40 items with no idea of what to work on first.
Get out of your own way. After making your list, don’t over think it or start shifting between priorities. If you stick to one item at a time, you will enjoy more successes and your productivity will improve with each item crossed off your list.
Willpower is key. Just like changing your food or exercise plan to make your body healthier, willpower is the key ingredient to your productivity plan as well. If you aren’t intentional, making it a priority and sticking to it, you can easily fall into your old habits.
Ok, so some of you may be saying, “I cannot think of a single Sacred Hour in my day.” Don’t worry. This is where you simple sit down and choose one. Yes, that’s right. You get to choose. Again, we are being intentional and setting boundaries. It may take a few days of trial and error, but you will find that you will identify a time that works easier than others. And then stick to it. I promise, as you start to embrace your Sacred Hour, it will become one of your most favorite hours of your day.
And don’t worry…you aren’t going it alone. I’m here if you need me.
To learn more about Natalie and her role as a Life Coach at BACC, check out her profile.