One of the year-end challenges that I participated involved creating an ideal day and do my best to live it out. Turns out it’s so much harder to stick with it if you’re super ambitious and have conquering the world and making everyone happy part of your plan. So, I did what appeared to be a logical next step — tone down the enthusiasm.
And it worked. Well, almost. As with most things “ideal,” we have a tendency to stuff a lot in as if it’s the end of the world. While I know it’s completely normal, what’s not normal is letting the day and other people’s priorities run your life than the other way around. That was one of my biggest challenges last year despite that I usually am quite disciplined with my schedule and routines.
Upon deep reflection, I realised that I basically suck at saying “no” to things in general, which leads me to react and derail myself from my schedule. The best viable alternative that I’ve found is to schedule these unscheduled/impromptu incidences in your day like the one Chet Holmes often suggested — “block out 1 to 2 pm (or any other hour in your work day) to have “got-a-minute” meetings.” And let me tell you, besides offending your friends, colleagues and family members, it works like a charm.
If the above sounds like I’m suggesting you to prioritise getting your work done over relationships, that will be correct. I am. They’re not going to do the work for you anyway. That said, I’m not asking you to ignore them after your work hours either. The plan is to work the plan and not let the plan work you.
We need to understand and accept that any moron can come up with the perfect plan. Following it is what personal leadership and productivity all about. Everything else is just distraction, which you should ruthlessly eliminate. And since your ideal day would strive for balance, if you stay focused enough you will achieve it.
All this will take a lot of doing on your part. Yes, it will be difficult but remember that the ultimate objective of all “ideal days” is to convert them into normal days. Despite that you can’t really avoid work, there’s more to life than work.