It’s inspiring to witness those who are relentless in their pursuit of excellence. They focus on putting THEIR priorities first. In a world full of many demands, it’s easy to get sidetracked and delay aspirations in support of others. While working with professionals who were looking to update their resume, a startling pattern became evident to me. More than half of the time, these individuals would reach out and then cancel or postpone their sessions because they just couldn’t find the time.
A critical step in taking care of yourself is blocking the time to do so. This means prioritizing and setting up the necessary boundaries to give as much time to yourself as you would to someone else. Your boundaries can be physical and tangible, or they can be emotional and intangible. They’re basically the limits you set in relationship to someone or something.
For all of you looking to advance yourselves, the time is now. Put yourself first and the rest will unfold as it should. You’ll be amazed how quickly people adapt and respect your shift in priorities. For example, I used to be someone who was reachable at any time. However, I shifted my priorities and made it clear to those that I care about and work with when I’d be available. During that availability you can count on me to deliver as promised, but I was no longer available 24/7/365. For example, my sister would say, “I was going to call you last night, but I realized you probably went to sleep already” and I would reply, “You’re absolutely right, but now is a perfect time to chat.”
You may be saying to yourself, “I don’t even have the time to think about this!” Well then you must give yourself five more minutes to review these tips to put into practice now:
Block out time for you. Set the intention the evening before to wake up refreshed with all the time you need to accomplish your goals. Go to your calendar right now and begin blocking out time for yourself daily. I invite myself to meetings. This way if you are working with others, your calendar will be blocked at that given time. If you work in an open office or in a non-computer setting, you can let those that need to know that between these specific hours you’ll be inaccessible. During that blocked time, go do what you’ve been wanting to do or find a quiet space for yourself to accomplish your goals. If you don’t think that is possible, wake up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later, but prioritize your time with yourself.
Make a Priority List. Make a prioritized list that combines all the things you want to accomplish, along with all your responsibilities and commitments you’ve made to others. Then choose a few things – no more than three – and be realistic about what you can accomplish that day, no matter how the day unfolds. Then start with the activity that will energize you the most and provide you the enthusiasm and fortitude to move through the rest of the list with ease. Give unlimited focus and attention to each task, completing as much as possible, then move onto the next one.
Eliminate Distractors. This is a critical one. Everyone is distracted by different things. Once you notice what your distractors are, recognize them and make a conscious effort to eliminate them. For example, I was easily distracted by inbox notifications, so I started to remove myself from email and social media alerts that weren’t necessary. I also stopped playing “Words with Friends” on my phone. Once you notice what is causing you to procrastinate, it will be easy to remove those distractions from your life.
In addition to the tips above, I always recommend surrounding yourself with people you can count on to help you. If you feel stuck, call a friend or reach out to a colleague or former boss to ask for guidance. Lastly, I’m starting an on-demand mentoring service for communication and business professionals looking to advance themselves professionally and improve their interpersonal communication skills. If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to me directly.