5 Tips on How to Fill Your Day with Things You Love Doing
Have you ever noticed that feeling of anxiousness that creeps in when you have too much to do in your day and you are impatient with all the things on your list that you think you have to get done before you get to the things you really want to do?
I see it my kids when they have chores to do before being allowed to go out with their friends. I see it in my clients who get frustrated with the process of beefing up their resume and updating their LinkedIn profile when all they really want to do is land that interview!
I see it in myself when I make myself take care of the (for me) boring work before I allow myself to get to the good stuff of creating new content and working directly with my clients.
What if we kicked all those time management gurus out to lunch with one big overhaul of our time-strapped days? What if we did something totally radical?
What if…we only filled our days with things we liked??
Dishes begone! Pay bills? Never! Long, boring, pointless meetings? – I’m NOT attending!
In my last blog post I shared my six top tips on building a life where you actually have time for everything. This week I’m going to explore action #1 from that list: Only Do Things You Like.
I know. It sounds bogus and ridiculous to think we can only fill our days with things we enjoy doing. I get that. AND, what can we do to put more of those things into our days and ditch the things we don’t like?
What if you consciously decided to do more things you enjoy and delegate or not do, the things you don’t? What’s the worst thing that could happen?How can we spend more time on things we like and less on things we don't?Click To Tweet
Let’s give this a try:
- Get present with yourself
Notice where you are anxious and what you are really wanting to do instead of what you are actually doing.
We all do it. We rarely “eat dessert first” as one of my colleagues calls it, and we make ourselves do the boring, dry work first so that we can get to what we really want to do.
Why do we so frequently choose to spend our time doing things we don’t enjoy? For example, in my business, when I noticed that I am really more alive when I am interacting with people or writing new content, I consciously decided to hire a virtual assistant to complete the more admin-heavy tasks, and hire an accountant to do my taxes. Just because I know how to do all those things doesn’t mean I should.
What would it take for you to “eat dessert first” more often in your daily life and work?
- Do you have to do that thing yourself?
Now that you have noticed what tasks make you impatient or give you anxiety, is it something that you have to do yourself? Or can you give it to someone else to do? Can you hire it out, delegate it, or – even put it off? Yes, I said procrastinate. Not everything needs to be done right now. Where can you procrastinate more in your life and in your work? What will go away if it’s never done? And if does need to be done, what can you give to someone else to do?
Oftentimes we feel we must do these tasks ourselves, but when we learn how to manage the tasks without spending our personal energy on it, we feel a great freedom – while the task still gets done.
When I finally bit the bullet and invested in hiring someone else to do jobs I didn’t enjoy, not only was I investing in my business, I was also investing in my personal happiness. This is money well spent in my book!
- Do you have to do that thing at all?
Here’s a radical idea. Do you even have to do it at all? What would happen if you never did it? What would happen if you just told yourself you were never doing it? Wow! How freeing would that be? Let’s take it off the list altogether!
Frankly, there are a few things I have done this with in my life and I haven’t looked back. For example, I am one of those people who thought it wasn’t special unless it was home made. Call it my upbringing, but try being someone who likes to host dinner parties, and holiday gatherings with all the trimmings and feeling like I needed to make everything myself?
I am still working on this, but there are a few things that have now disappeared off my list. Holiday baking? I know some great bakeries in town who will do that for me. Handmade… anything? Unless I enjoy making it I’m, well, not.
- Minimize the things you don’t want to do
Working for myself I have a number of mind games I play to compartmentalize my work time and my personal time so it doesn’t become one big blur. One of them is to put aside a bit of time at the end of my Friday afternoons to wrap up my week so I can enter my weekend with a renewed focus on my family and on my personal life so I can more fully enjoy them (and me!).
This past Friday my 11-year-old daughter was looking over my shoulder as I reviewed an invitation I had from someone to attend a function. I looked at the invite – sighed – and shared with her that I didn’t really want to go but that I was going to go anyway. So I responded kindly to the invitation and then I wanted to file the invitation somewhere so I didn’t forget about it. What should I do with this now? I mused out loud. My daughter, who enjoys watching how I organize things, quipped “You should have a file for things you don’t want to do!”
I laughed out loud. But how brilliant is that? A whole file for things I didn’t want to do but thought I “should” do anyway.
Which got me to thinking. How big would that file be if I actually did have a file for things I didn’t want to do but thought I should do anyway?
How big would yours be?
- Create a values-based time log
This past week when working with a time-strapped client, we came up with the idea of creating a time log and tying every one of her activities with one of her values. If it didn’t align with one of her values, the next step will be to find a way to get it off her list.
The more you live a values-based life, the more you will find your days are filled with things you love to do, and it won’t feel quite so much like life is passing you by.
Fill your life with things you love to do! And watch your impatience for the things you don’t love, melt away.
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