Reset and Hope
One of the reassuring feelings that a majority of people experience at the beginning of the year is a feeling of a fresh start. Whether we were experiencing success or failure in the previous year, a new year has a way of making us feel like it’s time to hit the reset button. If successful in the previous year, we make goals to go to the next level. And if we were failing, which even the successful people experience in one area or another, we come up with plans to do things differently. With the reset button in front of us, we are filled with fresh hope. We believe that things will be better and that we will experience more success in our endeavors. If you’re like me, you buy an annual calendar that will help you get things done. But some sense of despair moves in when you start writing your goals for the new year. Your new goals remind you of the many unaccomplished goals from the previous year. You might wonder will I have enough time this year around to be successful in my goals!
Not Enough Time!
How often do you wish you had more time to accomplish your goals? “I don’t have enough time!” has become a common statement even among young people. It’s as though our days no longer have 24 hours. What’s still true is that both the productive-successful people and the busy-unproductive have the same amount of time per day to achieve their goals. With that backdrop of truth, we must ask ourselves, what are the habits that will enable us to be effective with our time, especially as we begin a new year?
In today’s post, I will remind you of three habits that you’re able to possess that will help you maximize your time. Then, in the next blog post, we will look at habits that will help you maximize your energy. For now, let’s begin with habits that maximize our time.
The nature of your environment is a major determining factor on how effective you use your time. A well-organized environment translates to better use of time, while unorganized environment means the opposite; time is wasted. As I mentioned in a previous blog, effective use of time and productivity are linked by staying organized. Decluttering is the process of keeping our environment free from unwanted stuff. This habit of removing unnecessary things from your environment, is the first habit that will allow you to be effective with your time.
There are three environments that directly and daily dictate how our time is consumed. They are, the mind, daily working space, and our relationships. These environments must be decluttered for us to be successful. First, we declutter our minds by determining the thoughts we allow in our mind. Not every thought that enters your mind should be allowed to settle in. Every thought that comes to you must be judged right. Determine its origins and access its profitability. Second, we declutter our relationships by being intentional about who we welcome in our lives. The great single-handed influence in your environment is the people in your life. Your relationships determine how you spend your time. When we surround ourselves with toxic relationships, we spend our time doing things that are toxic. But when we are surrounded with positive and healthy relationships, we do things that are productive and healthy. So, we declutter in the area of relationships by moving away from unhealthy and unproductive relationships. Third, we declutter our working spaces. In the digital world we live in, we find ourselves working more on digital space than before. This has created a need for us to learn how declutter that world. Like traditional working space, I have discovered decluttering digitally is very similar to how we clear our physical workspace. Getting rid of subscriptions, closing unnecessary webpage, and maintaining ….is the best way to stay. In a nutshell
Decluttering is a powerful habit that enables us to be successful in the few things that are important to us. Its power is well summed up by Joshua Becker, the author of The More of Less, in his quote, “The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.” But you can’t get rid of what you don’t want unless you are okay with saying no!
2. Being okay with saying No!
I love serving others. My goal in life is to add value to as many people as I can. So, over the years I found myself being a yes man. But closer observation leads me to discover that despite having all the good desire to serve others, if I didn’t learn how to say no then I would experience burnout. Which is the biggest threat to anyone who serves others. But on observing people who are successful, learning from the stories, I realize that learning to saying no is critical to being successful in their purpose.
Saying no in a way that enables you to serve others without being selfish begins with knowing your purpose, commitments and your boundaries. When you know your purpose, it’s easier to say no to things that aren’t connected to your values. When you know what you’re committed to then saying no to things that distract you from your goals become a no brainer. And when you know where your boundaries are, it’s saying no that helps you remain within those boundaries, in an area where you perform at your level best.
But the best benefit to learning how to say no in life is that it allows us to develop the third habit of success, which is living by priority.
3. Living by priority
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Johann Wolfgang. While decluttering helps you eliminate the unimportant things in life and saying no helps you protect them, living by priority allows you to place the important things front and center and act on them first. It prevents us from falling victims to what the American prolific Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People waned, “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
To live by priority calls for us to us to have three things. First, we must have a sense of definiteness of purpose. This allows to go through life living and standing for something, preventing us from drifting through life. Definiteness of purpose as the late Businessman and philanthropist William Clement Stone said, “…is the starting point of all achievement.” Second, is a sense of direction. Often many people waste a lot of time in a state of stagnation because they don’t know which direction, they ought to move in. The key of having a sense of direction in life is not knowing the whole journey but rather knowing and taking the immediate right move to make accomplish your purpose. Zig Ziglar well identified the gap between time and direction when he stated, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four-hour days.“ Third, to live by priority we need possess a sense of urgency. I will be the first person to admit that when we lack a sense of urgency, we run the risk of experiencing anxiety when deadlines approach. It’s a sense of urgency that protects us from the law of diminishing intent, which states, the longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it. Jim Rohn was right on when said, “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.”
In summary, while setting out to accomplish your vision and goals, remember that it’s by decluttering your life, saying no to the unimportant things that appear as urgent, and living by priority that will allow you to maximize your time on what really matters. You will be productive at work, find more time to spend with your family, and experience growth in your personal life.
I would like to leave you with this thought, “it is never too late to create time to do what’s important.” This thought has empowered me to get back to doing the things that matter when I get derailed. In a world that’s full of things that can distract us, the question is not if we will be distracted but rather, are we going to have time to do matters amid things that compete for our time. Next, we will look at habits that help us maximize our energy.