Allow me to be a little vulnerable this week.
A few weeks ago, my timehop on Facebook popped up showing me some memories from a few years ago. Back when I was in college, I was planning a wedding, working full time (between 2 jobs) AND going to school full time. Wow. I don’t miss that time in my life at all. I have changed so much.
My life was a mess. I was exhausted in every way. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually.
And eventually, the wear and tear I did to my body would catch up to me over time. I became really depressed. I was incredibly unhappy and even physically my body never felt good.
The thing is, is that I knew I was going nowhere, but I was going there FAST.
Every day I would tell myself, “Just one more day. Soon, this will all be over. . .”
But the scary thing is that it wasn’t going to be over. I just. Kept. Going. I piled on job after job onto my schedule ignoring my husband begging me to rest. I had to keep up, pay bills, get ahead, save money, go here, work there, thinking eventually I would be at a point where I could drop something.
I was too scared, afraid, nervous to sit down, be brave and ask myself, where am I going? Why am I doing this? What do I want my life to look like in 5 years and what will it take to get there?
But the thing is, when we’re juggling 10 things, we’re probably dropping 2-3 of those things often throughout the week or the month. I fully believe we are just not designed to have our head in 5 different places at once. And when we do, it doesn’t last for long before somethings gotta give.
In an interview, Bill Gates & Warren Buffet sat down and were asked the same question, “In one word, what would you say is your secret to all your success?” Without any prompting or hesitation, both of them quickly responded, “Focus“.
To be completely honest, I still struggle with “going nowhere fast”. But my planner has helped me find white space and room. It’s helped me create boundaries and more than anything, it’s helped me carve out time into my life to reach goals and do the things I want to do (like hanging out with you guys!). I truly LOVE my life now and I’m so passionate about planners because planning has helped me become a better person and my planner allowed me to dream again.
I finally realized though, that a lot of the good things I had in life that I had been blessed with, I was really intentional about. For example: my husband. I knew marriage was something I wanted to take really seriously so I was very picky about the guys I dated. I even wrote out what I wanted my husband to be like and what his values were so I could make sure they lined up with mine. I know that sounds CRAZY but it’s insane how well my spouse and I go together. We will be married for 5 years this coming May. (The happiest 5 years of my life!)
How do I keep my house clean? I have time blocked off each week to clean and do basic chores. Very few things are allowed to interrupt that time. I’m very intentional about it because I know my environment affects me in more ways than I know and I can’t focus unless my house is in order. It’s a value of mine.
As you can see, the intentional mindset can apply to any part of your life. But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. It can be overwhelming when you’re first starting out using a planner.
As I was drifting along, I stumbled up an exercise I found through Michael Hyatt that was a total game changer. It’s a simple task of sitting down to block out time and to create your ideal week.
You see, when we set big goals, we think it will take big steps to achieve them. But in reality, they don’t. They take small, consistent, usually daily baby steps to get there. (I know, that’s not what you wanted to hear, but honestly – where is the fun in immediate gratification? Compared to the beautiful journey filled with ups and downs of going somewhere, I’ll take the marathon over the sprint!)
We all know you don’t lose weight by going to the gym one time and eating a salad for lunch one day. No, it’s week after week, day after day, making better decisions, choosing to go to the gym for 45 minutes instead of scrolling through Instagram.
This exercise can help you see where you need to cut back on commitments, what’s really taking up a lot of your time and where you can sneak in tasks even that you really want to get done.
I explain more in the video here:
Basically, your steps are:
1. Layout current commitments
2. Theme your days (You can find a way better explanation on this on my friend Mike Vardy’s site, The Productivityist!)
3. Analyze it. Do you need more white space? Do you have a lot of white space you can fill with things you want to be intentional about?
4. Live, tweak, repeat. This will not be perfect the first time you make a go at it!
The ideal week WORKS because your time is focused, you are focused and you don’t feel guilty for working on something because you’re neglecting another. You probably have time blocked out to work on that other task! It’s so helpful.
So tell me, what do you think about the ideal week? Have you ever heard of this? Will you try it using this worksheet I made for you? Let me know in the comments below!