Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Daily Review #12 How To Live In The Moment

One of the things that I have struggled with in the past is how to live in the moment - particularly when I am doing things that are important like spending time with family. During those times, I always feel like I should be doing the work I didn't get accomplished either because I wasn't productive enough when I was working or because the work that I do seems to have no definitive end.

Maybe like me you have experienced that nagging feeling as I have and wondered how to deal with it. How can you get rid of it?

I think the key to solving this problem is understanding one important concept. Work will always fill whatever time you allot to it. If you allow work to have an open ended commitment in your life, work will dominate your time.

The goal of a black belt is to increase free time and more importantly - stress free, free time.

As part of that process, ending the open ended commitment towards work has to be dealt with.

So what I decided to do was first of all, establish a schedule that clearly allowed for all of the activities that I wanted to do and all the activities that I have to do. Some of these things are pretty easy. It's easy to decide when to eat, when to sleep. Others were not as clear. When it came to work, I had to make some tough decisions about where to put things into my schedule. Fitting in family so that they are happy is an additional tough challenge that I had to figure out as well as time to take care of myself through exercise and mentally - time for myself to do the things I enjoyed as well.

What this did was give me a clear delineation of work time versus personal time. And it also gave me the next goal which was to figure out how to get the work to fit the time I had to allow for it.

This is really the most important component because if you don't do it right, you will still have that little voice telling you you need to be working on other stuff. If you don't address it, you will start to steal time from other areas.

To combat this, I started looking at all of the tasks that I did. I started recording all of these tasks onto a sheet a paper and organizing them into checklists. This allowed me to do a few things. The first was I that seeing all of the things I need to do - rather than just knowing them - helped me define what done looked like.

If I knew what done looked like, based on the activities I knew would help me be successful at work, and then I did them all each day, I wouldn't be tempted to think about them later when I was doing something else.

The second thing that this did was encourage me to find a way to compact the work into the time I had alloted to it. I found that having all of my daily tasks on paper then made me start to think about how I could more effectively arrange them. I found that I could also work on my speed because I had written down every step. With practice, I could reduce the time it took if I challenged myself to do that.

The final thing that I realized is that once I had broken down what I had to do, specifically into a set of steps, I could ask someone else to do certain things in the exact way I would do them. I could transfer my checklist to them and the could follow it just like a franchise would do. Franchises like McDonald's figure out the best way to do something and then sell those procedures to others to exactly copy them and get the same results every time.

It's time you start looking at yourself as a franchise. Start figuring out exactly what you do, exactly how you do it and get it down on paper.

Doing so will help you begin to live in the moment and help your transition to higher belts that we will talk about in the future.
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