It’s easy to think we have all the time in the world.
But as we get older, we realize that time is a limited commodity, and we can’t get it back. Everyone has the same 168 hours in a week, but what we do with those hours week after week is up to us.
I recently heard Omar Elattar say that it doesn’t matter what hour you wake up; what matters is what you do with the hours in your day. We are almost halfway through another year. How are you doing on your goals and intentions?
If you want to make every week count, here are six things to remember:
1. Let your goals and intentions write your to-do list
What is important to me might not be important to you. And what is important today might be less important tomorrow. It’s essential to not blindly make our to-do lists but to always come back to our goals and intentions.
At my office, we are working on a mission and vision statement for our organization. It made me realize that we all need to have our own mission to lead us if we want to truly live a life based on intention. Todd Durkin, a coach in San Diego, has talked about the 10 types of wealth we can have: spiritual, physical, mindset, professional, financial, family, social, adventure, love, impact.
What are your goals in these areas, and how does that inform your mission statement for life? If you don’t have the “wealth” you want in one of those areas, how can you make the time to grow in that area? We don’t find time, we make time—so make time for what matters.
2. Learn to say no
Craig Ballantyne has said, “If you want to do great things, you have to do fewer things.” It’s easy in this age of instant gratification and never-ending social media feeds to think we need to have it all and do it all. But having it all, at least at one time, is impossible. Having too many choices and too much flexibility can actually paralyze us, according to Omar Elattar.
Set your own limits. Say no to others, and to yourself, when you have to. Ask yourself where you can let go or delegate. Ask yourself if this “thing” is instant gratification or something that will bring you closer to what you really want and who you really want to be. Learn to delay gratification and always go back to your why.
3. Study yourself and know yourself
Be honest with yourself. Find an accountability partner if you have to, but however you hold yourself accountable, don’t lie to yourself or make excuses. John Wooden has said that character matters more than reputation, and character means that you know who you want to be and you work to be the best version of yourself every day.
Focus on the race and not the finish. Let your actions speak louder than your words and watch what works. Take small steps to set yourself up for success. For example, get up five minutes earlier every day or commit to stopping work at a certain point to spend time with loved ones—if those are the “wealths” you want to cultivate. The choices you make, make you. Make your choices easier to make.
4. Work backward, not forward
Becoming closely tied to knowing yourself and setting yourself up for success is to work backward, not forward. This means working from the end goal backward. If you want to get so many hours of sleep, figure out what time you need to go to bed. If you want to run a race on a certain date, figure out how many miles you have to run each week to get there. What we can do can be a limitless list. Prioritize, be proud of what you are able to take care of, but don’t miss out on bigger goals by not taking the small steps to get there.
5. Don’t dress procrastination up in a party dress
There are a lot of rituals we can do that are good for us, but if those rituals just become routine, ask yourself if they are losing their meaning and if they are holding you back from actually getting the necessary things done. If you are most productive in the morning, but it takes two hours to meditate, journal, and exercise, is that the best use of your wham-bam morning time? Only you know (see number three). Don’t let habits lose their meaning and usefulness. Don’t let someone else’s habits blindly become yours.
6. Leave some room for the unexpected magic to happen
Knowing where we want to go makes it more likely we will get there. But don’t be so focused on where you want to go that you miss opportunities the universe presents to you—such as redirections, blessings in disguise, or little nudges. Schedule time to just be instead of just do. That is when insights and breakthroughs may come.