Have you ever wished that you could extend a day beyond 24 hours? What about just not requiring sleep? So, is it possible to do everything you want to do? The short answer is “no”. But you can help yourself by using a technique that will enable you to fulfill many of your goals and determine the ones that matter most to you. The technique is called L.I.F.E: List (brainstorm), Imagine (visualize), Filter (evaluate), and Execute (do!).
My challenge to you is to find out what you really want to do and find ways to do it, using organization, undisrupted thought, and a results-oriented approach. If you can discipline yourself to using this approach on a routine basis, you will start to feel more fulfilled and achieve balance in your life.
So how can you prioritize what is most important for you, your children, and your family? Start by setting aside some time to think, without being disturbed. This first part is actually a test, to see if you can even find 45 minutes to devote to yourself. If you pass the first part of the test, you’re already on your way to truly finding balance.
Now that you are in a meeting with the Key Decision Maker (i.e., yourself), it is time to strategically prioritize your life. By prioritizing, you are improving not just your day-to-day routine, but the lives of those around you. Start simple. List all of things on your plate or on your wish list, big and small. Write down the things you want to do, have to do, and never expect to be able to do (for whatever reason – time, cost, etc.). Will you be able to do it all? If you can defer some things, you can eventually do most of the things on your list, just not today. Prioritizing is as simple as following the steps below:
- List. Brainstorm items/things that are on your mind. Jot them down on paper so you can see them in front of you, and include a verb (action) at the beginning of each item. Go ahead and list everything you can or have been thinking about for a long time.
- Imagine. Visualize all of your listed items as pictures. This visualization step enables you to form a tangible or concrete image of your items, which will ultimately help you sort through what is truly meaningful for you and help you determine when/how you can accomplish it.
- Filter. Evaluate so you can sort your list by writing down details such as cost, level of effort, impact, availability, frequency, duration, and any other information that will help you prioritize. Once you have all the details in front of you, for each item, you can better see how to prioritize them.
- Execute. Number the items one, two, and three. Use the number one for those you will implement right away. Use the number two for things you will do in the next month. Use the number three for things you will need to defer and re-evaluate after some items have dropped off or you have significant changes in your life. You will have multiple items for each number.
Below is an example of prioritizing using the L.I.F.E. technique:
|Step 1: List (Brainstorm)||Step 2: Imagine (Visualize)||Step 3. Filter (Evaluate)||Step 4: Execute, using 1-2-3(Do)|
|Learn Yoga||See myself sitting cross-legged on a mat.||Classes offered through the park district. Very inexpensive. Can do it at lunch time, once a week, for 45 minutes. Include 20 minutes driving time/locker room time.||1.Sign-up for the Wednesday 12:00 yoga class. Start next week!|
|Get my professional license/certification||See a framed diploma on my wall.||Very costly and only offered in distant locations.||3.Defer for now. Re-evaluate in six months.|
|Organize my pictures||See a set of five photo albums on my shelf.||Minimal cost. Time consuming. Can do it in chunks of 30 minutes.||2.Start in one month, after schedule becomes “normalized” doing yoga classes and email organization (one personal and one business item).|
|Clean out my email inbox||See this when I log in to my computer: Inbox (0).||Ongoing activity, no cost. If I can devote 30 min. twice a week, I can dwindle down the list to zero by:
While I am organizing, I’m also teaching myself how to do this automatically in the future.
|1.Schedule two, 30-minute time blocks in my calendar, at the end of the day. The time required should decrease each week, as I have taught myself how to organize and file items when they come in to my inbox.|
Use the L.I.F.E. technique on a routine basis. Priorities change when you complete those items that are finite or change based on circumstances and other environmental conditions. However, knowing that you have a solid, results-oriented approach for setting your priorities will enable you to achieve balance and fulfillment in your life. Remember that you can’t do it all right now.
By Jami L. Tucker, MBA. Jami Tucker is the founder of The Everyday Leader, a Life Coaching service. You can contact her at 925-998-7838 or jami@TheEverydayLeader.com
Please visit her website at www.TheEverydayLeader.com