Time Management #9: Revisiting Your ABCs

Start where you are.

Use what you have.

Do what you can.
— Arthur Ashe

One of my most beloved books is Pema Chodron’s Start Where You Are. In it she truly gets at the root of our “enough-ness”—you are worthy and there is nothing lacking. 

In one brilliant spot, she says: 

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth.

I love this idea that we can look inward to see where we need to go. We don’t have to wait for a revelation, copy others, or pretend. We can go back to the fundamentals. 

look inward.png

Like the alphabet.  




I’d bet that there are just 3 central areas in your work where you’re most passionate…where most of your value comes from. So let’s find them out! 

Grab some paper and a pen and set a timer for 30 seconds—not  a minute, not 2—just 30 seconds. Now start the timer and scrawl out A, B, C, where you’ll list your top 3 areas where you feel you contribute the most and the most efficiently.

The things that come easy for you. 

The stuff you wish you could do more of. 

Tasks that have the most value in your world. 

Now that you have those ABCs listed, grade yourself on them. Where are you on each? Excellent? Good? Alright? Need improvement? Put a letter grade by each. 

Based on what you’ve written so far, write down your 3 biggest goals right now, as well as your 3 biggest problem areas/concerns, for each of the ABCs.

Here’s a chart to help you visualize this:

chart abc goals.PNG

Once you’ve identified your goals and concerns, prioritize them. Make task lists of what you’re going to do each day to move toward your goals and minimize your concerns/problems. 

Retreat time? You need a retreat, but you also need to retreat from something you’ve been doing that’s not working? Here’s what happened to me!

I decided to start some DIY projects in the France villa this summer. Retreat time anyone, the mind-body-spirit kind? The first project was painting over bathroom and shower tile to have a new updated beautiful Salle de Bain (shower room). I didn’t quit understand just how involved this project would be especially when I missed one of 30-ish sequential steps—RE-CAULKING!

Missing this one step before painting was a BIG challenge. It meant sanding off the paint around the old caulking, learning how to take the old caulking out and add new caulking (thanks YouTube!) then after cleaning and taping it all up AGAIN, I was ready to paint again. Whoa!

Have you ever re-caulked a shower and sink?

Oh my!! As fun as I was having at the beginning, after a month of this project, I decided a big whopping “NOPE, this is not the best use of my time.” For all of the other projects I wanted to get done, I decided, “I’m hiring a handyman.” ✅ As much as I enjoyed an outdoor shower or two (lol), and long conversations with my limited French over google translate with the local hardware store employees I realized this is slowing me down on all my other big goals and dreams.

Plus I’d proved to myself I can be a DIY’er in a country where I don’t speak the language and measurements are different and just about everything else you can imagine. YES!

What I shifted my focus to after my now new buddy the handyman came onto the scene was to get rolling on some creative coaching programs! That’s what I’m really good at, and where my focus will stay. I don’t mind the occasional DIY project, but it didn’t make sense. With this extra time I can host a retreat here in France next year and create the new programs I feel passionately about to help my clients have the irresistible lives they crave—- how to market and run your business, how to find your life partner, how to create any goal you’ve ever dreamed of, and how to lose weight permanently without dieting and yo-yoing! Pretty fun stuff!!

So what’re you spending your time re-caulking when you shouldn’t be?

What areas are you good at— and struggling with that with just a slight shift in perspective could save you loads of time and energy and get you closer to those dreams?

While this exercise does take time on the front end—and I know we’ve been making tons of lists in this process—it’s really is worth it. You’ll be astounded by what you can accomplish in a short amount of time! Go to it!