To achieve your goals: better that a To-Do list, what you need are boundaries
When you are juggling with many things in your life, how do you find the time, how do you prioritise? How do you make sure you are not missing on anything important while keeping focussed? The To-Do list is an incomparable tool but not enough to meet your goals. What you need are boundaries. What are they and how do they work? Read on for additional and life-enhancing tools to achieve your goals while retaining and replenishing your energy.
Your To-Do list:
This is the cornerstone of any time management plan. It gives you a direction and can gather in one place all what you need to think of. However it can quickly become an endless list that you will never see the end of. Use it in a way that makes your life easier, not as an endless list of tasks you know you have no way of achieving. The feeling of never being finished brings only discouragement and will undermine your self-esteem in the long run. Use it as a way to free your mind. At the end of a full working day put on the paper what you will need to do first when you arrive in the morning. You will thus be able to leave with a free mind and enjoy a relaxing evening and the next day you will have an easy start in the day.
Your time boundary:
Days are not extensible and you cannot have more than 24 hours at your disposal. How are you allocating your time? Do you give yourself enough sleep? Do you tend to do many things at once? When you plan an hour for a meeting, a task, a self-care session do you easily go over time? Or, like many of us, do you tend to cut the time you spend on yourself, but have no problem to go over time when other people are involved ? Sometimes the situation demands that we extend the time we planned for it. Most of the time however, we would reach the same result in a shorter lapse of time. The feeling that we do not have control over our time brings only frustration and anger. A good way of avoiding this is to be clear about the time you allocate to a given situation and communicate it in an assertive way. Of course you need to respect your own boundary as well. And this is why personal boundaries are so important, read on to find out more.
Your personal boundary:
What are your priorities? Like many people you are certainly juggling with different equally important « projects » in your life: your day job, your dream, your family, your passion, your partner and your different needs: the need for security, the need for validation, the need for intimacy, the need for personal growth and challenges, etc.. Which of your projects fulfills which need? This is a very important question because it will determine what should take precedence in your life. When your need for financial security trumps your need for self-actualisation, your office job is probably your priority and following your dream to become a carpenter might not be for you at the moment. When your need for intimacy is more important than your need for validation, you will not feel comfortable doing overtime routinely and you will grow irritable. Why is this so important for reaching your goals? Knowing your personal boundaries will help re-center on what is important for you and drop or transform what does not bring you satisfaction. This will free time for what is really important.
Your energy boundary:
We all have a given level of energy, some more and some less and it is also variable given our life circumstances. When we feel constantly tired or have less stamina or even less desires to undertake activities like sport or even going to the cinema or meet friends, it is often a sign that we went over our energy boundary. We gave out more than we took in. We all have moments in our life when we need to give more, such as before an important deadline, or during a crisis. However it should not be a permanent situation because no one can pour from an empty cup. It is therefore important to know what fills your cup i.e. swimming, reading, dancing, intimacy, spending time with dear friends or in nature. And when you know what it is, do it. Put it on your todo list if you need, give yourself a time boundary for it and do it. Your level of energy will be your best ally to manage your time effectively and sustainably.
In any good project management the wise allocation of resources is the determining factor that will tilt the result in your favour. Your time and your energy are finite resources that need your attention and need to be put at the service of your personal priorities and nobody else’s. To achieve this you need boundaries.
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This post was brought to you by Gaël Chardac
Gaël works as a life coach and she is specialised in helping people who are caring for the more vulnerable among us, such as humanitarian workers, nurses, firemen and -women, war correspondents, police officers, healers, etc. Having been an aid worker for several years herself, Gaël understands very well the difficulties of such jobs. She focuses in improving resilience, boundaries and increase positive coping mechanisms. You can find more about her at www.more-of-yourself.com