E very time I sit to write to you, my dear, I write with the intention that by sharing pieces of my life and experiences with you, you will learn tips and tricks and processes of living a life that you can fall in love with.
I am well aware of the fact that each of us is unique, and that the path for your life – your love and happiness, your joy and success – is going to be different than mine. However, by examining the parallel experiences and connection of all humans, we learn from the stories and lessons of others.
I open my heart and allow you to see my vulnerabilities.
Let me be frank, darling. If I only show you the strength without ever revealing any of the fears, then I’m not showing you the full picture. It’s the balance of truth with hope. It’s the balance of dreams and desires with hard work and discipline.
Taking control of how you spend your time each day is one of the keys to falling in love with your life.
Sharing with you the Power of the Weekly Review and writing in detail about my process of oomphing my productivity was about using myself as an example of how you can be more productive. As a part of my weekly desk time, I plan the coming week. Though it’s limited to only a single paragraph in this blog post, let me share with you how I’ve begun planning my time, attention, and focus each week:
- I create a 3×5 card for each day in the coming week
- I put tasks and appointments with hard dates on the correct 3×5 card.
- I take the results of my brain dump and divide the tasks throughout the week.
When I began doing this, I honed my awareness of what was important and how I accounting for my time and my precious attention. This awareness led me to the truth that more often than not, I was biting off more than I could chew on a weekly basis. It’s easy to do! I have big dreams and goals and a variety of roles. Often the number of tasks I wanted to accomplish each week were more numerous than my available time.
I sometimes wish I had a gauge that would tell me that I’m over capacity. Like many of you, I may not realize I’m over extended myself until I feel the pain – you know – overwhelmed, dissatisfied, and exhausted.
I admit it, I’m no Wonder Woman: I’m human.
The lessons I’ve taken to heart in recent weeks:
One: putting pen to paper when it comes to my schedule makes me aware of what I’m putting on my plate. There is tremendous value in awareness.
Two: if I’m going to be more productive and continue to love my life, I need to insure that when I lay out my week on those nifty 3×5 index card, that I have plenty of white space.
“What’s white space?” you ask. Darling, let me explain.
White space is the space between our loads and our limits. It’s the gap between rest and exhaustion. My dearest, it is the space between breathing freely or feeling as if you are suffocating.
White space is one of the secret ingredients to go from just existing to loving and living.
Everyone has a different threshold, and darling, I can’t tell you where yours are. To be honest, different phases in your life can mean that sometimes you need more white space in your life than you require at other times. Thresholds aren’t easily measured.
But becoming aware that you need white space can help you find your own personal thresholds.
Most of us aren’t quite sure when they begin to fill all the white space.
We don’t want to be under-achievers (heaven forbid!), so we fill our schedules indiscriminately. Options are as attractive as they are numerous, and we overbook. Everyone, it seems, wants a piece of us, and no one seems to appreciate the fact that each of us is a finite resource. (Perhaps you don’t even realize that you are indeed a finite resource until you hit a brick wall.)
In order to find your threshold points, I’m going to encourage you to lean into the power of a weekly review. After you’ve planned for the week ahead, take a red pen to your list and first apply the two Q’s to everything on your list
- Q1: How long will it take? Reasonable assessments on how long it takes to accomplish all the tasks on your list can help you determine the answer to the next question….
- Q2: What is the return on investment? Is the amount of time and energy – as well as the results and enjoyment I get while working on the task – worth it?
Then, after you determine the answers to the two Q’s, it’s time to apply the 4 D’s:
- D1: Delete: ask yourself, “what’s the worst thing that can happen if a particular task isn’t done?”
- D2: Delay: Unlike procrastinating, delaying is actually about rescheduling something for a smarter time.
- D3: Delegate: I know it’s tempting to do everything on your own, but it’s okay to ask for help. If someone can do a task better, faster, or even well enough, shift the task. You can also delegate the things you just don’t like to do, like mowing the lawn or cleaning the house. (Trust me, darling, it’s worth it!)
- D4: Diminish: ask yourself if you can streamline any of the tasks to reduce the amount of time?
Darling, white Space in your life isn’t something that just happens, you have to fight for it. You have to plan for it.
Because if you want to live you best life, you need plenty of white space to actually love it.
What about you? Where can you apply the 2 Q’s and the 4 D’s? How much more would you love your life if you had more white space?