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Get a Grip...on Your Time & Energy!

Mindset Made Simple Tip #63 - To watch or listen, click HERE!

Time! We never have enough!

We need more time to prepare, to train, to study…to implement a mental performance training program (Yes!! you should find time for this, said the Mental Performance Coach 😊).

No matter what we need more time do to, we all have the same amount. And not one of us can create more of it!

How we approach our day, manage our time, and consequently, our energy, has a direct effect on our performance.

Tomorrow, I have the opportunity to talk about this in the Institute for Women, Wellness and Work at Ursuline College's weekly Wellness Webinar. If you are interested in joining me at noon EST or receiving a link to the session, sign up HERE.

Despite all the personal and professional challenges that surround us today, our job is to help others become more successful. And contrary to the memes we read each day, success is not a journey. Success is a state over which we have control - and responsibility.

Wait, wait, wait! This seems like I am putting outcome over process! Which we know is a no-no!

I am not saying that we control success…or what we think of as successes (which really means whether we win or not).

What I am saying is we decide what success looks like and learning to manage our time AND ENERGY increases our chances of finding success…at anything!

As John Wooden said, “little things make big things happen.” Success is simply a culmination of small positive actions.

I have heard it said that decisions determine our destiny. BUT THE TRUTH IS THIS - disciplined decisions – meaning decisions that lead to action - determine our destiny!

What we decide to do today will have a compounding effect on our success. And as I have said many times before, we must understand that things don’t happen to us, they often happen because of us – because of our decisions and subsequent actions!

The effect of eating ice cream instead of something healthy as a snack will not affect your bottom line today. But make that decision too often and your “bottom line” will eventually change!

Check your email every hour and you may not notice much difference in your day today, but over a week it can add up to over 3 hours of your 40 hours per week (and that is assuming it only takes 5 minutes per hour!).

As we think about our decisions…or disciplined actions…we know that how managing our day makes a difference, yet it is sometimes so hard to control! But gaining control of our time also helps us gain control of our energy!

Since we are in constant pursuit of success, pressure rises and expectations grow. Most of us respond to these rising demands by “working harder” which can inevitably take a toll on us physically, mentally, and emotionally…depleting our precious energy with no plan to restore it.

Even though we work more - or harder - we often work less effectively and productively.

We all know it’s not how many hours we put in that determines how productive we are. Focused, quality practice is what is important. More effort does not always lead to better performance. Sometimes more effort diminishes our performance.

Instead of wishing for more time or working longer and harder, there are a few things we can CHOOSE to do to help us better manage our days and restore our precious energy!

We can start by breaking down our day into short segments (like my 3 sections of a 45-minute workout). Some say to follow the Pomodoro Technique, which splits our day into 25 minutes segments with a 5 minute “refresh” in between. This stoppage of work is proven to increase productivity, creativity and help restore energy!

Another technique is committing to dedicating a specific time of day to essential work. As Pat Summit suggested years ago in Reach for the Summit, do the hard stuff first to ensure it gets done. Otherwise we dread it all day!

Maybe most importantly, finding a way to be PRESENT and focused on our tasks can help us use our time more efficiently AND help us balance our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual lives! How many times have you read the same paragraph 3 times before you READ it?

As Greg McKeown states in his book, Effortless, “being in the moment isn’t hard; not thinking about the past and the future all the time is hard.” Protecting our “present” state of mind help is proven to make us happier and more productive.

Being present, like eating the ice cream, is a choice. Sometimes we must change our environment and figure out how to focus on the important and ignore the irrelevant…like checking our email at every “ding.” (First step, turn that thing off 😊).

Our perspective may play a role in our productivity as well. As Dr. Barbara Fredrickson from UNC states in her “broaden and build theory,” positive emotions open us to growth, new perspectives and helps us see other possibilities.

Believe it or not, our culture of constant complaining in which we live can hinder our ability to manage our time – and energy. We spend so much of our energy focused on issues outside of our control that we lose sight of the things we can change.

I have heard that reading things that irritate us, cause us anxiety or take us down a rabbit hole is like choosing to walk through a pile of dog excrement instead of walking around it. WE CHOOSE to read this crap…and it wastes our time and affects our energy!

McKeown suggests we combat this complaint culture with an attitude of gratitude. His method is simple, maybe not easy, but simple! If he complains, he immediately follows up the complaint with a statement of gratitude. This simple practice opens him up to greater growth and positive emotion – which we know is a major predictor of peak performance!

He goes on to say “when you focus on what you lack, you lose what you have. When you focus on what you have, you get what you lack.” This goes for time as well…focus on how little time you have…and low and behold, you have less!!

Finally, to better manage our days… and our attitudes, McKeown suggests we make a “Done for the Day” list. This should include everything we would like to get done today. If we get this stuff done, we would feel as if the day was a success.

There is one caveat. To feel like we have accomplished something, we must have a good idea of what “done” looks like? Once certain way to make things impossible to finish is to have an ambiguous goal!

Getting a VERY CLEAR PICTURE of what you want can be a great catalyst for action. Don’t know what you want? Where will you start?

Always thinking about what you want to avoid? Where will you start and how will you know when you are finished.

As we are building our list, we also need to be sure we are thinking about how we will get started on each task. As Brian Cain often says, “it’s the start that stops most people.”

We often get hung up on things because WE make them too hard to start! THIS IS A CHOICE!

We should ask, what is the easiest way to get these things done? How can I make the first step to getting this done the easiest and most obvious?

Once we start, the next question is, how am I making this task harder than it needs to be? How can I do this in the least possible steps?

And, McKeown suggests, instead of focusing on how hard something is, we need to ask, what if this was easy? What would I do then?

What you see in your mind matters! See what you want, how you want it and then take the easiest and smallest first step in that direction!

And then do it right away. Our ability to focus has slipped from about 12 seconds at a time in 2000 to about 8 seconds today. So seize the moment. Take a simple action and get moving.

Lastly, CELEBRATE the small “successes” along the way. Celebrate the fact that you took that first step or ran that first mile. To run any race, you have to run the first mile first!

Decide what you want and do that. Doing more than that is often not productive. Things don’t have to be perfect, they have to get done! (Then you can go back and perfect them if needed).

So, gain control of your time and energy by creating some productive habits.

Break up your days…and take breaks in your breaks!

Combat our culture by practicing gratitude. Notice, I did not say eliminate complaining (I can’t either, but I will try if you will 😊). But what I can do is highlight the GOOD…which gives me less time to complain!

Do the hard stuff first! It helps free up precious mental space and time!

And finally, make a “Done for the Day” list. Get a great picture of what “done” means. See it, do it, celebrate it!

All of this can make us more productive, better performers and happier people!

Let me know how it goes! And join me tomorrow for more ideas and fun!

Have a great week!


P.S. Don't forget to join me tomorrow at noon EST or register and receive a link to watch at your convenience! Register HERE!

Certified Mental Performance & Mindset Coach

SSB Performance • 234-206-0946




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