how i kicked my time management habit and became exceedingly more productive, profitable and thrilled
I’m done putting my life into categories. Quadrants. Day types. Feck.
Here’s how it happened: Last year I turned my life upside down. Took a break from marriage. Moved. Shelved numerous obligations to meet a writing deadline. Avoided said writing deadline for a long time. Slammed that writing deadline. Put my health significantly further up on the priority list. Chose yoga over blog posts. Hung with friends instead of wooing clients. Launched stuff at light speed. Killed projects. Stopped cooking dinner mid-boil to capture an idea. Talked on the phone with friends…in the middle of the day…for hours.
I lived more, because it was time for some things to die. I devoted myself more deeply to liberation because the longing to be free was the passion of my inner Christ. I had to arrive at thrive or I would get stuck in survival mode. In this dimension, nothing is predictable, and unbridled is the only way to go. It was not the time to “manage” my time.
Time management systems are tricky beasts. They may help us be more productive, but not necessarily less stressed, or more fulfilled, or more in touch with our true nature. We may look freer with our priorities all tidy, but too often, time remains the master and we get “given” time for obeying the system.
I’d rather be fulfilled than obedient. And it turns out that when I’m fulfilled, I’m…fulfilled — whether I’m productive or not. And that gives me plenty of energy to be more focused on what matters most, which makes me truly productive. It’s a beautiful thing. Here’s how I got there:
HOW TO PUT TIME MANAGEMENT IN ITS PLACE.
(BUT ONLY IF YOU WANT TO.)
1. Stop keeping a detailed to-do list. If it’s truly important, you’ll remember to do it. A few post it notes and texts to yourself should be all you need.
2. Say no, thank you to four things a day. My coach gave me this assignment. It changed my life.
3. Relentlessly focus on the one or two vocational desires that turn you on so much that envisioning doing JUST those things seems so fantastical that it borders on erotic pleasure (yep, I think it’s your birthright to feel that hot about your work in the world). Everything else that is not about fulfilling your most intense vocational desires is getting in the way of making your fantasy life a reality.
4. Work with talented and excellent human beings. Amateurs, posers and mediocrity-makers are time squatters. Move ‘em out.
5. Delegate the stuff that doesn’t light you up.
6. Have (only) 3 important things to accomplish every week. Make those three things happen and you’re closer to making your fantasy life a reality. Accomplish more than that and you’ll feel like a super hero (good esteem fuels fulfillment AND productivity.)
7. Batch n’ chunk. Pay all of your bills at the same time. Create a day just for errands. Make all of your calls before noon. This “while you’re at it” kind of momentum is incredibly efficient.
8. Ask yourself every morning what you really feel like doing. Not what’s most important. Not what’s expected of you. But what you’re most excited to do. Enthusiasm is the DNA of making things happen. Start there.
Flying without a to-do list made me worry. It was scary to let go of revenue streams and planned projects. Going to yoga when I had obligations actually took some moxie. Doing what I was truly stoked to do each day was unnerving, guilt-inducing and exhilarating all at once. And… it didn’t take long for this free forming time style to reveal my most lucrative, artistically satisfying, relationship-enhancing year ever.
Easy does it.