I did promise you a follow-up to last weeks’ article, More is Not Better, in which I shared with you the experience of my life grinding to a halt within a mere few days, how I managed to salvage my work and health, and my subsequent epiphany about my current modus operandi – and the realization that it was beyond time for a new one! Well, here it is. I will show you what I did to change my life so that I actually ENJOY each day, whilst still being productive and achieving my goals. Sounds like a win-win doesn’t it? It is. Here’s why.
Quality over quantity. It’s such a simple concept, and ironically as a sport scientist, one that I should be very familiar with. I mean, it’s what I teach professionals to do on a regular basis! To focus on quality work rather than excessive amounts of quantity, that does nothing but load up the fatigue and instil bad habits. Hmmmm…sounds familiar doesn’t it?! Yes, this could be applied across all areas of life – business, sport, personal – so it’s an absolute mystery to me why I hadn’t connected the dots in my own life sooner. The blinkers were on so tight that it took a near-disaster situation to snap me out of my current way of being, and realise that this actually wasn’t serving me, nor was it a very enjoyable way to live!
Quantity was the trap that I fell into as someone who constantly felt the pressure (from myself and others) to succeed, who always wanted to be better, accomplish more, with plans and goals that I always strove to achieve. Doing more just seemed like the logical solution. Plus, we are now constantly bombarded with social media messages and successful business people and influencers all touting the hustle – do more, do more, DO MORE! Of course, this is the worst thing that someone could say to a high achiever, who is already busting their butt trying to be successful at everything. Living in this state of mind made life so exhausting! And needless to say, it was very difficult to keep all the plates in the air.
Fast forward to last week, sitting on the couch of my personal development coach’s office, exhausted and empty. I’d been through the ringer, and now it was time to make a lasting and positive change to the course and quality of my life so that I didn’t keep repeating this behaviour, and to ensure that I could actually achieve all that I want in future – in business, and in my personal life. This was my chance to turn a crappy experience into a positive action, and to move forward into tomorrow a stronger person with a new MO. What did I do to make such a change? I let some plates drop (gasp!). Yep, that’s right – I let go! Only the highest quality plates survived.
Let me give you a clearer picture of what actually went down, as there were a few steps that led me to take this action.
- I committed – fiercely and determinedly! – to making a lasting positive change in my life, for the good of my health (physical, mental, and emotional), and my career. No way was I going to stay on this merry-go-round forever!
- I reconnected with my goals, vision, and mission; to what I want to achieve; and to the kind of life I want to create and live.
- I reviewed my business activities (aka the 3 white boards full of To Do lists), and identified 4 priority areas that would essentially form the 20% of work that would give me the 80% return. (Yes, only 4!).
- I dropped the clutter. What didn’t fit into these 4 areas was not deemed a priority and was subsequently culled. Ahh, so therapeutic!
- I assessed all the other plates in the air, and if they didn’t match my goals, vision and mission, they too were dropped.
What was left? Space! I created space for what was most important in my life after all the “junk” was stripped away. And by creating space, I created more time to get these important things done. This process gave me a good dose of clarity, perspective, and energy – it’s like a complete life detox that leaves you 10 kg lighter from all the brain clutter you’ve shed!
Now, that was my business life sorted. What I also needed was some fun and enjoyment back in my day, and now that I have more space and time, there’s room for me! I mean, what’s the good of constantly working if we don’t enjoy life?! So, the next step was to design a day that would make me happy – this is how I did it:
- I set 3 non-negotiables to include in my day, that I would enjoy doing and that would rejuvenate me and allow me to stay productive (for me, these were exercise, healthy eating and sleep. Simple!)
- I identified the activities that help me stay focused and on-task, and manage my stress levels – meditation, breathing, and journaling. I called these my productivity protectors.
- I combined these together to construct my day. I took 1-2 main tasks that I needed to complete (from my 4 priority areas), scheduled in my 3 non-negotiables and my productivity protectors, and a social event with friends/family here and there and voilá! Rinse, repeat and this is my week.
You’ll notice that I don’t have 100 plates in the air at once; I have 4, tops – my work, exercise, my health, and my family & friends. And not all are “up” at the same time. By that I mean the focus is only ever on 1 to 2, while the others drop down, depending on what needs attention at the time. This is in constant motion and flow, and allows me to have everything I want in my life – career, health, and a personal life.
You’ll also notice that my days are relatively calm. Simple. Without clutter. I’m being productive, I’m taking care of myself, and I’m having fun. I’m not hustling. I’m not running around frantically doing 10 things at once. I’m not sacrificing sleep, drinking 15 coffees a day, eating rubbish food, stressed out of my mind, in the effort of doing more, more, more! Because that doesn’t work for me anymore. Now, I’m all about the anti-hustle. This is my new MO for my life.
What about you? Is it time to make some positive changes in your life? If you want to enjoy it without sacrifice, then give this de-cluttering process a go and make some space for what’s really important. For what makes you happy. For what re-energises you. It’s time to buck the trend, and start a new movement – life in the anti-hustle. Come join me!