I LOVE doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I hugely enjoy the activities and work that I do, but I really value empty spaces in my calendar when my time is free-form and I can be playful and creative or quiet and still, according to how I feel. And I realise that may sound fanciful to parents of small children, but it applies to your time with them too – how much nicer to have the boring admin stuff done and dusted so that you can have FUN with your kids rather than rush rush rushing through life. But are there enough hours in the day? I’ve found three key ways to cut the crap and get stuff done, so you have time to be free and play!
1 – Know WHY.
Grocery shopping, tax return, mow lawn…. yep, my brain is turning to mush too – dull dull dull. But that stuff has to get done, and the kick up the ass to get you started is reframing that list with some WHYS, so you can keep your eyes on the prize and not the drudgery. Here’s how:
– Grocery shopping. Why? So that you have a plentiful supply of your favourite food for the week ahead and you don’t have to make multiple soul-destroying, time and money wasting trips to convenience stores.
– Tax return. Why? So that you can enjoy that wonderful feeling of ‘that’s IT for another year’.
– Mow lawn. Why? Because you enjoy hanging out in your pretty little corner of nature.
When you focus on the real reason why you’re doing the boring stuff, it gives you an incentive and makes it feel just a little less like punishment!
2 – Bitesize chunks
So maybe the thing you keep putting off is bigger than that. Maybe you’ve put ‘take a gap month’ on the same list as the grocery shopping. Can you see why that’s not going to get off the blocks? It’s too big. You’ve got to break it down. So using this example, let’s chop it into a series of manageable, tick-offable tasks like this….
– Arrange time to meet with boss to discuss leave
– Research the places I want to visit online
– Plan logical route between places
– Work out what I have to spend
– Search airline and hotel sites for best flight offers…
…. And so on. If you were to do one of those tasks each day, by next week your grand plan would be well underway!
3 – Eat Your Frog
If, in order to survive, you had a to eat a frog every day, when would you do it? I don’t know about you, but I’d go with very first thing – just get it done, then it’s not hanging over you and spoiling the rest of your day. And it’s the same with to-do lists. Take the task that really makes you groan and just START. If it’s lengthy, maybe agree with yourself that you’ll do ‘it’ for one hour, and then that’s the lot for today. But do the thing you really dislike first, and then it’s done and you get to feel both free and in control. Which for my money are pretty good feelings!
As for cutting the crap? It’s all about paying a little more attention to what you’re actually doing with your time. Leisure time is wonderful, but it’s easy to kid ourselves that things like watching trash TV and noodling about on social media are relaxing, whereas actually they’re not nourishing the way you feel at all. I’m not saying sell the telly and deactivate your Facebook account, but there’s a middle ground. So maybe you can record the shows you really like, and watch them in controlled amounts rather than aimlessly channel-surfing. Maybe you can limit your time on FB to 10 minutes a day and give your feed a good prune, so that you don’t see the updates from sources which you notice bring about a sense of dissatisfaction in you. Perhaps those things aren’t your poison and you waste time in other ways, but the trick is to start consciously checking in with yourself and asking – is this making me feel better, or worse? It is serving my higher purpose, or bringing me down?
Your life is precious and you are unique, so give yourself this gift. Cut the crap, get stuff done, and liberate your time to be free, to play, and to be YOU!