Having a crazy, hectic, life doesn’t make you more important or your life more fulfilled, it distracts you from what is real and from the present moment.
I'm sure you've said to yourself, "If only I had more time I could accomplish so much more." Maybe you want to spend more time with your children, grow your business to a financial goal, or improve your health and fitness. Guess what? You have all the time you need to accomplish what really matters to you. The trick is to be fiercely intentional with your time and say no to the things that don't help accomplish what matters.
Minimize the Distractions
If you start your day by opening your email you send yourself into the internet black vortex. Which would start your day in a reaction position instead of a proactive intention-based one. You will have x emails to respond to, links that you will inevitably open, youtube videos to watch, and somehow you will inevitably end up on social media. Your intensions were good, to keep up your business contacts, but before you know it you've lost 2 hours of your morning and instead of a jumpstart in productivity you'll find yourself sluggish and your focus completely lost.
Just say NO
Overachiever, overcommitted, doormat— do these words describe you at times? In this attention-challenged society, we have normalized "busy" schedules packed with tasks we don’t want to do. Why and for what good? To be the perfect cookie-cutter, white picket-fence family? While I believe it’s important to give back, how and when should align with your goals and priorities. You need to minimize your list to what's important.
Saying no is a key skill required in order to live a minimalist and intension-based life. You need full control of your calendar in order to align your scheduling with your priorities and goals. If you’re asked to volunteer during a time period that is taken or it would spread you thin thereby jeopardizing the quality of the rest of the day, say no. There will be times you can help out, and other times when it won’t work. Allow yourself to say no guilt-free, with the knowledge that you are working toward your goals and your best you which will benefit everyone in your life. Saying yes when you are stretched too thin isn't good for anyone. The rest of your tasks will be ill performed due to fatigue, lack of focus, and potential burn out.
Every time I refuse to say no I find myself cursing myself inside, saying "They knew I was busy, why did they ask me to do this? I should be doing x, y, and z!" Which isn't fair to your friends at all. It's not their fault I didn't say no, and they are not the caretakers of my time.
As I mentioned, don't start your day by checking your email. Make this a pre-lunch break activity so you can easily be intentional with the time you dedicate to it, then break away for lunch. When you return from lunch you'll have the refocused mind necessary to achieve what you have set out for the day and will have minimized distractions and reactions.
Write a to do list and prioritize them the night before. I've heard this tip from countless business gurus on podcasts, at seminars, and in professional development books. It really helps you focus your day from the moment you sit down to work. I'm my experience, it's also a great way to end your business day. You just worked your butt off and there may be a few things that are important that you didn't complete or you have a clear vision of the next important steps since you're in the groove. Simply write those important next steps down and rate their importance, 1 being most important. Then pick the top three for the next day.
Compare your top three with your short and long term goals, do they align? If they do, you're all set for a productive next day. If they don't, then rethink what the best next steps would be in order to move in the direction of your goals.