What is Essential?

Recently I asked myself a simple question: “What is essential?”  

If you have traveled with a baby or have seen anyone travel with a baby with piles of belongings in tow, you may appreciate the unique challenge implicit between the lines of this blog.

My two and a half month old daughter was my traveling companion for this weekend visit to my hometown.  We were returning for a very special wedding.  

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The trip only lasted a day and a half, so I thought I could do it.  I thought I could live on the bare minimum.

To pack for two in a backpack, I asked myself, “What is absolutely essential?”  

Of course, I packed my Think Time, a pen, my phone, and a charger. Then, I added my most essential makeup items, our clothes for the wedding, my baby sling, diapers, wipes, and a few more things.  I evaluated what items I need not duplicate as I stayed with my family.  I wore layers, and I chose one–yes, just one–pair of shoes for the weekend.

It was shocking how little I was able to pack to successfully travel-even with a baby!  

Oddly enough, the book I was going to bring with me did not make the cut. 

Can you guess the title?

That’s right!  How did you know?

Greg McKeown’s new New York Times Best Seller–Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

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This refreshing book is full of solutions that involve saying a careful “yes” to only that which is essential.   

While many of us feel frazzled, directionless, and overwhelmed as a way of life, McKeown refreshingly encourages us to pursue only what is essential.  Like my backpack (plus car seat) vacation, what is essential is much less than we think. 

In this blog, I will walk you through some of the tools of Think Time that guide you through evaluating what is essential.  

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The Envision Box: 

When you create a clear vision of where you are going, you can immediately see what actions align with your vision.  High results activities that support your vision are essential.  

The Rosebush: 

When you identify your priorities and actively decide what you will prune to maintain energy and resources for those, you can immediately identify what is essential.

The Serenity Circle: 

When you sketch or write on the inside of the Serenity Circle what is within your responsibility, you can further clarify what is essential.

The Decidere Grid / Decision Columns:

When you filter your actions according to those that give you the most return on your investment, you can immediately see what is essential.  

Calendar Tool:

When you live off your calendar and not only from your to do list, the limited space in your real life again clarifies what is most essential.

Identifying what is essential is “essential” to living a life focused on what matters most.  To do this, allow Think Time’s Dream, Decide, Do, & Review process to guide you through selecting what is essential in your life.  To go deeper on this aspect of taking time to think time, we recommend to you McKeown’s excellent book, Essentialism.

What are some things that are essential in your life?

What is absolutely essential? @thinktimetweets

Many of us feel frazzled, directionless, and overwhelmed as a way of life. @thinktimetweets

The tools of Think Time guide you through evaluating what is essential.  @thinktimetweets 

Use the Envision Box to visualize where you are going.  High results activities that support this vision are essential.

Use The Rosebush to identify your essential priorities. @thinktimetweets 

Actively decide what you will prune to maintain energy and resources for what matters most.  @thinktimetweets 

Use the Serenity Circle to sketch or write what is within your responsibility to clarify what is essential.  @thinktimetweets 

Use the Decide Phase of Think Time to find which actions give you the most return on your investment.  These are essential.  @thinktimetweets

When you live off your calendar and not only from your to do list, the limited space in your real life clarifies what is most essential.  @thinktimetweets

Identifying what is essential is “essential” to living a life focused on what matters most. @thinktimetweets

 

Christine Wilson, LPC

Co-Founder, Think Time

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Think Time Life Leadership System

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Use your whole brain to live your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

Achieve Your Goals and Feel Good About It!

Did you know that you are designed to feel good while you achieve your goals?

 

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It’s true!

Wired in your biology is a feedback system that allows you to feel “good” while you pursue what matters to you.

In this blog we will discuss how taking time to Think Time can utilize the dopamine feedback system to boost your energy and improve your motivation as you pursue your goals.

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Dopamine is a biologically based chemical that provides energy and motivation.  Stated simply, when the dopamine reward system is activated, you are biologically encouraged to repeat what you just did.  At the same time, the memory centers of the brain are activated.  They seem to be saying, “Pay close attention to what just happened!  We want this to happen again!”

One of the healthy ways in which you can engage the dopamine reward system is by moving toward clear goals.

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When you take tangible steps toward a goal you clearly have in your mind, you get a shot of dopamine.

This is why setting a clear goal and accomplishing it feels so good.

This is why crossing things off your to do list feels so good.

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This is also why we write things down just to cross them off when we forgot to put it on our to do list.  Crossing it off gives us a shot of dopamine!

This seems too easy.

What’s the catch?

The catch is that you must see your goal clearly.

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None of us pursues vague accomplishments.

Can you imagine it?

“On your mark, get set, go!  Run for a long time!”

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No!

We train to run exactly 13.1 or 26.2 miles!

…and as each mile marker reinforces that we are closer to our goal, we get a shot of dopamine!  This boost enhances our performance by providing energy and motivation toward our clear goal.

We pursue goals that are clear and we feel happy about our accomplishments.

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What do we do with this information?

Now that you know that your brain is giving automatic feedback and energy boosts to areas with clear goals, take some Think Time to assess the clarity that you have created around different areas of your life.

Most of us have clear goals at the gym and at work but we have no clear goals when it comes to marriage, parenting, personal growth, spirituality, money, service, and relationships.

Build clarity in these areas of your life with Think Time’s Think Zones, and notice the difference in how you feel as you pursue your goals.

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Think Zones are included in the Yearly and Quarterly Think Times in Think Time Journal Planners.

Chances are, you are going to feel really good and…

you are going to want to do it again!!

Christine Wilson

Think Time Co-Founder

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.

 

Blog Highlights

You are designed to feel good while you achieve your goals.  @thinktimetweets 

Boost your energy and improve your motivation as you pursue your goals with Think Time.  @thinktimetweets

When you take tangible steps toward a goal you clearly have in your mind, you get a shot of dopamine. @thinktimetweets

We pursue goals that are clear and we feel happy about our accomplishments.  @thinktimetweets

Your brain is giving automatic feedback and energy boosts to areas with clear goals. @thinktimetweets

Most of us have clear goals at the gym and at work but we have no clear goals when it comes to other important areas of our lives. @thinktimetweets

Assess the clarity that you have created around different areas of your life. @thinktimetweets

Build clarity in more areas of your life with Think Time’s Think Zones. @thinktimetweets

You must see your goal clearly. @thinktimetweets

Just Say…Yes!

Every once in a while in the Wilson household you may hear us all break out into song.

One of our favorites is an old 80s ballad that goes a little something like this:

“You can’t always get what you want.

You can’t always get what you want.

You can’t always get what you want.

But if you try sometimes,

You might just find…

You get what you need.

You get what you need.”

I want to be thin and to eat all of those cookies.

I want to sleep in and accomplish my most important task.

I want to be financially independent and I also want that really cute outfit…now!

One of our favorite self management gurus, Rory Vaden, eloquently says, “A ‘yes’ to one thing is a ‘no’ to an infinite number of other things.”

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Not one of us likes to say “no.” However, once we wrap our minds around the fact that a simple “yes” to just one thing equals “no” to a whole host of other things, we can begin to choose our yeses more carefully.

Then, we can get more of what we really, really want.

Christine Wilson

Co-Founder, Think Time

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Think Time Life Leadership System

Use your whole brain to live your whole life.

Shop now at think-time.com.