Like many people, I sometimes end the day feeling that I didn’t make good use of my time that day—that I got some necessary little stuff done, but that I didn’t chip away at the initiative that’s most important to me. Or that I did make progress on the big thing, but the quality of my work wasn’t what I’d like.
In case you’re in the same boat, I wanted to pass along an easy tip from Dr. Isaiah Hankel, author of The Science of Intelligent Achievement: How Smart People Focus, Create, and Grow Their Way to Success.
Our energy levels fluctuate throughout the day. To ensure that your expenditure of energy is aligned with your values, you need to know two things. First, your values (Contact me if you need help discovering them). And second, you need to know when your energy is high and when it’s low. Dr. Hankel suggests that you set an alarm for once an hour and simply rate your energy level at that time on a scale of one to 10. Do this for three days to see your natural energy pattern. And then rearrange your day so you’re doing your most important work during your high energy time.
For instance, if your high energy time is spent in meetings, block off your calendar so you’re doing creative work during that time instead and have meetings at another time. During periods of lower energy, you can do less important things–answering emails or organizing your papers, for instance. Low energy times may be the best time for exercise because it’ll give you a boost that’ll help you keep going at a higher level for a few more hours.
I’m interested to hear how monitoring your energy level and rearranging your schedule to get the most out of those high energy times works for you.
Read more about natural cycles.
Imagine that you’ve been given one day each week — a full 24 hours — to do what you please. What would you do with it?
Would you learn the skills you need in order to move into a satisfying career? Take up a hobby you’ve said you’d get around to “someday?” Spend more time with friends and family?
Creating Windows of Opportunity
The time is there–it’s just a matter of using it differently. According to the 2017 Digital Future Report’s survey, Surveying the Digital Future, Americans spend an average of 23.6 hours online each week. This is double the 9.5 hours each week reported in 2000.
There are a lot of necessary and worthwhile uses of technology for sure. Maybe being a part of a Facebook group gives you a sense of support and social connectedness, so you consider your time in the group well spent. But if, like many of us, you feel like your life isn’t where you want it to be and that you’re always too busy, maybe you can see some part of this 24 hours as a gift of time, and a chance to make some changes that will help you move your life from O.K. to fabulous.
Getting there needn’t be as difficult as it may seem. But it does take some pre-planning and small, consistent steps in order to reach your goal.
Four Steps to Creating Your Dream Life
- Decide what you want. What’s most important to you? What do you want to accomplish? Is there a passion you’re dying to pursue?
- Figure out a path. What do you need to do to get yourself there?
- Break it down. List the individual steps involved in getting you from where you are now to where you want to be. Make sure each step is small enough so that it can’t be broken down futher.For instance, if you’re want to write a book, “find an agent” isn’t a task. You’d need to break it down further, so perhaps the tasks relating to finding an agent are researching agents for similar books to yours, reading The Writer’s Market to learn which agents specialize in the type of book you’re writing, and pitching five agents per week.
- Plan it and do it. Write down the individual steps as tasks in your calendar, being realistic about how long each task will take to accomplish. Completing each task moves you that much closer to your goal.
Life is so damn short. But spending your time consciously enables you to bend time a little and start to use your energy to create something spectacular.
Read more inspiration for creating your future.