I’m in the midst of reading “Free To Focus” by Michael Hyatt. Its subtitle is: A total productivity system to achieve more by doing less.
Last week I’d written about “do as I say, not as I do” and how I’d let my life get out of control. Please note I said * I * let my life get out of control. No one else did it to me. No one made me say “yes” to everything. No one made me keep taking on new projects without looking at my calendar and getting my priorities back in alignment.
I’d struggled very hard to get out of the overwhelm when I was fighting breast cancer. I’d done pretty damn good for the past seven years (Yes, I AM a seven year survivor!) There were moments over the course of the seven years when things had gotten a bit out of balance, but for the most part, after a week or so it went back to smooth sailing.
How To Find Your Focus
After I’d written my post last week, I did take three hours and sat down with a notebook because I think much more clearly on paper. I wrote down:
Everything I had to do
How long it took me to do it
What was recurring
What was a one time project
What had a schedule that was beyond my control (caring for my adorable grandson, Atlas, for example. His parent’s schedules change every couple of weeks and that means my schedule of watching him varies slightly. I only watch him one or two days a week, but I still need to schedule calls and project deadlines so I needed to figure that in. )
Things I needed to get done for my own self — my short story collection of “Tabbies, Typewriters and a Touch of Romance” for the upcoming Cat Writers Conference.
I added in time to walk and snuggle Henrietta, ickis and Oblina
I scheduled in time to read, time to watch television and time to hang out with my hubs
I jotted down miscellaneous items that I know are hanging around, but that don’t have actual scheduling needs (laundry, grocery shopping, etc.)
After I’d done that I felt better. Having all of my “stuff” out of my head and down on paper made it more doable and much less overshelming.
One of the biggest things that was causing me stress was rewriting my blogging how-to book. I had it in my mind I wanted to rewrite it before the Cat Writers Conference. After I realized that project alone was freaking me the hell out I let it go. I will take copies of the book as is and will continue working on the rewrite and re-release it later because it will be new and improved. Stress level dropped drastically.
In reading through Hyatt’s book, this struck me: “Productivity is not about getting things done; it’s about getting the right things done. It’s about starting each day with clarity and ending each day with satisfaction, accomplishment and energy to spare… It’s about achieving more by doing less.”
Hot damn! This was THE message I needed at THIS time. I read the first few chapters of the book and came across the passage above while I was setting my list from above aside so I could eat lunch and get on the treadmill.
After my treadmill and lunch and Hen snuggle time I grabbed my list with renewed vigor and I am now feeling better about what’s going on in my life. I do have time to do what I want and what I need to do. In fact, I was so caught up yesterday that when I babysat my grandson, I held him while he slept for both of his naps. His first nap lasted an hour and he lay in my arms. The second nap went on for two and a half hours — the first hour and a half he snuggled in my arms. The last hour he lay on my chest because he woke up angry and not ready to be awake. That last hour, his heart press against my heart. I relaxed with him in my arms and did not worry about work.
As Hyatt wrote in his book: “…productivity should free you to pursue what’s most important to you.” In that moment, on that Friday the most important thing to me was being the best Gigi Atlas could hope for and by concentrating my efforts on him. Also, if I’d been stressing about work, I would have missed seeing the unbridled joy on my grandson’s face when I was clapping and singing to him. You just can’t get those moments back, you know?
If you’re seeking higher levels of productivity, why are you doing it? What do you want to pursue that’s most important to you? I’d love to know.