Expectations—Learning about Less Part 5

“All You Need Is Less” is my mantra of the year.

You’ve done the soul searching. You’ve asked yourself, and answered the hard questions without judging.  You’ve cleared the air.  You’re ready to make changes.  It’s time to create Less of a Schedule.

Let’s say I go to the laundry mat Saturday mornings, and do my grocery shopping. I also meditate for 30 minutes and work out at the club for an hour.  Next Saturday I need to be home by noon to have time with family from out of town.  I know these things:

Health and family are most important to me. But so are the chores.  I need clean clothes.  I need food.  I need family time.  I need gym and meditation time.  I want to get all 5 things done.

That said, I also know this:

  • It will take 25 minutes to load the car, get to the laundry mat and unload
  • It will take 30 minutes for the wash cycle
  • It will take 40 minutes for the dry cycle
  • It will take 40 minutes to fold, load, get home and put clothes away
  • It will take 15 minutes to get to the store
  • It will take 30 minutes to shop
  • It will take 30 minutes to get home and put food away
  • And then factor in 15 minutes of “this isn’t going so smoothly” time, just in case. This amounts to basically 5 hours of time.

Do you have this much clarity about your time?

As much as we’d like to resist looking at it this way, all of those things I want to do take a real number of minutes that can be quantified.  Few people want to be tied to the idea of that.  Who wants to live by a stopwatch?  Time can seem to be this intangible, invisible thing that simply happens. “Oh, I’ve got time.” And then you don’t.   “I’ll get it done, I’m not going to commit to some schedule!”   But the truth is, not being consciously aware of how long it takes to get any given thing accomplished on the front end, really does present the opportunity for a failing on the back end.  If you have trouble saying no, doing too much, procrastinating, or not getting things done, perhaps you have no awareness of time.

Combining a lack of awareness about time with an over-extended life, is the perfect set up for chronic failure. The foundation of succeeding with Less of a Schedule is in being acutely aware of time, and consciously choosing what you want to do with it.

Without anticipating any distractions, I will have to start my day at 6:15 to keep my commitment with the family. If I wake up at 7:00, make some coffee, start thinking about the laundry, the groceries and the park and then decide “I’d better get started on this stuff” at 9:00………….. good luck!  I’ve just created the perfect storm, and will fail to achieve one or more of my plans for the day.  On the other hand, if I know exactly what I need to do and how long it will all take, I now have the ability to manage my time—perhaps plan in advance—to make sure I can get everything done that I choose to.

What if my colleague “Fred” approaches me Thursday and asks me to work on a new project with him Saturday?

“Sorry Fred, I’m booked. How bout we find time next week?”

What if the neighbor is walking by and waving to me as I’m heading to the car Saturday morning?

With a big smile I say “HI! Great morning! Have a good one!” and keep going.

What if I pass by the sporting goods store and there’s a “HUGE CLOSEOUT SALE” sign in the window?

Argh! Heavy sigh!  Just say no!  Keep on going!  Stay strong and keep going!  I’ve got plans!

Now of course you could always head out the door at 5:00 and give yourself an hour to play with. WHAT?  On a Saturday??? Not this girl!)….that’s the beauty of creating Less of a Schedule.  It’s entirely up to you how you want to manage your time.

Diligence.  Motivation.  Focus.  Will Power.  Accountability.

Oh my goodness this is just too much micro-time-management!!!

Let’s be clear. Creating Less of a Schedule isn’t a penned in blood, do or die inflexible commitment. It’s a planner.  It’s a tool to stay focused.  It’s a guide to follow.  It can be as big or small, detailed or broad based, full or empty as you want.  It’s a personal choice, used to follow through with taking care what is most important to you. And that brings us back to Less of a Schedule.

11 great reasons to use Less of a Schedule:

  1. To have a visual outline to help you decide what you want to make time for.
  2. To train yourself to be present with time and commitment.
  3. To stay on task when you’ve got a lot on your plate.
  4. To help you pay attention to what you’ve actually agreed to.
  5. To manage your time and not over extend.
  6. To help you set limits for yourself.
  7. For motivation to get more stuff done.
  8. For motivation to get less stuff done.
  9. Because when you put it all down on paper, it becomes real.
  10. To give yourself something to hold yourself accountable to.
  11. To simply remember it all.

When I was struggling with being home and physically broken—unable to do practically anything, I had plenty of time on my hands to reflect on the state of my whole existence. It became easy to see who was there, and who wasn’t.  It became clear what deserved my time and what didn’t.  It became obvious I needed inspiration.  I knew I needed to take steps – even if they were small steps–to stop carrying the whole load and feeling guilt when I couldn’t.

So here’s how I created my Less of a Schedule:

First I sat down and considered what I need for me and me alone to keep me happy with my world. It looked something like this:

Family, friends, being with my animals, yoga, meditation, working out, going out, earning a living, cooking, outdoors, hunting, fishing, gardening, watching paint dry, contemplating the meaning of life, and so on.

Considering all that was just too much to think about initially.  I knew that I was clearly not making enough time for those things and I should build all that into my schedule right off the top as  non-negotiable unless I choose to forgo any piece of that time. But it was too daunting at first.

Beginning with micro small steps, my Less of a Schedule was simply this:

Later, I was able to sort through my happy list and get it figured out.  Then I looked the things I “should” do. That’s where it got interesting.

What should we do?

For starters, you shouldn’t “should” yourself. You should, however, tune in next time for the last steps to creating Less of a Schedule!

 

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!  

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