I glide through each moment of each day with a sense of calm, exceeding all my goals and personal ambitions with ease, and get to the gym several times a week. I always hit my professional and career targets, which means I’m able to spend lots of high quality time with my family and friends, and enjoy preparing and serving them delicious, freshly prepared 3 course meals every day. And to top it all off, I read the kids their favourite story every evening before indulging in eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
Okay. Not all of that is strictly true.
I really do feel calm quite a lot of the time. And maybe I don’t always meetall my goals and ambitions; I’ve got a LOT those (that is true), so how could I fit them all in? And maybe I haven’t done as much exercise and as I’d like over the past couple of weeks but I am quite active and run when ever I can.
I really do love my partner, friends and family … and would see them all more, only I’ve got so much to do, what with all the exercise, cooking, ambitions and goals, etc.
Oh and I don’t have kids. That bit isn’t true at all.
Left unchecked, my life becomes highly charged, overly busy, increasingly unproductive and completely exhausting. All of which leaves no room for friends or family; the most important part of my life. Which isn’t even closeto perfect. It’s entirely rubbish.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, and you’d rather nothave a nervous breakdown, then you need to sort out your time management skills.
Poor time management is a common problem. Just try searching for ‘time management techniques’; it returns 68 billion results. There is obviously no shortage of advice out there for people who feel they lack time management skills. You may even have tried to incorporate some of these techniques into your life.
But the thing is, trying to adopt a new skill by sheer will power alone is really not likely to work. Don’t believe me? Well ask yourself, how many New Year’s resolutions have you set yourself over the years, and how many of them have you stuck to? I bet some of them were important to you. So what happened to all those good intentions, and, assuming you actually got started with making things better, why wasn’t will power enough for you to make those changes stick?
To retain useful behaviours, turn good practices into good habits.
I’m a big fan of trying new things, experimenting, taking a different approach. And when I find something that does make my life a little bit more perfect, I try really hard to make it a part of my regular behaviour.
For example, over the past couple of weeks I’ve been experimenting and practicing using the StrikeThru system, which aims to help people get thing done. The system is a simple way to manage immediate and long term tasks, using a paper journal. As someone who works in tech and uses online task management tools everyday, going for a paper time management solution is not such an obvious choice.
Each day, before I close the journal, I run through the things I intended to do that day. Then I list and prioritise the things I plan to do tomorrow. As I said, it’s a simple system, which encourages me to address the right things in a timely way: usually important things, some of which are urgent. No technology. No complexity. No distraction.
I’m starting to see real benefits in adopting StrikeThru, having used it for a fortnight. And so I’m trying to convert the daily practice into a habit, which will take roughly 2–3 more weeks. Which I hope will make my life just a little bit more perfect and let me focus on the things I love most in the world.
How do you form good habits that stick? If you’ve found a way that works then please share below.
And if you already live that totally perfect life, what on earth are you doing reading this? Shouldn’t you be reading the kids their favourite bedtime story?