I’ve been drawing on two concepts pretty heavily recently. The first is around productivity and, of course, it was sparked by my current guru, Brooke Castillo. She is all about managing the mind.
When it comes to time management she recommends scheduling the work you want to do and counting on your brain to try and talk you out of it when the time comes.
Want to clean your house on Saturday morning? You can count on your brain trying to convince you to stay in bed. Planning on a Pilates class after work? A glass at the new wine bar with coworkers sounds better. Want to write a blog post Sunday night? You deserve some ice cream and Netflix instead.
The other concept is around finding alignment, which is featuring heavily in Jess Lively’s work at the moment. When I have some free time during the day, I ask ‘what will get me into alignment?’ This pretty much equates to what feels best for me or what will bring me the most ease.
My mind used to lead me to spend that free time tidying up the house, paying bills or doing something equivalently un-fun, but now I tune in to what really sounds best, not what I ‘should’ be doing.
That currently looks like having a shower and putting a face mask on, going out for brunch or, my favourite, taking a nap. Rather than shoulding all over the place, I do what I really want to do.
So how do I marry these two seemingly different concepts up?
Honour thy calendar
Productivity is still important to me and getting things done can also put me in alignment. I just don’t want to run myself into the ground with my to do list.
So I schedule in my appointments, book time to write blog posts and block out time for exercise. When the time comes I know my brain will try and talk me out of it but I go ahead anyway, knowing that I’ve also set aside time to relax.
Set aside time for alignment
Leaving lots of space in my calendar to find alignment makes the productive times more easy to follow through on. Yes, there will always be dishes to do but when the free time comes, I don’t default to strapping on the rubber gloves.
I ask myself what feels best and go with it. And (shock) sometimes tidying the kitchen does feel like alignment - if so, I go with that too.
Regularly review your to do list
I keep a running to do list in the Notes app of my phone and I’m sure you all have different apps and planners and systems for tracking your lists.
A few times a week I look at my list and ask if the items are important to me anymore and actually need to be done.
More often than not I can cull a few items from the list - either because they’ve been there forever or because I’m mandating that I need to do them when I can actually let them go. Try it!
Does your brain try and talk you out of what you said you’d do?
And, when you have the space, do you ever ask it what feels best for you in that moment?