I spend roughly two hours each week planning my personal life – usually on a Sunday evening.
I start with reminding myself what’s important. Luckily, I don’t have to try and figure this out (that would take longer than two hours!). I’ve already spent a lot of time thinking about this, and have something I can refer to and review.
It might be the most important thing you ever have to figure out for yourself. How do you get important work done?
It’s the key to living a full, productive, happy and balanced life. When you don’t have this figured out, you end up doing a lot of things, but actually achieving very little.
I’ve settled on a couple of strategies for helping me get important work done. Before I share them, I want to talk about The Eisenhower Matrix. It’s one of the most powerful frameworks I’ve found to think about where you spend your time.
When I woke up this morning, I found myself worrying about where I was in life.
It’s been a chaotic few months. We had a family holiday in Yorkshire. We’ve been doing a major house renovation, where we had to move out for 6 weeks. We moved back in now, but we’re still living in a partial building site. My daughter Fearne started school. And, I’m holding down a fairly ‘full on’ job in London.
I’ve found it a struggle to get, and stay in my groove. My environment has been all over the place, which makes it hard to stick to my habits and routines. It’s a reminder that these habits and routines are the foundation for how I organise my life and get things done.
As I sat there worrying and beating myself up, I remembered two things – which helped knock me out of it.
Waking early and making good use of the early hours is the biggest life hack there is — no exception. It’s a competitive advantage that almost feels like you’re cheating. You’re getting stuff done whilst most other people are sleeping like babies!
But, it can be hard to find one you like doing and will stick to (these are linked).
In my experience, there are three things that are at the root of not sticking to a morning routine:
I’ve settled on a solid process for solving big problems in my life and I want to share it.
The first step to solving a big problem in your life is to take full responsibility for it. What does that mean? To start with, you need to commit to fully understanding the problem yourself – whatever it takes.
Goddamn double unders. They are a bitch to learn. I’ve spent the last couple of months working on them. Most of the time
I could only get 2 or 3 reps (repetitions) before the rope hit my leg. I sometimes got up to 10 – but it was a fluke occurrence. I couldn’t repeat it consistently. And then I’m back to 2 or 3 reps again. It was frustrating.
I try and live a stripped back, simple life. I say try, because it’s not always easy – particularly when you have kids. Sometimes I lose my way and then have to pull back a little.
Life seems to have a way of pushing you towards accumulating stuff and commitments by default. It’s easier to buy stuff, than it is to resist compulsions to buy. It’s easier to agree to commitments, than it is to say no.
If you don’t consciously fight against these things, they build up. And then you end up with too much stuff, and too many things to do. Life gets overwhelming.
I was reminded this morning how powerful and important it is to block out time to plan the week ahead.
Over the last 5 weeks, I’ve fallen out of my weekly planning habit. I spent three weeks in Cyprus, so it wasn’t needed. It’s funny how going to the beach, swimming, eating and drinking beer seem to flow with each other nicely 😉
The following two weeks were unusual for me. I had a lot of days where I was looking after my daughter Fearne. I also had a bunch of other social commitments. I decided it wasn’t worth planning those two weeks out. Better to see the two weeks out and then get back to normal.
You know a wise man once said nothin’ at all – Drake
Most of what I write about usually comes to me in one of two ways.
Sometimes I randomly start thinking about a topic. I then start to notice a bunch of related things that enforce or help shape my thinking on it. And then I write it up (which also helps further shape my thinking on it).
However sometimes it works the other way. I notice a bunch of related things over time and I start to think about it more. I gradually realise the importance of it and develop a view on it. And then I write it up.
I’ve been through a major shift in how I plan my days and get things done over the last few years.
I used to think a good day was getting as many things done as possible. I felt productive as I ploughed through my lists. But now I realise, I was actually just busy. I could get lots of things done, but my impact was inconsistent.
A better way of putting it is, I didn’t get the return on investment for the amount of time I put in, or the number of things I completed. Continue reading »