Not Doing The Backend Work is Why You Are Struggling.
When it comes to getting organised and improving time management and productivity, there is one vital part of the process that most people will skip, believing that doing it is a luxury.
That part is learning and establishing what you want and what is important to you.
Not knowing what you want and what is important to you means you will focus on other people’s priorities and neglect your life. This can be debilitating to your mental health and your physical health in the long term.
However, If you decide to get yourself organised and in control of your time, it is important to clear the decks, and that means before you start, you clear what you currently have ongoing. That does not mean you continue to accept new tasks and commitments. It means you draw a line on any new inputs and clear the backlog. This is important because you need to have a clear mind for working on yourself and your priorities.
To do this, it’s best to take a few days off. Get away from Slack, Teams, email and any other source of work and change your environment. Go book yourself into a boutique hotel in the countryside or the coast. This change of environment will stimulate your creativity and thought process.
Time Ferriss and Bill Gates regularly take a week off and ‘disappear’ to focus on their thoughts and recharge themselves. Not in a family holiday way, in a more solitary manner. Family holidays can often be as stressful, if not more so, than being at work.
If you cannot disappear into the countryside or to the coast, get yourself out of your normal working environment and find a coffee shop or café and do your thinking there.
Once you are in a new environment, think about what you want out of life, your long-term goals, what you would like to be doing in ten or twenty years, and how you want to live your life today. Go through every part of your life and ask yourself if you are happy with it. If not, what could you do to change things and be happy? Write down the results of your thinking.
Knowing this information starts building a productivity and time management system that will serve you now and long into the future. It is the things you need to do to achieve that life that you want to prioritise each day.
Tony Robbins has a productivity system called RPM (Rapid Planning Method), which is a phenomenal system. I would argue it is one of the best systems you could adopt. However, 95% of those who learn this method will never implement it because it takes time to put all the pieces in place.
RPM does not focus on all the noise around you today. Instead, it forces you to think about what you want and what is important to you, based on categories you wish to focus your life on. Those categories would typically include your relationships, finances, career, health, etc. Without knowing what is important to you in each of these categories, you will always follow other people’s plans, and that is why you feel unfulfilled, stuck and stressed out.
The desire for instant gratification will always destroy your long-term productivity because you will never do the backend work needed to ensure that what you are doing each day is serving you and not just serving those around you.
You want to be building your day around your priorities and then allowing time for dealing with everyone else’s.
A typical day when you spend time focused on the right things may mean starting the day with an hour dedicated to yourself. That could involve some light exercise, meditation, journal writing or something mentally nourishing. Then you begin your day with a family breakfast where you are focused on your family (not your email or phone)
When you begin work, you know your priorities at work because you did the daily planning the night before, so you can get straight to it, focusing on doing the best work you can.
When work for the day is over, you may have a family dinner or dinner with a friend or other family member before returning home and reading or taking a course that will develop your skills which will further your opportunities.
If you have done the hard work of establishing what is important to you, all these activities will fall into place, and while you do them, you will feel focused, motivated and fulfilled because what you are doing is moving forward. You are improving that 1% each day. That sense of growth generates motivation and the all-important momentum.
The steps to establishing a fulfilled and happy life are simple. The difficulty is doing the hard backend work and doing it. But, I can promise you, if you do decide to take those few days to go deep and learn what you want out of life, you will never regret it. You will be more motivated, energised and happier because you will see each new day as a step towards becoming the person you want to become.
The alternative is more stress, more overwhelm and a tragically unhappy life. Always remember, nothing will ever change unless you change. So what do you have to lose?
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