I had a really “productive” day yesterday. I’ve been doing this thing where I write out the night before exactly what my priorities are for the next day. Sometimes I even allocated time slots for each task in my diary.
It’s a practice I used to do routinely when I was still working in my full time job and growing my coaching business at the same time.
It was clear to me that in order for anything to get done (instead of me freezing in overwhelm), I’d need to identify the core priorities and stick with just those things.
When we focus on what matters most we actually get the most done too.
Every day before I’d leave the office I’d write out two lists, each with “the three most important things for me to get done today” on them. One for my job. One for me – which at that time was specifically for my business.
It felt like a huge relief to commit to just three things. Everything else faded away and things felt manageable. Anything I did beyond those three things was a bonus.
And, a pretty magical thing started to happen. I felt calm, directed, and energised. Despite having an incredibly “full” schedule, I was full of energy every day.
And, the results started to show too. The project I was working on in my day job was having more success than ever before. Plus my business felt joyful and like I was putting in place big puzzle pieces.
I also managed to “fit in” things like travel, downtime on the couch with my partner and yoga classes and walking.
My schedule was full but I didn’t feel “busy”.
Because everything I was doing in my life was intentional. I’d chosen it.
And that’s the distinction between letting the busyness of life lead you into overwhelm, or, choosing how you want it to feel.
I didn’t “have to” do any of the things I was doing. Staying in full time work whilst growing a business was my choice. Doing my coaching training with an overseas institute meaning I had odd hours to fit in webinars, was my choice.
Wanting to still go to yoga and have fun on the weekends with my partner – all my choice.
There’s a certain sense of power and control that comes back when you realise that everything you’re doing in your life is actually really your choice.
It doesn’t mean there won’t be times when things feel out of control. Or that you have an “off day” (after all, we’re all human and need those off days). But, it does mean that you always have a baseline of certainty to come back to. In knowing that you get to create your experience how you want it to be.
And, one of the tools that really supported me to feel that sense of calm, directed focus daily was really as simple as writing down my “top three things” each day.
As life is cyclical, so too are the tools that work really well for us in certain stages and phases of what we’re creating. For one reason or another I’d not been using this same practice recently.
And with the year-end pressure pot starting to bubble away I realised I needed something to restore my sense of calm. To remind me that actually I’m always in control of how I choose to feel.
So, it brings me right back to where this all started.
I had a really “productive” day yesterday. One that felt to me like I’d been focused, calm, energised. And I’d completed tasks that I’d identified as things that really mattered.
And all because I’d returned to a tool that worked so well for me in a different season of my life. I’d polished it up. Tweaked it. Given it a mini upgrade. And started to use it again in a way that felt in sync with what I most needed right now.
As the remaining weeks of the year pull you forward what could you do to return to your own sense of calm? What tools have worked really well for you in the past that could re-emerge to support you at this time?