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Trapped by Life?

Do you feel trapped by your life?  Do you sense you are a product of the times finding it difficult to recognize your true self amidst the noise and stimulation of traffic, emails, work deadlines, and family?

Dan Pink acknowledges that we have left the Industrial Age and Entered a Conceptual Age.  What if instead we are entering a dark age?  The economy, the workplace, the political stage, your current state of mind all take its toll on your sense of self.

Do you have a minute to breathe or a few minutes each day to focus on yourself? Maggie Jackson discusses that the Erosion of Attention is heralding this new period in our civilization.

At the TED conference, Barry Schwartz discusses why too much choice is bad for us.
Too many choices cause:
1. Paralysis rather than liberation – people prefer to make no decision rather than make a complicated choice.
2. Less satisfaction with decisions as people have greater reason to regret the decisions they have made.
3. Unrealistic expectations.
4. Self-blame – when experiences are not perfect, people blame themselves.

Is it time to conduct an audit of your life?
A very wise manager once told me that every individual has a check for 24 hours and it is up to him or her how to choose to use it. Now, as you know, that is not necessarily true. We are all bound to our previous commitments. Yes, our commitment to our families and ourselves to maintain certain lifestyles. Have your true priorities been washed away by the current tides?

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has been researching the subject of being in flow for many years.

He defines flow as the process of achieving happiness through control over one’s inner life.
When you are in flow, you are focused on your highest priorities and life becomes easy and effortless. You are leveraging your natural self.

Using the 80/20 Principle, 20% of your critical priorities will yield 80% of your results. The question is how to identify your highest priorities? If you haven’t developed a personal strategic plan, it will be challenging to start this process. To make this easy, let’s first remember it’s not about managing your time, but your energy levels. Begin by answering the next few questions:
When is my peak time of day?  Morning, afternoon, or evening?  Or somewhere in-between?

Am I using my peak times to focus on activities that are most important to me?

Do I know how much true discretionary time I have in a week?

To get you started, let’s look at a typical week: 24 hours x 7 days = 168 hours.
To calculate how much actual discretionary time you actually have in 1 week:
1. Total the number of hours you are actually at work, include your commute time, and work you bring home.
2. Tally the average number of hours you sleep, notice if there are any differences on the weekends, to get your subtotal for the week.
3. Estimate the time you take to eat each day, include meal preparation, grocery shopping, restaurant dining, notice if there are any changes on weekends, to estimate time spent in 1 week.
4. Identify your scheduled and weekly time commitments to other activities, including, but not limited to working out, trips to the gym, church attendance, regular weekly family obligations (does not include relaxation or ad hoc activities – only routine scheduled activities are recorded here)
5. Now, subtotal your hours for the week and subtract from 168 hours. This is your total discretionary time available each week. Any surprises? Yes, you didn’t factor in rest and relaxation. But how many hours of each day do you actually squander or do they just escape in mindless activities that do not move you forward on your goals?

One Quick Tip:
– 1% of your time is 1.68 hours. Let’s round up to 2 hours a week or about 15 minutes per day.
– This coming week, try scheduling 15-minute appointments each day to focus on yourself and your highest priorities.

Are you ready to take this first step? Try it and see.

If you would like a more detailed audit of your life, try a free coaching consultation with Wanda Ropa, your success coach to get you started. Coaching can help you get clear about where you’re going with your career, or with your life so you can develop a strategic plan that really works for you.  With clarity, success becomes a natural outcome.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

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