Do you procrastinate? Do you get stuck in needing it all to be perfect, otherwise you don't do it at all, or you spend hours perfecting something that a B-minus quality of work would suffice? Do you have a to-do list a mile long, but can't seem to make much progress? Are you always coming up with great ideas, but have trouble following through on them? Do you find yourself exhausted at the end of the day, because you worried all day long that you should have been focusing your attention on what is important to you, and can't wait for the evening time when you can stop and relax?
If this sounds like you, you may be a busyaholic.
And your schedule is a super important part of your life to pay close attention to. So, I've been asking myself:
Can you really change your style and have a schedule that works for you? I believe the answer is yes, but it takes some effort and practice. And you guessed it… thought work.
A lot of my clients berate themselves
for not doing what they think
they "should" be doing and
create a lot of unnecessary suffering for themselves.
Do not blame yourself if you do this, that never helps. Just be a kind observant witness to your process, and make what you are doing conscious. That's the first step to changing. Another thing a lot of my clients do is compare themselves to another group of people, who are great at managing their schedules. Don't we all wish this was us? STOP comparing yourself, it never works. There is nothing wrong with you because you can't stick to a schedule that works for you. You just need more practice, need to change the schedule up a bit- to see what is and isn't working, build in lots and lots of downtime, or work on your commitment to yourself.
After the berating of themselves, my clients often feel shame and remorse, at supposed time lost. And sentences in their mind like, "What is wrong with me."
Often times this leads to engaging in false pleasures, and avoidance behaviors such as binge watching TV, hours on social media, over-eating, or any other activity that is your "personal choice of avoidance," that takes you away from that schedule of yours (that is hopefully designed to take you further along your path towards your greatest dreams and desires). These behaviors are meant to soothe feelings that feel intolerable, all because we can't seem to "get stuff done." Which you can by the way, but not by berating yourself into it!
There is a fix for this. Don't suffer in silence because of your schedule. Life is too short.
As you know I am a recovering busyaholic myself. As much as I want to just flip a magic switch and be really good at prioritizing and focusing, I still find myself having days where my schedule is running me, or in some cases paralyzing me. It can be painful, if I let my thoughts go wild, and make it mean something terrible about me. There is no failure, if you keep trying. We are supposed to encounter obstacles. That's just part of life. Don't give up and try something different. It will work, even if it's frustrating at times!
I share this because getting freedom from busyness is a muscle you build. Just like anything else. It takes practice. You have days where it’s easy and clear, and days where you have to work harder to focus your priorities. But you’ll get there. If you keep practicing. Even when you don’t want to. :)
Freedom from busyness IS absolutely a muscle you build.
I just spent a week crazy busy, preparing to move back to Los Angeles after 3 months of working from France. Right now I’m packing, seeing my clients, building a membership program, launching my free monthly coaching calls and navigating a new country, so I have a lot of exciting things going on. AND, when I wasn’t looking, I moved back into putting everything as a top priority. As a result it felt like my life was running me this week, that there wasn’t enough time, I couldn’t catch up, and I couldn't get back on track.
What you want to do is turn your busyness into intentional focus.
Take time with yourself not to be perfect at scheduling. To really own your schedule rather than feel run by it, you have to use your intentional focus. It's ok when you don't stick to it, when it's not quite working for you and needs to be tweaked. You do that work. You regroup when it's not going well and practice intentional thoughts, like, "this takes practice, I just need to re-group and re-evaluate what is working and what's not and why." Pay close attention to the thoughts you are thinking. You don't want to be thinking stuff like, "I can't do this, I'm a failure, something is wrong with me." That is NEVER true, or why your schedule is not working. But thoughts like that will lead to feelings of overwhelm, confusion and shame, and you'll likely get stuck indulging in these feelings instead of strategizing and building your scheduling muscle.
If somewhere you’re telling yourself you don’t control your schedule, you’re taking away your own power to control your schedule.
One of the hardest things in this process is owning your schedule, not just when it’s working, but when it’s not working. By owning, I mean recognizing that your schedule is packed because of choices you made or didn’t make. It’s not fun to realize we have to say “no” to some things in order to say yes to a more powerful schedule that supports our deeper dreams and desires. And it’s not always easy to own that we DO have a choices. Some of those choices will be uncomfortable, but working through that discomfort is part of the road to a healthy schedule, whatever that looks like for you.
Be clear about your priorities.
For me, this week, I just need to keep practicing being clear about my priorities and saying no to things that are not in my top priorities right now. And that’s a journey. Because, like a lot of my clients, my default mode is to want to do everything that sounds good. And, because I’m working on my scheduling, I’m seeing what my current choosing is doing to my days. And as you’re practicing a new way of managing your focus you want to consistently remind yourself of your “why.”
Become best friends with your "WHY."
Like why in the heck am I doing this anyway?
Exercise, on your "WHY:"
Answer this question right now and post it somewhere will you will remind yourself on a daily basis why this scheduling stuff is so important: why am I doing this anyway?
For example: My why is that I want to move forward, have good self-care, have time for fun, and reach and help lots of people with my membership program. Yay! Just saying that feels good, and makes me more motivated to work on this scheduling thing.
I am even more grounded and present when I own my schedule. And this matters to me, my whole experience of my life is kinder toward myself and others, and I don't get tangled up in shame and the avoidance tactics mentioned above.
So, what's your "WHY?"
Remember, you’re building a muscle.
I heard someone say, you can’t go to the gym once, then check that off and expect to have strong muscles. You’ve got to practice. And the same applies here. You are retraining yourself to a new and purposeful way of managing your schedule. So you might find yourself needing to check in and be clear on your priorities at least 1x a week to support yourself in not going back to your autopilot mode of letting your schedule run you.
Why does it matter to you to grow the skill of managing your schedule?
Simply because you will feel better. And on a deeper level, you can manifest your dreams. Sign me up!
Exercise on Priorities:
- Schedule a time on your calendar once a week right now, where you will sit down with yourself for 10 minutes and write about and get crystal clear on your priorities. No more than three.
- Check in each week, did your life last week align with your true priorities?
- How can your life align more this week with your priorities and what you truly want to spend your time on in life?
I really hope your priorities have something to do with wanting to live out your dreams. Because, why not? Why not be on a path and schedule that leads you to your dreams and not just random busyness for the sake of busyness?
Ok, I’m off to spend 10 minutes of quiet time with my schedule and priorities. I'd love to hear what you've learned about taming your schedule.
You can read more about the power of creating priorities in my blog here.