Im starting this one off with a couple of huge disclaimers. 1. this is really fucking long. 2. Im not saying YOU in particular have shitty time management, but if you do, continue. 3. I am not using my self as an example so it can be a pity party or so that I can brag about how much I get done (your opinions will vary from thinking i do nothing, to being very busy and everything in between) I'll use myself as an example because its the only real way I can speak to this topic. 4. I have an awesome team here at milestone and at alta who help me so much, my wife is a saint who motivates and supports me daily and my friends keep me very supported, grounded and focused. Ok, end of disclaimers
So, youre always busy. We are all always busy. Social media has made us very busy. We often find ourselves scrolling through feeds, spending too long perfecting a photo or just getting our stalk on. Throw in work, sleep, exercise, social life and some semblance of healthy eating and thats pretty much our weeks done. A few months back, well maybe even a year now, I was falling into the very same trap and everything suffered because of it.
At present my weekly responsibilities include, Study (Psych/Dietetics at 1.5X regular course load), Personal training (20-30 sessions per week), Coaching, Product development, accounting, marketing and social media for Milestone Strength (the greatest online coaching company in the world, incase you hadnt heard) Coaching team strength and conditioning at Alta Athletic, basketball, football, jiu jitsu, seeing my family and my wife, social life, sleep (easily my fave) weight training and occasionally watching sports on the weekend. So all up work commitments are at around 60-70 hours per week, study is 20-30, and everything else just fits in when it can. So based on this, im going to tell you how gratitude and framing can fix all the time management woes in the world.
When we view ourselves as busy we have two options. It is this simple. I promise. A) we can view our busy lifestyle as something that is happening too us. Meaning the universe is making us busy, work is stressful, I have no time to do anything this sucks. We become REACTIONARY. This is not the ideal way to be. It increases our anxiety, increases our stress levels, lowers our productivity and can have a major impact on our health. Option B) we become grateful (and I mean truly grateful, not just 'grateful so I can hashtag it on the 'gram') that we CAN OPERATE from this position. This mindset shift in turn makes us PROACTIVE. We look to schedule our weeks well, we move towards fitting in as much as we can with what we have. We truly begin to improve all our skills relevant to daily life. This personal development can be a true game changer!
By allowing ourselves to be thankful that we can work, that we have jobs, that people value our time so much that they want to spend it with us, that we have the amazing opportunity to gain further education there is a tremendous paradigm shift. We stop looking to avoid further responsibilities and commitments and instead we seek out ways to fit them into our weeks AND thrive on doing so.
To start to bring this into your daily life I want you to use three strategies. I cannot take credit for the first one, it is a positive psychology exercise that my wife Molly introduced me too and that I am now delving further into at university. Every evening before bed, write down in a book 3 things that youre grateful that day, and I want one of them to be about work/study or something youre struggling with at the moment. For example, this morning I had a 6am session in the rain. I couldve been salty, but instead im grateful that somebody chose me to run a session for them, that they respected my skills enough to do so and that so many athletes turned up to join in. This small mental adjustment takes what couldve been a negative experience into a huge positive for me and my self confidence.
The second strategy is framing. For every problem you face in your daily life your reaction will initially be negative. Human nature, no arguments from me. I hate to quote Jack Sparrow, but he is correct. "the problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude to the problem" This couldnt be more true, so for the next problem you face, take a moment to think of a way it can be framed as a positive. For Example, 'Damn, I have an essay due on the same day as Jenny's party' change the perception to 'ok, i need to manage my productivity to have this assignment due before Jenny's party'
Final strategy for all of you still reading thinking, this guy has no fucking idea, I just dont have the time! Yeah ya bloody do. The next week, in your diary (if youre saying you have no time and you dont have a diary, lol, get one) I want you to write, exactly what you did, every hour of the day for the full 24 hours. If you can fill those 24 hours (ill give ya 7 hours of sleep) with activities that are all contributing to your productivity (rest is important for productivity, i recommend 30-40 mins of chill out per day), moving forward I assure you that framing will start to open big gaps in your day.
I know these seem trivial, but I promise they work. When we change the way we view the commitments we dont like, we choose to do them, our time management becomes better because we focus on making the time to do them. Strip away anything that doesnt serve you, any relationships that bring you down, any activites that arent going to put you exactly where you want to be in your life, thats where we find time in our lives, but loving the things we do.
As anyone of you who has worked with me you know im a hard science guy, I need evidence, randomised control trials, meta analyses, the works. But the metaphysics surrounding this gratitude is tough to measure, but give these strategies an honest shot. Pretty soon your 40 hour work week will seem easy, youll be grateful for the opportunity to live each day outside of it and your productivity will skyrocket.
PS for those who have kids, your lives are infinitely harder and I totally understand that, but try to focus on the minutes in the day not the hours. 15 minutes can be an eternity, with the right attitude!
As always, if you have questions, give me a yell