When it comes to turning your visions into reality—stepping into the empowerment that comes with actualization—you need tools that are both inspirational and practical. Getting in touch with your intentions and making sure that your vision is exciting, compelling, and aligned with your deepest truth is an inspirational tool. Setting goals to achieve your vision, breaking down the process into manageable pieces, is a practical tool. But what if you’ve committed deeply to your intention, you know what your goals are . . . and you’re still not making progress?
This is where building structures and systems can be a great way to get to the next level. Structures and systems support you so that you have the time and energy to take the action steps required to meet your goals.
One of the most useful supportive tools I work on with clients is the creation of the life balance calendar. Most of us build our calendars by scheduling everything we have to do. Often, there’s no time left for things we want to do or that we care the most about—family, friends, travel, creative projects, etc. My own life shifted radically when I started putting this principle into practice.
Several years ago, I owned a dental laboratory and was working 70 hours a week. I felt overworked and overwhelmed. An employee who was debating whether he wanted to start his own business asked me, “What are your priorities?” Without hesitation, I answered, “Family first, then work.” As I heard myself, I had a moment of clarity: I was spending more time at work than I was at home, and my schedule did not reflect my priorities. That’s when I began a journey to shift my values into actions, not just words. Over time, I did a number of things that essentially came down to rescheduling to reflect my real priorities.
This is the same process I help clients with as a coach. We start by getting in touch with what you most care about in your life—what makes life worthwhile, what your priorities really are. Then we put that into a longer-view timeline. Once we’ve made time for the things that are deeply important to you; we begin to fill in the things that have to be done, such as work hours and other responsibilities. We look at ways to adapt your schedule to fit your personality—for example, if you work from home, you may be able to build your work hours around the times of day when you feel most productive.
We keep a close eye on goals and deadlines to make sure you’re pacing yourself to succeed. And we make sure you have time to plan and assess what’s going on in your life, work, and projects so that you can adapt, refine, learn, and redefine as necessary to improve what you’re already doing . . . or pick up the pieces you may have dropped along the way.
The life balance calendar is also a good way to identify habits you want to create and build a system to support their adoption. For example, let’s say you’re so busy that you put taking care of yourself and your health last. You identify that self-care is a priority and feeling good is something you want to focus on. Together, we discuss aspects of self-care such as exercise, healthful eating, meditation, and sleep habits. We work with the calendar to set up clear and consistent routines, including deciding what kind of exercise you want to do and how much time you want to spend; looking at how to develop grocery shopping and food prep routines; considering how other ongoing requirements such as laundry or housekeeping can be integrated into your weekly schedule, so you don’t find yourself putting aside self-care for chores. A common theme for many of my clients is to develop a morning routine of exercise and meditation, committing to self-care before eating a healthy breakfast, and then moving on to other things. We can also create an evening routine to bring closure to your day and get ready for restorative sleep.
As you follow the routine that you’ve created, you begin to develop habits that become second nature. These healthy habits provide the foundation for you to feel good and have more energy for everything in your life. When you feel better, you do better—you are more productive, and your goals and visions are easier to achieve when you are able to give them your best.
Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed right now or you’re up and running and want to become even more productive, I can meet you where you are to get you to the next level of empowerment through effective time management. Ready to expand your toolkit for success? Schedule a Discovery Session.