Here is a quick introductory note from April:
When I was growing up, there were blueprints all over our family room. My dad was an architect, and I actually started editing specs with my sister when we were under the age of 10 (we got 10 cents for every punctuation or spelling error we found).
And anyone who has ever built a home–or walked through a construction zone–or seen something getting built knows it’s not easy. It takes time, money, careful planning, and a lot of work.
So why don’t we all just live and work in tents?
It’s because when we build ‘structure’ into our lives, it gives us protection, comfort, and the freedom to live a life that wouldn’t be possible if we were exposed to the elements.
It’s the exact same thing with mental structure.
The other day, someone in our Facebook group asked if all the structure we are creating with lists, calendars, and project plans makes life too ‘micromanagey’?
I get it. It takes some effort to maintain Inbox Zero, work from a super simple Current Projects List, establish solid routines, and keep clutter out of our lives.
But that structure gives us freedom.
Of course we can each adapt our methods to meet our unique needs, but if you think “flying by the seat of your pants” is the easiest way to go, I beg to differ….
So what do you do when it’s hard?
Have you ever started your day with great plans–and then gotten frustrated or defeated when your plans deteriorated because of situations beyond your control? We, the LearnDoBecome Team, have gathered four ideas from our team members and community to help you out!
1. Give Yourself Grace
This might seem like a “fluffy” way to begin, but honestly–when we are falling short of our expectations, it is important to give ourselves grace. It sounds counter-intuitive, but making a renewed effort to take care of ourselves is essential to keeping us out of “meltdown mode.”
Self care can take a lot of forms:
- Eating nutritiously
- Taking a nap
- Positive affirmations
- And more… April has a Stabilizing Mechanism she uses daily, if you haven’t seen it yet.
Whatever form your self care takes, please don’t make this just another list of “shoulds.” The key piece to using self care to give yourself grace is choosing to focus on activities that help you feel these truths:
I am important.
I am enough.
I am human. But in spite of my faults, I choose to have compassion for myself–right where I am.
If you are struggling to acknowledge these truths, perhaps you have some limiting beliefs that are holding you back. This year April shared an exercise that helped her identify some concrete mindset shifts to help her get “unstuck” – check it out here!
2. Let Routines Help You–Not Discourage You
Now if you are new to routines, we have some excellent resources to help you get started:
- [VIDEO]: Streamline Your Routines in Asana
- [VIDEO]: Clean Laundry and a Stocked Fridge: Our Family’s Routines
- Run Solid Routines on Autopilot
Maybe you already have a routines list, and feel overwhelmed by your routines, because you can never finish it all. Or all your time is spent on routines and you never get to your important projects and goals!
In our recent STEP Boot Camp, April talked about the importance of having a “multiple choice perfect day.” Our routines won’t all happen every day. In most of our ideal routines lists, doing all the routines would probably take 40 hours each day.
Instead, identify which of those routines are most important–a small list that you can definitely knock out of the park every day. These are just the basics, what you need to do to keep life moving forward each day. Work on this small list, making sure you have everything you need to do these basic routines.
If you find you’re neglecting something important, make that one thing your priority for the week or delegate it to someone else.
Once you have these basic routines on autopilot, you can take a step back and look at your values, what you want your life to look like in 10 years, and slowly add routines that fit that vision.
Our LearnDoBecome team member, Danielle, said, “I think routines help us maintain and do the things that matter to us most…but we are not slaves to the routines and we are not answering to the routine list. I have learned a lot about this (the hard way) and one of my favorite things now is to consider A, B, and even C days, where I have different flows for each day, aiming for the things that matter most.”
3. Choose ONE Thing
In our fast-paced lives, it is too easy to overcommit ourselves. Eric likes to call his next actions list a “choice list.” We look at all the opportunities and choices–and want to do it all today. Or feel like we need to finish it all today.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, consider choosing one main thing to focus on for your day. Ask yourself:
What is something only I can do?
What one thing could I do that would give my life better flow?
What is my biggest problem?
Eliminate non-essentials by deleting, deferring and delegating as much as possible.
4. Focus on What You’ve Accomplished
Finally, take some time to celebrate your unplanned successes. These aren’t glamorous accomplishments–just the simple everyday moments that you are grateful for. Things like:
- Listened to a child, friend, spouse, or team member without interrupting
- Stayed up past my goal bedtime to chat with a family member who needed some extra care
- Said a prayer for a stranger
- Actually looked at my food before I ate it (and took time to enjoy it)
- Listened to my favorite playlist
- Walked the dog and enjoyed nature
Take a few minutes each evening for this, and you’ll feel more joy, gratitude and clarity.
Click here to read Danielle’s post that explains how to use this powerful list – or click on the image below to get your own “Happy Success List” template and start right away!
We believe in you. We know that you are worthy of grace. We encourage you to streamline and narrow your focus to the things that are essential. And take some time to celebrate the things that didn’t make your to-do list–but are just as important to strengthening relationships and becoming the person you want to be.
Life is bound to get in the way from time to time, make you feel like you are failing, but there is truly power in having a community to remind each other what is possible. And there is power from above available to help each of us.
Pick just one of these tools to focus on as you make your plans for this week:
- Give yourself grace by intentionally setting aside time for self care.
- Let your routines this week help you by identifying your basic routines and working on just that list.
- Choose one main thing to focus on today.
- Write out your own “Happy Success” list, so you can celebrate the things you’ve accomplished.
Have you used one of the tools here–or another tool–to help you combat frustration and failure? We’d love to hear your experience in the comments below!
Thank you for joining us, as we architect our lives of excellence, strengthen our families, and lean into our goals together.
Come join us!
If you are interested in learning four simple steps to help you stop drowning in piles and gain mental clarity, we now have an on-demand version of our free class that introduces our Steps to Everyday Productivity program! We would love to have you join us!