6 Steps to Ditching Busy & Finding Purpose
Have you ever felt like you were going a mile a minute, you didn't have a spare moment to rest, yet you get to the end of your day and you can't figure out what you accomplished? Or even worse, you look at huge seasons of your life and feel like what am I doing with my time?
The worst part is when you feel like you are working your tail off but not making any true head way! I was feeling that same way. My days were full of taking care of all sorts of details but when it came down to it I still didn't feel fulfilled.
That's when I decided to change how I was scheduling my days. Which in turn changed how we were scheduling our weeks, months and year.
I realized that my time was getting swallowed up with the side tangents, last minute ideas, random thoughts, Facebook rabbit trails, and non essentials. To be clear, these things weren't bad, they just weren't the activities that gave my life meaning.
It's not always easy to keep an intentional calendar, but I will say it is worth the battle to clear out the busy to make space for the important.
1. Make a Date...
Schedule a calendar date either with yourself or your spouse/family. This doesn't have to be super in depth, just simply ask what do we have coming up in the next few months between work and school that we absolutely must do? Put all of those activities on the calendar.
Then ask. What things do we want to make sure we do outside of those commitments? Dinner together? Vacation? Camping? Big Projects or Goals you're working towards? Fill in the calendar with those things next.
Now you have a really clear view of what's coming as well as when you'll be fitting in the things that matter most!
2. Work backwards.
If you know you have a big deadline, a project that must be done, family coming into town that you're getting ready for, an event your planning, or a goal you're trying to reach like running a 5k, writing a book, learning a new skill - then work backwards from that date or deadline that you set for yourself. Break down the big project or goal into small steps that you can accomplish one week at a time.
This will help make the projects feel easier to accomplish, plus it will keep you on track as the days go by. Best part is, if you're working towards a somewhat intangible goal like 'have a healthier marriage' or 'get in better shape' you can break down what activities and things you can do each week that will help you reach that goal - weekly date nights, slowed down dinner together, healthy weekly meal planning, time at the gym...
3. Weekly Snapshot
Now take a look at your weekly calendar and highlight the things you absolutely MUST do. What things have to be accomplished this week? (this is where working backwards becomes a HUGE help because you've already made the list of the small things you need to accomplish!)
Put the must do's on your To Do list first. Get those out of the way so that if all else fails, you will have at least accomplished those.
Plus, guess what you now have? A very clear picture of any extra time on your calendar. When your priorities make it on the calendar first it naturally weeds out anything that is not essential.
4. Break it down
If you want to get really focused you can break down your 'must do list' into the top 3 things you'd like to accomplish each day. This has been a huge help for me.
Working from home, balancing mom life, work life, trying to be healthy and fit in my jeans life, wife life, friend life...it is so easy to get pulled in different directions!
So at the beginning of each week I jot down the big things I need to accomplish. Then I break them down for each day. Fitting them between loving on my kids and family, pursuing my own goals, making time to work out, plan dinners and so on.
Breaking it down for each day has made me feel like I'm winning instead of feeling the the to do list is beating me up each week!
5. Next UP
After you've filled in the musts, and broken down the daily to do's create a SMALL list of the things you would like to get to next. This is where being realistic comes into play. There are only 24 hours in a day. Let's be honest with ourselves on what we can actually accomplish in one day.
This isn't about having low expectations, it's about setting goals that we can achieve. Get this! Achieving 1 goal, being able to mark off everything on your list will make you more motivated to tackle the list tomorrow and for the next week.
Let's set ourselves up for success!
My mind LOVES tangents. Side thoughts, What if's, wouldn't it be cool.... It's fun to think about all of the things that could be. But wow, I can get royally distracted and pulled off track by new ideas and projects if I don't have a clear idea of what I'm trying to accomplish each day. So I have a 'That'd be cool' list that I add ideas to. Sometimes the idea just needs to get out of my head so it can stop distracting me!
Best part is as you get your schedule more refined and focused you'll be able to see if there is space for these seemingly random ideas to fit. As you get ready to have your next calendar meeting for yourself or your family look over these 'what if's' and see is there a pattern or common thread through the things you've written down? Have you put multiple ideas on this list that fit together? Well, maybe it's time to create space for it!
Then again, it might just have been your imagination having fun and no further action is needed.
Creating a life you love is worth all of the time spent being intentional with your calendar. This intention is going to help clear out the busyness to make space for the important. Do you feel like you need more help? We created this fun and easy Guide to help you take that first step of simply seeing what you do love about your life. Have fun creating space to do more of what you love!