I Educate Myself
For a long time, when it came to chasing my dreams, I was basically throwing spaghetti at the wall. I'd try anything I could in hopes that something would stick.
Of course this wasted a lot of time. I was investing myself in strategies that weren't working and I was spending a lot of time researching tactics.
The solution was to take courses that would show me the proven steps I could take that would actually work.
When it comes to my business, the single best investment I've made was in Your First 1K. It laid out exactly what I needed to do in order to grow my audience and start making money from my business. It's taken a lot of work to actually implement all of the information but it told me exactly what I needed to do and in what order, so that I could stop guessing and start getting results.
The key is to find one educationaltool - whether it's a book, or course, or blog post. Fully absorb and implement that information before you move on to another one, otherwise you're still just throwing spaghetti at the wall.
I Say No When I Need (/Want!) To
Part of getting to know yourself requires that you are clear on what you want your life to look like and what your priorities are.
For example, my girl gang is incredibly important to me. They inspire me, push me forward, and fill me up. But I also know that when I have too many social commitments I feel frazzled. I prioritize seeing my girls once or twice a week but I don't usually take on more social commitments than that. I know that when I do, I feel pressed for time, dragged away from my passion projects, and I won't be the best company. I still check in with my friends on the daily, but I'm definitely not going out every night of the week.
Sometimes this means turning down really alluring invites but I make no excuses for it. I simply say, "I don't have time" or "It's really important for me to have some me time that day."
I know that striking this balance is key to my happiness and productivity.
On the other hand, I have some friends who are always out at the best events, trying new restaurants, and generally gallivanting around town. Our priorities are no better or worse than the other's; we're just designing different lives based on what makes us happy. Remember what I said at the beginning: you can't do it all, at least not all of the time.
So get really clear on what you want and what you need to do to attain it. Then prioritize your time accordingly and say no when you need to.
If saying "no" makes you really uncomfortable, Alex Franzen wrote a great article abouthow to say "no" to everything ever. You can totally do it with grace and kindness!
I Have Places for Ongoing Notes & Brainstorming
Your best ideas are not necessarily going to come up when you sit down to work on a project. They're likely to jump out at you in the shower, when you're taking a walk, during a delicious glass of wine, or when you're doing something completely unrelated. You need to be prepared to capture them.
I love Evernote for this. I have a "notebook" for each of my projects and within each I have lists of ideas, to-do-lists, drafts of articles, resources, research, and anything else I need to keep track of.
Being able to quickly jot down ideas quickly, but they're also fairly well organized when I need to use them for a project.
I Develop Routines & Habits
We are the things that we do consistently. That's why I have routines and habits that support all of my projects.
My morning routine includes exercise, meditation, healthy food, writing, and goal setting. First thing I'm dedicating my time to the things that are important to me. I'm in the routine of writing on my lunch break and prepping my meals every weekend.
My husband and I celebrate "Taco Tuesday" every week. It's a silly way to set aside time for each other and do something we love: try new foods. We're on a mission to experiment with every kind of taco fusion we can dream up and it's a fun part of our week.
Habits and routines remove the choice. Instead of deciding to exercise, write, or take some time for yourself, you just do it.
I Plan & Reflect
I credit my weekly planning and reflection ritual as one of the things that has been most powerful in allowing me to get more done and move forward so much this year.
I've written a full article about this, but put simply: I sit down every week to reflect on what I've done to move closer to my goal, assess what I could have done better, identify what steps I can take the next week that will move me forward the most, and schedule each of them into my calendar.
If you want to download the exact questions I use to reflect and plan my week, you can download them here.
And again, a Passion Planner is the perfect tool for creating this ritual. It leads you through a weekly planning session and there are reflection questions at the end of each month (you can enter to win one here!)
I Take Care of Myself
In the hustle and bustle of managing a busy schedule, taking care of ourselves is often the first thing to slip. But when we do this, our well will run dry and we'll find we have nothing left to give.
There are a few foundational habits that will make everything else easier and leave you with the energy and mental clarity you need to be a dream chasing machine. Exercise, a healthy diet, drinking enough water, and getting a good night's sleep are all habits that will set you up for success.
But it's also important to spend some dedicated time on self-care each week. Make sure you actually schedule that shit in and check in with yourself to figure out what you need. Your personal projects and the people around you will all benefit from this.
Phew! I know this sounds like a lot of information and it might make managing your projects seem more overwhelming instead of less. I've broken it all down to a checklist of easy steps and combined it with a list of my favourite tools and resources for getting more done. Just enter your email address below and you'll be able to download it right away.
As simple as it sounds, most of this comes down to getting really clear on your priorities and then acting on them. It's definitely possible to design a life where you get more done while still feeling good. It's about working smarter, not harder and these strategies will help you do just that.
And don't forget, you have until 12:00am GMT on 30 August 2015 to enter to win The Daydream Revolution Passion Planner bundle valued at over $200!