When I tell people that I have a full-time job, raising a family of two little boys, and I’ve started a passion project that I love with a dear friend, most respond by asking, “How do you do it?”
And so I want to share some of my thoughts and productivity tips on how to have the time to do what you love and eventually making your dreams come true, no matter what you have going on in your life.
No matter which part of the world you’re from, you’ve probably heard many people proclaim how busy they are. I’ve caught myself saying it too. Have you?
We are all busy with life, career, family, friends, hobbies but no matter what, we all at some point have wished that there was more than 24 hours in a day to achieve everything we want to do.
I think the real problem is that we have so many options for things to do that it is very easy to “get lost” along the way.
“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” John Lennon
This above is especially true as we enter the holiday season at the end of the year. As we get caught up in the jolly season of December leading up to Christmas, the month also makes us think about the year that just passed by.
We start to reflect on what we did and what we accomplished. On the opposite spectrum, we also tend to contemplate on what we didn’t check off. For most of us, we feel like we’re not checking off any big dreams. Who has time for that, right? Regardless, I know it can be very frustrating to realize that another “very busy” year passed without getting closer to checking off any personal goals or making your dreams come true.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your busy everyday life, and if you are feeling that even though you work hard you are not getting close to where you want to be in life, let me assure you that you’re not alone. Don’t be too hard on yourself – it is very common to get caught up in seemingly “meaningless” day-by-day “must-dos”.
After having my second child, I got a little bit overwhelmed.
I was happy to have my baby but I was also feeling kind of detached from my “previous life”. Now I had even less time to do the things I love that nourished my soul, like writing, doing yoga or reading fiction.
I felt stuck in the everyday tasks of being a working mom and I didn’t like it. After one full day of crying and complaining about this I realized I needed to change some things if I wanted to enjoy my life.
So I created a 3-point productivity checklist to making my own dreams come true:
1. Design your ideal day
If you don’t know where you are going, it is very easy to simply take any road just for the sake of it. And then you don’t really get anywhere too exciting.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
The only way to change that is to take ownership of your day, so here’s an exercise that can help big time. It is very easy and super fun to do. It only requires a little bit of time, a piece of paper and a pen.
Basically you have to sit down and write – writing down your goals/thoughts can help you have a visual on what you need to do and also helps you stick to your plan better. So write down line by line what your ideal day will look like.
What time do you want to wake up? What do you do next? What do you have for breakfast? What do you do after? And so on. The more details you get the better.
And remember to always ask yourself: “How do I want to feel at the end of that day?”
Everytime I feel lost in my busy routine, I go back to this exercise. It helps me to organize through the “chaos” and focus on the things that really matter.
Learn more about this exercise – How to Design the Perfect Day – here.
2. Make a promise to yourself and keep it
As human beings, we do things that matter to us and one thing most of us don’t enjoy is the feeling of having let someone down, especially if we said we would do something for them (even if it was a “yes” when we actually meant “no”).
If we don’t want to let people down for the promises we make to them, be it family, friends or colleagues, why is it so hard for us to keep our promises to ourselves?
After my major breakdown I made a promise to myself. I said I will always have at least 10 minutes a day set aside just for me. If I could find anything more than 10 minutes, great, but regardless, I would have at least 10 minutes to do something I totally and fully enjoy. When I don’t have the time, it could be quick 5 minute reading or journalling, 15 minute yoga or when I have some hours to spare it could be a treat to the hair salon or spa for a massage (though lately it’s been going to Authentic Woman!).
Because I make doing the things I love a practice in my life, I’m completely at peace with all the other things on my to-do list that I may not necessarily enjoy – there is no resentment for anything and I’m happy everyday.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
3. Every drop counts
I know a lot of us like to say, “When I have time I will do this” or “Once I get one hour free I will do it” – does this sound familiar to you?
The truth is that there will never be free time if you don’t make time for it – you have to make it happen for yourself.
“Little by little, one travels far.” J.R.R. Tolkien
I’m a true fan of doing something every day – even if that means for only 10 minutes. I prefer to do 10 minutes of yoga EVERYDAY than a 1-and-a-half hour session every 2 weeks. I prefer to read at least 10 minutes a day than a full afternoon in a month.
And I know you will wonder… “Only 10 minutes?”
But think about this. If you only do 10 minutes a day of something that you love through all your busy-ness and it is very important to you and can bring you closer to your life goals and dreams… then at the end of the month you will have spent 5 hours doing that. And at the end of the year you will have spent 60 hours at it. That’s almost 2 weeks of your life in a year for just 5 hours a month doing something that you love. Not bad, right?
Plus there’s the benefit of doing it regularly and getting into the habit of making it second nature for you. Everybody has 10 minutes a day to spare. So, everytime you think that 10 minutes is not enough, think again. For me, 10 minutes makes a huge difference to how I enjoy my day, keeps me focussed and gives me time to start on a new project and keep it going. No matter how little it may seem I’m doing, I always remind myself that something is better is nothing and that something is taking me one step closer to where I need to go.
At the end of it all, I realized that how I live my day is how I design my life, so if I wanted to do more and achieve more or simply enjoy doing something I love, then only I can make that happen for myself.
Do you have any productivity tips on how we can find the time to do the things we love or get us one step closer to our dreams? Share with us below!