Simplified living need not mean living without, rather it is about clearing the way for an innovative, intentional life, which will then spill over into all areas of your life.
I am preparing for a talk I am giving tomorrow. I am one of those crazy people, who loves public speaking. Blame it on my music performance training, but this woman loves a stage!
Like many work related activities lately, this took a fraction of the time it used to when it seemed like I had a fog of distraction hanging over my head. I needed to experience that frustration to find a better way. To get crystal clear on how to define and ultimately reach my goals.
What changed first was our lifestyle, which removed many barriers, including distractions, but I still wanted to accomplish more. I was willing to get up at five am like I had since the kids were born to complete a freelance assignment, but I could not seem to accomplish enough at one time. Ever feel that way? I wanted to focus on my activities, and give them my all. I also wanted to stop thinking about things on my list when I was not working.
I have been looking for ways to live a lifestyle that is more like a working retirement, only with kids in tow. I was inspired to do that by Tim Ferriss’ book, The Four Hour Work Week that I read last year. It seems to me people spend more time planning for the ultimate retirement lifestyle instead of planning for the majority of the prime time in their lives, like he explained in the Four Hour Work Week. Even if you are not ready for the change in work, his philosophy and how it can open your eyes to more possibilities is worth the price of the book.
We do need to be happy, but what will really propel our lives forward is a lack of distractions. Living in a small space doesn’t allow itself to distractions or procrastination and that is a good thing.
I read in INC Magazine recently about the company Eventbrite and how they had built a happy, but mediocre company until they made some strategic changes. I believe that when you read studies about the happiness of people, you need to keep in mind it is about a lack of negative distractions and about living at their best, but it is also having clear strategic goals.
I recently completed the series, The Time of Your Life, by Tony Robbins. I was inspired by Scott Dismore, founder of Live Your Legend in his post about planning his week. I used his system, which he learned from a Tony Robbins event. I kept hitting a wall, though, knowing I could be more productive, so I looked into The Time of Your Life. This system has made a world of difference, and I want to give you some ideas how you can incorporate a few of its points.
The most important part for me was moving away from a to-do list planner, to a personal inventory of what is important to me called categories of improvement. One area, I created was that I was the Director of Education for the kids. Not a teacher, but a director. That change in language was significant, because it elevated the tasks included in homeschooling that I was less than excited about. It made it clear I did not have to do everything, but could direct strategies for a specific outcome. That I could get excited about!
Once you start thinking about categories, your to-do list literally goes away. I plan my week each Sunday with these categories in mind. If something needs to be scheduled on a specific day and time, like my talk for tomorrow and its preparation then it goes on the calendar. Everything else goes on a master capture list and gets put into a category. As I plan my week I look over my master list, and decide whether or not I need to do those things or if another action would accomplish that goal. I wish I had that when we began our downsizing journey. It would have eliminated so much stress, and made our reasons crystal clear.
The time I spend working on projects is so targeted that now it takes a fraction of the time allotted. My uphill battle with knowing I wanted to be working, and raising the kids was something I would not compromise on, but how to make it all work was a mystery until now.
If you want to start a planning session with these principles, create categories for your areas in your life that you want to excel in and focus on. Some examples are health, finances, and family. Now really dive into those and define them like I did with my role of Director of Education. It does not matter what you label them, this is your life.
What matters is that it helps you define what is important in your life, so that when things come up as opportunities you can quickly decide if they are enhancing your goals or if you need to push those aside for now.
It is through strategic living and working that will help you clear away anything standing in the way of seeing your vision come true.