How do you feel about mornings?
Personally, I’m not a morning person.
Anyone that knows me will tell you I love sleeping. (I’m writing this after a glorious 10.5 hour sleep).
As a college student, getting to an 8:30 am class on time was next-to-impossible. But when I got my last promotion in my corporate job, I knew it would require early mornings.
To get to my new job, I would have to be ready and out the door by 6:30 am.
On top of that, I know getting a workout in before the work day begins can help make the day better (and avoid the temptation to skip a workout and opt for happy hour instead).
It turned out, I found a way to not only get to work on time, but to also join in on 5:00 am workout classes (although not every day, let’s be honest here).
I discovered the simplest trick to make mornings easy:
Go to bed earlier.
Yup. To get up at 4:40 and feel good about it (ok, mostly to not feel like I was going to die), I needed to have 8 hours sleep.
And that meant setting an alarm and going to bed around 9:00 pm.
This is the principle of proactivity.
Proactivity is all about preparing for what’s coming. It’s planning, and anticipating what might be to make the best of anything.
Proactivity applies to everything. It’s one of Stephen Covey’s 7 Principles of Highly Effective People (a classic you can find here).
We can also apply proactivity to our time.
Have you ever had those days when you looked at the clock at 5:00 and realized you’ve barely touched your to-do list?
Have you ever looked at your week and wondered where you were going to fit in a yoga class you’ve been dying to go to? Or when you could possibly go on a date night?
Time management is critical to success in all aspects of life.
Your time is precious – if you don’t claim it, someone else will.
Whether it’s demanding bosses or clients, volunteer commitments, or even house cleaning, your work will expand to fill the time you give it, leaving you with no time for what’s important to YOU.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are proactive, you can have all the time you want for what you want – date nights, spa days, side-hustles, happy hours, and spin classes.
Here’s how to get proactive about your time:
- Spend time each week planning your week. Set aside 20 minutes to schedule time for the important things for the week ahead including work, family, exercise, and learning. Hint: Friday afternoons are usually great for this (since it’s usually not a time you’ll start any big projects anyway!).
- Make time for “big rocks”. Figure out what your big priorities are for the week, month and year and block that time in your calendar. For me, my weekly big rocks are exercise, and important projects. Each month, I make sure I have time blocked off to spend with my husband Troy. And over the year, I plan vacations and time off, as well as time for any big new projects. Exercise, husband time, vacations and work projects are my “big rocks”. Find yours and block the time for them.
- Plan each day the night before. Take 10-15 minutes the night before and list your priorities for the day. It makes it easy to start your day on what you want to do instead of getting sucked into other people’s wants and needs.
- Work backward from a goal to figure out timelines and check-in. Want to run a half marathon? You need to start training about 12-16 weeks ahead of time. Want to save $20,000 this year? Set a reminder in your planner to check in monthly to ensure you’re on track. Want to go on a 6-month sabbatical? Picture in your mind what you should be doing the day before you leave (saying final goodbyes), the week before (packing), month before (handing in your notice at work, booking accommodation), and so on (renewing your passport, booking flights).
- Estimate how much time it will take you to complete a task. Then, stick to it. Try Timer Tab to count it down for you and let you know when time is up. This will help you work towards finishing the project you’re working on.
- Break projects into small steps. As you work towards them, you’ll stay inspired because you can see the progress you’re making. Whether it’s a home renovation, new website, or work initiative, seeing your progress helps keep you motivated.
- Plan your work and errands to avoid peak times. For example, arrive at work early or stay late to avoid traffic (hopefully you don’t have to do both). Hit the grocery store early on a weekend to avoid the weekend rush.
- Find what works for you to be most productive. I personally love playing music, having lots of water around me, and my essential oils diffuser on making my office feel energizing. I also work well with others and love co-working because of this. Experiment. Play. You’re unique - find what’s best for you!
- Start your day by “eating the frog”. In other words, start with the most challenging task or the one you’re dreading first. Then, once you’ve finished it, you’ll find yourself more energized for the rest of the day. And whatever you do, don’t start by checking your emails.
Here’s the thing: when we don’t get ahead of our time and time management, it gets a hold of us.
Time is a fantastic servant but terrible master.
Being proactive allows you to take back your time.
And with that, I’m off to a proactively planned happy hour (hey, I'm on vacation!)
Success Coach & Speaker
PS. Private one-on-one coaching prices increase today, March 31st, 2017. If you are interested in coaching, this is a great opportunity to get the support, accountability, and encouragement to create the life you want to live.
It IS possible to have meaningful work AND a fun-filled life. I know it is because that’s what I have and what I’ve helped other clients create.
If you want to live life full-out, with no regrets, start by taking action.
My 3-month Fireworks Coaching Package takes a proactive approach to your life and time. Together, we'll define where you want to be, and create a plan to get you there. If you want to have meaningful work and a fun-filled life, this package is for you (and you can find out more here).
Get in touch today for a complimentary discovery session to find out how I can support you best and see if we’re a great fit to work together. I’ll honor the $1500 USD price for any discovery call requests I get before midnight PST tonight!
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