I am often asked for guidance from clients, friends, and colleagues about how best to manage their increasingly heavy workloads. While I certainly don’t have “the answer” to this ongoing challenge, I do have one simple strategy and a mindset that has served me well over the last couple of years in managing all of the activities of my life.
First of all, my philosophy around time management is at the heart of this strategy; my belief is that it’s not the “stuff” of life that creates stress and frustration. It’s how you approach it that creates the feeling of challenge. The “stuff” of life is always neutral; it’s your attitude about it that makes it what it is.
This mindset is incredibly empowering, as it gives you a feeling of control over your life experiences. The reverse is that you allow your calendar and activities to have control which causes a feeling of perpetual frustration and spinning your wheels.
So, what can you do to create a feeling of control? Begin your day in a way that sets a positive tone. By starting the day in a rushed, hurried manner, focused on activities (the news, emails, packing lunches, etc.), you perpetuate the challenge of feeling out of control.
Consider this . . . upon waking, you make your way to a comfortable place in your home. In this comfortable place, you give yourself the gift of silence—allowing thoughts to rise and fall without judgment, paying attention to your breathing, basking in the quiet presence of the morning. In these few minutes (yes, just a few minutes) of quiet reflection, you are renewed and much more prepared to react to the events of your day in a positive way.
What if you did this for just a few minutes each morning before you jumped into the activities? I suspect your results would be similar to mine. By consciously starting my day in a reflective way, I have experienced the following results:
- I have little to no stress in my life and much less worry
- I feel prepared to handle whatever life has to offer
- I am confident about my ability to act in a way that represents my values
- I am less reactive and much more thoughtful about the choices I make
- I step into the day with a clear mind and an open heart
- I carry a relaxed, peaceful feeling with me
You are in the driver’s seat. Between sleep and action, give yourself time to transition and leverage the quiet of the morning as a time for renewal. You and those you influence throughout the day deserve it.
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