Four Steps to Living Well

After graduate school, I worked as a therapist with people in recovery after acquiring  traumatic brain injuries.

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While I learned a lot during this season, one thing remains the most salient.

Everything in my life could change in the flash of a moment.

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Things that I consider part of my identity–being able to think, talk, and write–as well as things I take for granted–being able to walk, navigate my own home, or use both sides of my body–could all be gone in an instant.  Brain injuries, like death, do not discriminate on the basis of education, social status, wealth, or character.  They are sudden, and at times, irreversible.

Rehabilitation after stroke

This unique season of walking alongside people after their injuries, helped me to grow to appreciate that today is all that I really have.  Though I had heard it all of my life, I began to truly understand that I really need to seize the day.  I started to ask the hard questions. If tomorrow never comes, would I look back from today with satisfaction on who I have been and what I have accomplished?

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We all want to look back on our lives without regret. It is innate within us to want to look back and to say, “This is good.”

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Yet somehow in the midst of our busy lives, we know that if today were the last of our days, many of us would not look back with that sort of whole-hearted satisfaction.

BUT…how do we get there?

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In this blog, we will preview the Four P’s. These P’s will point us toward a life well lived no matter where we find ourselves today.

Proactivity.

The first P is Proactivity. To be proactive in just two words is to “own it.” It is a mindset about your life that states that no matter what has, is, or will happen to you, your life is yours to live.

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl shared his journey to discover this realization. A Jewish prisoner of war, he discovered that no one could take away his ability to choose–no matter what they did to him. The world will give you every excuse, And since the beginning of time it has been our nature to shift blame.

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To live well, however, we must resist this temptation. We must constantly ask, “What choices are within my responsibility?” and choose to act.

Purpose.

The second P is Purpose. Your story is irreplaceable. What makes you unique? For what purpose do you believe you are on Earth?

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What are your dreams? What are your goals? What are your values? What is your personality? What are your strengths? What are your resources and connections?

Gaining a clear picture on where you are heading is critical.

Productivity

The third P is productivity. To be productive is to produce effective results with your actions. The opposite of being productive is working really hard but getting nowhere–“spinning your wheels.”

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If you have decided to own your life and you have a clear vision on where you want to head but you have not clarified which actions produce the results that will get you there, you are unlikely to fulfill your desires.

People

The final P is people. When everything is boiled down, our design reflects a deep need for both results and relationships.

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When people are interviewed near the end of their lives, they usually speak most about the relationships in their lives. What relationships in your life do you want to cultivate so that you look back with satisfaction and not regret? What type of person do you want to be for those in a relationship with you?

The Four Ps

How do we live well?  Be proactive.  Start with the choice to own your life. Then, move toward your purpose.  What do you want to see when you look back on your life?  Next, be productive.  Choose actions that will support your vision and bear strong results toward it.  Lastly, stay connected to the people in your life.  Leave a trail of touched lives behind you as you live your irreplaceable story.

Think Time’s Life Leadership process seamlessly guides you through living these four P’s as you dream, decide, do, and review.  Check out our thinking tools at think-time.com.

Christine M. Wilson, LPC

Co-founder, Think Time

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Blog Highlights

Everything in my life could change in the flash of a moment. @thinktimetweets

We all want to look back on our lives without regret.  @thinktimetweets

It is innate within us to want to look back and to say, “This is good.”  @thinktimetweets

“Own it.”  @thinktimetweets

Your life is yours to live.   @thinktimetweets

What choices are within my responsibility?   @thinktimetweets

Choose to act.   @thinktimetweets

Your story is irreplaceable.   @thinktimetweets

What makes you unique?  @thinktimetweets

For what purpose do you believe you are on Earth?   @thinktimetweets

Gain clear picture on where you want to go.  @thinktimetweets

Produce effective results with your actions.  @thinktimetweets

The opposite of being productive is working really hard but getting nowhere.  @thinktimetweets

Clarify which actions produce the results that will get you to your destination.  @thinktimetweets

Our design reflects a deep need for both results and relationships.  @thinktimetweets

What relationships in your life do you want to cultivate?  @thinktimetweets

What type of person do you want to be?  @thinktimetweets

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to live your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

I Hope I Can Get Everything Done!

Have you started your day with this feeling?

You have learned all of the tricks.  You have used your “productivity planner” to write down your three most important tasks; however, you are still not sure you will be able to get everything done.

At Think Time, we say, “Don’t stop there!”  If you only identify your top priorities, and stop there, you may unintentionally have your opportunities for success stripped from your hands.  Keep reading to find out how to avoid this time trap.

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This is where Think Time diverges from the typical “productivity” day planner.  Most day planners ask you to identify your top three items and wish you well.  Think Time’s comprehensive system takes you QUITE a bit further.

In this blog, we will introduce you to just one of the ways the Think Time system boosts your chances of accomplishing what is most important to you.  Whether you own a Think Time yet or don’t, you won’t forget this practice once you’ve learned about it.  It is truly a game-changer!

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In the dream phase of Think Time, you will notice a tool with a lot of circles of various sizes.  If you look more closely, you will notice three large circles and several smaller ones.

This is the Rosebush Tool.

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With the Rosebush Tool, you will not only identify your top three priorities, but you will also actively identify the lesser priorities that threaten to steal your limited time, focus, and resources.

How does it work?

When a master gardener grows prize-winning roses, she first identifies the roses that are the most robust–that carry the most potential to thrive.  She then carefully prunes branches from the rest of the rosebush to funnel the limited resources of the bush to her chosen roses.  Making tough calls, the gardener prunes dead branches, old branches, weak branches, and even good branches that simply are not the best.  By pruning, she protects what is most valuable to her.

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As you #taketimetothinktime, you also take time to identify those things that can get in the way of accomplishing your high priority goals.  Here you make the tough decisions and the hard calls.  Here, you actively take things out of your life to make room for what matters most.

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Here is how it works.

First, identify your top priorities for the time period you are think-timing.  Second, identify what could distract you from your goals.  For instance, some things are on your calendar because they were important two years ago but they really are no longer relevant today.  Some other activities are good activities, but when you look more closely, they simply don’t generate results.  Some are simply bad habits that steal your time while others may actually be other people’s responsibilities.  Do a quick assessment of your activities to see what you need to prune to protect what matters most to you.

Take a look at this example from a day in the life of a manager.

Tools Rosebush for Coaching

This manager had three top priorities: completing a set of revisions for the owner, finishing the “who’s on what” plan for the next stage, and finalizing a presentation.  Using the Rosebush tool, he is proactively anticipating interruptions, distractions, and time-stealers that could come his way.  By actively pruning these before beginning the day, he prevents countless hours of frenzied activity focused on the wrong things and proactively protects what matters most.

Here is a sample Rosebush tool from a stay-at-home mom who is trying to finish a painting, maintain an orderly and clean home, and preserve family time at night.

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Now, take a moment and try it yourself.

What are your top priorities for today or this week?  How much do you really want to accomplish them?  Identify your prize roses.  Tools Pictures The RosebushWhat could potentially get in the way of accomplishing what matters most to you?  Now make the tough calls.  Label the “other roses.”   What do you need to “prune?”

How did it go?

When you take time to prune, you prevent lost opportunity and protect what matters most to you.  Without taking this critical step, your top priorities may suffer from unintentional lack of focus and attention.  Don’t let this happen to you and your priorities.

Take Time to Think Time.

Christine Wilson

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Blog Highlights

Identify your top three priorities.  #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Actively identify the lesser priorities that threaten to steal your limited time, focus, and resources.  @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Some things on your calendar are no longer relevant today. #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Some bad habits steal our time.  #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Some activities simply do not generate results.  #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

What could potentially get in the way of accomplishing what matters most to you?  #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

Make the tough calls.  #prune #rosebushtool @thinktimetweets think-time.com

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

*To delve more deeply into “letting go” to make room for what is most important we recommend two resources for further study.

  1. Necessary Endings by author and psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud.  The chapter on “pruning” was the inspiration for Think Time’s rosebush metaphor.
  2. From the perspective of a seasoned professional organizer, we recommend SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern.