A Place of Change
There is always someone who we think we couldn't be as good as good as, at something. Someone we might be a little envious of for one reason or another. It falls under a mental version of the grass is greener on their side. Perhaps it is. Perhaps they were once at the exact same place you are now, but decided to water their grass, pull some weeds, and have some really green grass.
What if they took the fence down and showed you how to keep your grass looking as good as theirs. What if you had that manicured yard, and are in the position of sharing the fine details of how you learned to pull the weeds.
Where did your mind take you when I said "pull some weeds". Most commonly you would think of the things that bring you discomfort. It could even be people that drain your energy. My weeds are tasks.
The weeds metaphor have different meanings for everyone. Think about the most productive person you know. Now what if I told you, that person you are thinking of has the power to focus on the right task for them, at the right time.
They probably acquired that ability after they learned, then applied the skill from a place of need. They were desperate and drowning in low impact tasks, tasks that were time consuming and they saw no real value in, but couldn't get out of.
There was a need and they found out how to list out their tasks, prioritize them for the day, and focus until those were done. They learned the world didn't rest on just their shoulders. They learned that time is not equal to all tasks.
They practiced writing down the next step needed to accomplish a given task.
They learned how to pull the weeds in their yard, and they learned how to water their yard.
Over the next couple days, I would like you to question, 1) the task at hand your about to do and 2) the time you have committed to that task.
Lets be certain about something. If you continue the task or not, the time will still pass. Was the task preplanned or just a passing thought you acted on. Is this the right time, given your current environment or responsibilities. The idea that micro-managing your thoughts would drive anyone crazy is spot on.
That is not what you want. What you need is to have a "game plan", a structure, a set of questions that will ground you to your current reality.
Our thinking and the lens we look through have come from our experiences. When we challenge ourselves with new questions, we change our thinking. When we change our thinking, we change our actions.
Putting our plans down even if for a day, gives us the ability to relax because our brain no longer needs to remember and juggling our task list with what was completed, and what the next steps were. Did I call him back. Did I answer that email. What time was I supposed to pick up Johnny. Did I bring everything I need. Did I order that item I needed. What was the name of the new employee in shipping. Who's turn was it to drive. Was the appointment at 2 or 2:30. Did I spend enough time preparing for that meeting. Did I forget to change my password.
I believe it was Seth Godin that once said, "If your working on some projects, or have a side hustle, and you can find enough reasons to quit, then quit. If you don't have a burning desire to do that thing, then quit. Its better you quit then only giving it half attention".
I am passionate about planning my day, week, month and year. Planning reveals overlaps not just in time, but in priorities. It lets me see if I'm giving it "half attention" and it also frees up time to be spontaneous.
As you can see the grass is beginning to look greener with some of the weeds gone. But that only puts us halfway to being as productive as that person you were thinking of. The other half is the watering, the relationship building, the business growth, the creative side.
If you are new to planning or have been working at it for some time, you should know there is not a final destination.
As your days change so should your planning. The approach is the same at planning your days, its just a journey you need to be comfortable with taking and I assure you, after seeing success in saving time, you will be impressed in your ability to focus on the tasks and projects before you.