Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Time Management for Manic Moms - Week 3: How Much Time Do You Want?

Time Truth 3: Know what you want, then you'll find time to look for it

In the previous chapter, we have learned about our own time traps and how we can work our way around avoiding them. In this chapter, we learn how we could have more time and how we can make use of them.

The author talked about going on a shopping trip, but instead of shopping for goods you will be shopping for time. Think of all the things that you want to do in your life and then put them in your shopping basket. These things are the ones you have identified as important in your life focus and value focus (as discussed in the previous chapter).  Like going to the grocery where we bring a list of things to buy, we should also have a list of the things we want to do and achieve to be able to know how much time we need to do all of these things. We would be able to plan our days and weeks accordingly if we know what things needed to be done.

"Knowing what you want is key to actually getting it."

Be PROACTIVE, she said. Let's be in control of our lives. Let's take control of how we want to spend our time. We can do this by creating our desired Eye of Time, and drawing out a new Life Focus and Value Focus eyes. What do we want in our near focus? in our far focus? in our peripheral vision? in our blind spot? We should consider our personal values in delegating the activities we do everyday.

"If you can dream it you can do it" - Walt Disney

The future would belong to those who believed in the power of their dreams. - Eleanor Roosevelt

By having a list of what we want to focus on, we envision what we want to achieve in our lives. Then we can put our plans into actions to make our visions a reality. It's a step by step process and we have already done the first few steps. The next step now is follow through.

In this book, I found out that we humans have our own GPS (like the one that guides the cars to their destination) - the Reticular Activating System (RAS). It helps us bring into our focus the things we want, as long as it knows what we want.

RAS takes into account "our dreams, our visions, or clear articulation of our desired focus". It sends information to our brain, which then helps us get what we desire/hope for. It "filters for things that seemed to be of importance to you, and then get you to pay attention to them." One example that was given in the book was when the writer needed to find a shoes (bright red) that would match her outfit (bright red) she would wear in a wedding. With the help of her RAS, she "seemed to notice red shoes everywhere" - in shop windows, worn by other people. Her RAS was bringing into her focus the thing that she wants - red shoes.

But there is one thing to be cautious of about RAS - it does not know how to differentiate between good and bad. If you always tell yourself you have no time, RAS passes this info to your brain, and will in turn find as much "evidence" to prove so. It encourages you to be late, to procrastinate. It's a subconscious suggestion, I guess. What I learned from this is that we have to choose positive thoughts/ideas so our brain can process positive suggestions. Instead of always saying we have no time, we should tell ourselves we will find time. Instead of saying we can't do things, we should tell ourselves we can do it. Our brain will help us find a way to achieve what we want to achieve. This is because our brains helps us focus on the things we want / desire allowing us to do things to make our desires a reality.

Here are examples of positive suggestions in the book, and how we could better state (more positively) what we want to have better help from our RAS.

I want a tidy house...... vs........ I don't want to always be tidying up children's toys.
I want to be on time.... vs....... I don't want to be late any more.
I want to take things at a steady pace.... vs..... I don't want to rush.
I want to be calm...... vs.....I don't want this stress.

Exercises to do:
  1. Dream your way to destination "more time" -  a form of visualization wherein you pretend as the director of a new film ("My Perfect Day"), who has total artistic and creative control. Then picture yourself  "in" the film, living your Perfect Day. Practice doing this everyday, as many times as you like. It's like training your brain to expect a perfect day.
  2. The end of your fabulous life - this may seem to be a morbid exercise to do, but it will surely help us make the most of our time. Here are some questions to think about:
    • what do my children say about me?
    • what do my family and friends say about me?
    • what are the highlights of my life?
    • what are my major achievements?
    • how much have i enjoyed my life?
    • if i had more time what would i still want to do?
    • is there anything missing from my life?
    • the things that make my life rich and varied were...
"Are the answers to these questions what you want to hear?" Your response, be honest as possible, to these questions will determine whether you have lived the life you wanted to live or not. If you think you need to make changes, there is still time. Better start making changes now, before it's too late.

The Long-Term View from the Eye of Time

Make a list of everything you want to achieve in life. Use the Dream-Catcher to list the short-term and long-term goals in every area of your life. The Dream-Catcher is a table showing the period (1month, 3 months, 6 months, 1year, 5 years, 10years, 20 years) as the categories on the top of the table, and a list of everything you can think of (career, fun/leisure, family, friendships, physical, environment, romance/partner, money, health) in every aspect of your life that you want to achieve. If you write things down, they're very likely to happen. 

PEP Up Your Long-Term Life Focus
Turning your dreams into goals. Writing your goals in such a way that makes it easier for your RAS to seek them out.

PEP = Positive, Explicit and Present
Positive Goals - make your goals a positive statement of what you want, rather than what you don't want

Explicit Goals - be as detailed as possible about your goal

Present Goals - write your goal in the present tense as if you have already achieved it

Creating a Destiny Diary
A home for your PEP Goals.

Materials needed: a ring binder, paper, pens, section-divider cards

  1. Create sections in your Destiny Diary. 
    • first section - PEP goals for next month
    • second section - PEP goals for the next 3 months
    • third section - for the next 6 months 
    • and so on....
    • Put in 7 sections to hold PEP goals for the next 20 years
  2. In each section have 8 sheets of paper headed with one of you Life Focus Categories
  3. On the top left-hand side of the page write "PEP Goal" and on the top right-hand side write "Destiny Date"
  4. Write your PEPed-up Goals on the relevant Life Focus Sheet in the relevant time section. Make sure you give each PEP goal a Destiny Date. That is the date you want to achieve it by.

Actions for Week Three
  • Look at your Ideal Eye of Time for a minute everyday. (1min)
  • When you brush your teeth each morning, set your intent to have a great day, in which everything gets done. (2mins)
  • Each night, review your day. Ask yourself the question, "Where did I waste time and where could I have saved it?" (2mins)
  • Watch your personal film, My Perfect Day, 3 mins this week. (5mins is fine, but do it longer if you wish)
  • Create a Destiny Diary and fill it with PEP Goals. (1h45mins, or 15mins everyday for a week)
  • Do one thing towards one of your long-term PEP Goals. However small, choose to make time to take a step forward. It might be a phone call or buying a book, just do something. (10mins)

  • Like a shopping basket without a list, your day will fill up with whatever drops into it, unless you choose what you put in it.
  • Unless you know what you want to do with your time, you'll never find time to do it.
  • Make a decision about what you choose to do with your time, not what you don't choose to do.
  • When you focus on what you want in life, you tend to get more of it.
  • Use your Eye of Time, Life Focus Eye and Values Focus Eye to plot out what you want to focus on.
  • People who write down what they want to achieve get more done.
  • Your Reticular Activating System (RAS) can help you get more of what you want in life.
  • It's useful to mentally rehearse having more time.
  • Create a Destiny Diary to capture everything you want to have time to do in the weeks, months and years ahead.

  1. Do small jobs as they come up; don't put them off.
  2. Test children on times tables or spellings on the way to school. (done!)
  3. Mark children's socks with their initials or different coloured threads so they get kept together and put back into the right child's wardrobe.
  4. Make packed lunches the night before - or, even better, get the children to do their own. (my younger son sometimes packs his own snack)
  5. Put a little cleaning kit in the glove box of your car, and a plastic bag to collect rubbish.
  6. Use the speed-dialling facility on your phone.
  7. When going out to meet a friend, have their phone number to hand so you can ring ahead if you are running late.
  8. Carry a plastic zip-bag with you to catch bits of info, receipts, etc you will want to put away when you get home. Empty it daily.
  9. Clean the shower after each use with a car squeegee - stops the build-up of limescale and saves cleaning time.
  10. Look for examples of when you've managed your time well. Ask your brain to focus on these, and seek opportunities to use the same strategies again.
  11. Keep a list of things that can be done in fewer than 10 mins. Whenever you have just 10 mins, do one of them.

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