To do this, I recommend engaging the visual-thinking part of your brain. Here are three ways you can use visual thinking to make time more tangible.
Use a Time Timer. Decide ahead of time what time you want to finish a task, walk out the door, finish a speech, etc. Set your Time Timer for that time. The diminishing color communicates more effectively to the ADHD mind than an analog timer. It’s really effective.
Time Block Your Routines. Practice timing your regular activities and keep track of how long things actually take in a chart on a Free Space page in your Think Time Planner. Once you have a pretty good idea of how long these activities take, time block and color your routine activities into your Routine Worksheet. You may prevent problems as you discover that your 30 minute workout actually requires an hour with prep time and a shower afterward.
Sort your To Dos. Once you have selected your most important tasks, separate them into the three categories in the Decide Phase of your Think Time Planner: immediate, short term, and long-term. But don’t stop there. Color the immediate column red, the short term column yellow and the long term column green. By visually separating these into these three categories – you can “see” what you need to attend to immediately, what helps you make tomorrow smoother, and what will help you toward your long term goals.
Don’t fall victim to impulsivity or procrastination ever again!
Use color as you plan to help your brain process and prioritize important tasks so you can feel the confidence you are getting the right things done.
Do you have time but still struggle to get the right things done? How can you find time for what matters most when life gets in the way?
Here’s what you have told me. You believe there are two primary things that keep you from living on purpose and achieving your goals.
#1 more time
#2 improved focus.
These two needs are critical for your goals and are actually very, very intwined. Let me explain.
Have you ever had a million things to do and the deadline was upon you? Do you remember that you “got it all done?” It may have seemed like a miracle, but things just “worked out.”
Dr. Cal Newport, author of Deep Work, suggests that intensity can be traded for time.
“Intensity can be traded for time.”
-Dr. Cal Newport
That is, if you are more intense, you can accomplish more in less time. On the other hand, if you are low on energy or highly distracted and unfocused, you lose a LOT of time.
Dr. Newport’s formula could be described in mathematical terms as time = intensity
time = intensity
To get more time, up your intensity–just like you would when the pressure is on and the deadline is fast approaching.
To help you get traction with Dr. Newport’s idea, I want you to break it down another step.
What is intensity?
Intensity increases when you have increased energy and increased focus in a singular direction.
To explain this mathematically, I defining intensity as “energy x focus.”
So, time = energy x focus
The next time you feel over whelmed that you have so much to do and so little time, don’t get discouraged and wish for a day in the future in which you will have more time. Instead, get strategic. How can you boost your energy and your focus toward the goal for which you wish you had time?
Don’t get discouraged. Get strategic!
-Christine Wilson, LPC
With this formula, you can create practical strategies to find more time in your life for your dreams & goals.
Let’s start with one strategy to boosting your energy—self-care.
When was the last time you were hoping for more time and decided you needed to go to bed earlier, build more exercise into your routine, or make wise eating decisions? Well, good job if you did. It is one of the most strategic ways to boost both your focus and your energy–which gives you more time.
If you are like many people, often, when you want to accomplish a big goal, self care is the first thing to go on the back burner. However, this works against you–causing you to lose valuable time–just when you need it the most. The energy you gain from good sleep, exercise, and nutrition propels you toward your goals and allows you to accomplish your goals faster because you have more energy available.
Think about how many goals can remain on hold when you “don’t have the energy.” Don’t let this happen to you! Use this idea of taking time to boost your energy to your advantage so you can achieve your goals.
Next, let’s talk about a strategy to boost your focus.
Often, when people feel like they have a lot to do, they get a quick idea of generally where they want to go and just dive in. They think, “There is no time to lose. I need to start right now!” Well, this impulse is exactly the wrong way to boost your results.
Here’s why: When you dive into a project without clarity, you can waste your best energy on low-results activities that leave you empty for what matters most.
When you dive into a project without clarity, you can waste your best energy on activities that don’t move the needle–leaving nothing left for what matters most.
On the other hand, when you take time at the beginning to develop a crystal clear clarity around your goal…so clear you can feel it…research shows you are less vulnerable to distractions and more likely to achieve your goal.
Being distracted SLOWS YOU DOWN. So, diving right in causes you to lose time in the long run. Stepping aside to develop a compelling clarity around your goal helps you get the best results by focusing your best efforts on high results-yielding activities.
Retirement strategist Chris Hogan calls this Dreaming in Hi-Definition. When you paint such a clear picture of what you want that you can taste and see it, your focus is boosted and distractions simply do not hold as much sway. You gain time.
This is why energy Think Time Planners and Courses help you improve your energy and boost your focus so you can find the time you need to succeed.
You may be thinking that you don’t need to be strategic like this. You just need to try harder. Let’s talk about that. Unfortunately, trying harder will not help you achieve your goals. Here’s why.
There is a problem.
Research shows that 90% of the thoughts you have today are the same thoughts you had yesterday. This means that if you like the results you are getting, then, yes, do more of the same.
However, if you need to overcome an obstacle, change a pattern, or solve a problem, you need to think differently. How do you think different thoughts? You need a guide to help you think about your thinking. When you do this, Psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud says, “When you think about your thinking… Voila! New neural pathways begin to form!”
And, when new neural pathways begin to form, new ways of being and doing are born. New paths can be explored and experienced. Your changed behaviors and new solutions are on their way!
This is the big “why” behind taking time to think-time. Improved thinking leads to improved results.
In my next e-mail, I will be sharing another important strategy to include in your goal achievement toolbox. I will share a tip that can help you avoid losing up to 23 minutes every time this happens. It is so critical to your success and will help you maintain the boosted energy and focus you need to succeed. So, keep your eye on your inbox for this!
How often do you take time to consider how you can boost your energy?⠀
You may not often think of what a game-changer good energy is, but it is soooo important. I love the way performance psychologist Jim Loehr says it: “Energy is life!” If you have poor energy, you miss out on life itself.
Truly, the amount of energy you bring to a task or a relationship makes all of the difference. Yet in the busyness of your day to day life, you could be depleting this most valuable asset instead of restoring it.
Think Time Planner helps you process your life so you can live on purpose in a distracting world–and part of living on purpose is boosting your energy so you can show up well. By combining creative thinking and mindfulness with productivity, you can see your life in a more complete sphere so you can not only be confident are you getting more done in less time, but you can also be confident you are getting the RIGHT THINGS done.
Today, I want to show you how you can boost your energy levels with your Think Time Planner.
1 Get More Sleep. Use the Review section to become mindful of what is working and what is not working as you seek to get more sleep. Then, use these insights to create your Dream Routine and time block this directly onto your weekly calendar. To add a visual boost, time block your sleep by coloring in those hours with a charcoal gray oil pastel or dry-brush paint black to claim them for sleep.
2 Reduce Your Stress. When you have a lot of unresolved thoughts, your brain works overtime to find a place to put them. It can be exhausting to have so much on your mind. That’s why I created the Daily Planner ThinkPad. Every morning when you wake up, use your Daily Planner to get on paper everything that is on your mind and create a clear plan for your day so you can reduce your stress and move into your day with calm confidence. (Learn more techniques to reduce your stress in my course From Chaos to Confidence.)
3 Get on the Move. Building exercise into your routine is a keystone habit to boost your energy. Each quarter, use your “Health” Concept Cloud to mind map all of your ideas for getting more exercise. Raise your chances of success by moving the best ideas into your Dream Routine. Raise your chances of success even more by inviting your friends or family to join you. (You can learn more tips for creating Routines that Support Your Long-Term Goals in my Course Cut Through the Noise.)
Your weekly plan for boosting your energy may never be 100% perfect. That’s okay. Your Think Time Planner is the place where you identify what you would do if you had total control. Then, you flex with your real life and record your journey along the way in the Review area.
Life happens. And, that is okay.
Your goal is to control what is within your control by creating ideal rhythms and routines that help support your dreams and goals. Over time, you will become who you want to be across many areas of your life. This week, don’t miss out on your life because of a lack of energy, focus on boosting your energy so you can infuse more life into the tasks and relationships that matter most to you.
How do you plan to boost your energy this week?
Cheering you on!
p.s. Don’t let the distractions of life get in the way of your dreams and goals.
Think through the lenses of anyone you choose: How do you want to be remembered by the people in your life?
Instead of looking at your to-dos head on this morning, align yourself with your values by beginning your day with this simple question.
Allow it to shape your day today and see what a difference it makes in the small choices throughout the day.
What suddenly looks important that didn’t seem so important five minutes ago?
What suddenly seems unimportant that seemed important five minutes ago?
By this simple exercise, you can shift your entire day.
Don’t let your days be highjacked by things that seem important but really aren’t. Make the most of your life and your time by aligning your activities with what matters most. Simply taking 2 minutes to ask yourself the right question can shift your decision making and change your life.
Always start with your ultimate destination first.
This gives you MORE TIME for what you VALUE MOST.
Feel the tension
When you look at your values, you may immediately hear yourself saying, “I am only one person.” Or, “I don’t have time.” Or, “I can’t…” Or, “Maybe later, when ___ is different.”
If this is the case, acknowledge that you do have limited time and resources; but also affirm that you still want to make a difference of some sort. (And, you don’t know how many days you will be given.)
Now, this is where it gets fun.
You are holding two seemingly opposing desires in your mind at once. This is a keystone skill in creative thinking that helps you get clear on what you really want. (Sharpen your creative thinking skills here.)
When you get super clear on what you want–even if it involves solving a problem…research shows your subconscious mind gets to work to find a solution for you–even when you are not consciously trying!
After you have clarified what you want–even if you don’t have an answer of how you will do it–keep a voice app or a small notebook with you to record the ideas that come into your mind.
Now, do something. Pick something from the selection of ideas that you have.
It’s okay if you need to start small.
It’s better to start small than to not start at all.
Even starting with 5 minutes can make a difference in the world.
Who you are
Where you are
When you are
For an irreplaceable purpose.
If you don’t do this, who will?
Don’t let the limiting thoughts of “I don’t have time or I am only one person; I can’t make a difference.” or “I don’t have time” or “I can’t…” stop you.
Give it some think-time and get clarity now!
p.s. Don’t let the distractions of life steal your dreams and goals any longer. Buy a Think Time Planner today!
Last week, I talked about how much work it takes to create clarity and calm, and I shared the example of cleaning up my kids’ closets.
This week I want to talk about the hard work it takes to not put the effort in to create clarity in our lives.
When I don’t have clarity in an area such as a closet, I can get by for a little while without feeling the effects of it. However, it catches up with me. And it usually catches up with me when it really matters.
It’s usually when all six of us are trying to get out the door, and we can’t find that one shoe.
Or all the categories in my kids drawers are flowing into each other so they can’t really identify and access what they need quickly.
These few minutes didn’t seem to matter when nothing big is happening, but you know how it is… things aren’t a big deal until they’re a big deal.
Do you know what I mean?
It’s usually those five minutes that makes you awkwardly late for something so super special!!You would never have consciously traded those priceless five minutes of watching your niece perform her dance routine or arriving early to grab the opportunity to chat with the CEO before the meeting…
You would not have thought… “I choose to be disorganized and unintentional over those things.”
But there it is.That’s exactly what happened.You missed it.You can’t get it back.The opportunity was there, and now it is gone.
I think the same holds true for how we organize our time. We can overcommit for a while, and we don’t feel the effects.Our life becomes like a messy sock drawer.We just don’t know exactly where things go.Sometimes we can find a lucky match.But sometimes we can’t.And we don’t always know when we will slip by by the skin of our teeth and when we will fall flat on our face.:/
Because we didn’t put the time and effort into creating clarity, we’re just really shooting from the hip—not really being intentional about the results of our actions.
This may work for a while, but eventually the effects will show.
Our work maybe come sloppy.
Our health may decline.
People who would open up to us and share was going on in their lives may not simply because of our lack of eye contact and perceived disinterest…since we are consumed with being overwhelmed.
The nutrition, rest, and exercise that we need to thrive may not be a part of our regular routine.
We may be doing the wrong thing at the wrong time or a good thing instead of the best thing.
This type of living leads to that feeling of being under an endless pile of to dos. A lot of work is being done, but because the high results activities are being done first, there’s just not a lot to show for all the effort it’s been put into the activities.
This type of living is exhausting.
It’s reactive instead of proactive.
It simply does not produce the results anyone wants.
We would not choose to do this hard work again because of the fruit it did not bear.
We don’t see fruit.
We are just exhausted.And there is little or nothing to show for it.
It is a lot of work.
But, it does not lead to peace.
And, it is not productive.
It’s just hard work.
It’s the result of putting in the hard work—the wrong way.
It doesn’t have to be this way, but for so many people it is.
To learn more about how you can step out of this cycle of working endlessly without getting the results you want, check out our Think Time Life-Coaching Planners. The insightful questions and space to be creative allow you to clarify what matters most to you and live your life focused on it.
The process guides you to put the hard work in to develop clarity so that you can have peace and productivity after the hard work of creating clarity.
Why keep doing hard work that only causes you to spin your wheels…exhausted and getting nowhere!?!
There is a better way, and it can be learned.
You do not have to live another day reacting, working hard, and getting nowhere.
Are you ready for a change?
p.s. Have you ever wanted to have a life-coach, but didn’t know where to start? A little think-time can change your life.
“Dream in High Definition.” This is the way Chris Hogan explains it.
I love this word picture!
Chris helps people to plan for retirement.But. He doesn’t do it in the traditional numbers, spreadsheets and lines format—which is why he is so compelling.
He coaches his people to dream—to dream with a vision so clear that will change everything about the way they do everything.
What type of life do they want when they retire?
Do they want to travel? Do they want to generously give? Do they want to leave an inheritance for their families?
I recently listened to him share this idea with an audience of entrepreneurs.
To illustrate this point, he described an experience of going into a store to pick out a new TV for his house with his son. He said some of the high definition screens were so big and so clear you could see the sweat drop on the football player’s face before it left the pore.
This is how clearly he wants his people to see their dreams.
The reason Chris encourages people to get clear on their dreams is because he knows that once you have clarity on your dreams, everything else changes.
Without the dream, nothing changes.
What is your dream?
Are you moving through the dream phase in your Think Time Life Coaching Planner each week to add clarity to what you really want? This is THE starting point for real life change and growth.
This is the only way you will get there.
Give it some think-time.
Your dreams will change everything.
p.s. Have you ever wanted to have a life-coach, but didn’t know where to start? A little think-time can change your life.
So much thought and effort is put into determining the bottom line of corporations and organizations.
Each department has an allocated budget of resources, personnel, time, and money; and for best results, every department needs to be operating well.
Every effort and expenditure in the following year is directed by these bottom lines, and they are determined by a clear vision of where each department wants to go.
The same is true with your life.
Have you thought lately about the different areas of your life?
Have you taken time to create a clear vision of where you want to go?
Do you recognize that if one area is not operating well, all of the other areas of your life will be impacted?
What are the bottom lines for each area of your life?
Do you have the tools that will help you create a realistic plan that will strategically get you there?
Think Time Life-Coaching Planners include an exercise that prompts you to consider what you really want in eight key areas of your life: spiritual, health, money, work, personal, family, relationships, and service.
This exercise, called Think Zones, is included once per quarter and once per year to help you to really clarify what matters most to you in each of these areas.
Getting clear on what you really want is the first step toward defining your “bottom line” in each area of your life.
The rest of the Think Time process helps you to create a strategic plan to get there.
Your life certainly deserves as much time, attention, and intentionality as any organization.
Want to try the Think Zones exercise? For a limited time, it is available as a one-page PDF download in our store. Get it here.
p.s. Have you ever wanted to have a life-coach, but cannot afford it? A little think-time can change your life.
Well-lived lives leave a legacy of both great results and great relationships. This is why the “Do” Phase of Think Time prompts you to consider both when you make your plans.
Over a decade ago, Mark Miller, now VP of High Performance Leadership at Chik-fil-A, generously shared a new book he co-authored with Ken Blanchard with my classmates and myself in my small graduate Creativity class in Dallas. His book, The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do contains a million servant-leadership gems. I wholly recommend it.
Within the book, Miller lays out a model of what great leadership looks like. He describes how great leaders “S-E-R-V-E.” While I will encourage you to buy the book to discover the rest of the secrets, I will spoil one of them for you here. The “V” in his model is that great leaders Value Results and Relationships.
This principle is a core theme in the Think Time 3DR Process. Every time you mind-dump or brain-storm your to-dos, you are also encouraged to do the same for your to-bes…the activities that build into your soul and make you who you are.
The last thing you want to do is reach your goals…alone. You want to bring other people along. You were designed for relationships. Psychologist Henry Cloud says that our brains were made to run on three things: “oxygen, glucose, and relationships.”
While there are millions of positive ways to value relationships, I have pulled together five quick and applicable ways that you can value relationships in your life today.
1. Initiate. People want to get together. Unfortunately, however, most people are reacting to circumstances around them and are not being proactive to initiate being together. This is especially challenging in our digital age. Be the one who initiates getting together with those in your life. If you are lonely, and even if you’re not, initiate regular connection with those in your life. Go to coffee. Go golfing. Catch a game. Do dinner.
2. Put Your Phone on Airplane Mode. When you get together with other people, remember that our brains and bodies are wired for connection with others through eye contact and responsive communication. Studies are showing that when we are distracted, we can misinterpret body language and intentions. This misinterpretation can lead to inaccurate responses and decreased connection. So, while you are in the presence of others, BE in the presence of others.
3. Don’t Gossip. When you have an issue with people in your life (which you will if you are living closely and honestly in connection with others) do your best to resolve your conflict directly with the other person. In their seminal work Boundaries, Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend describe a type of communication that is a relationship-killer. It is called triangulation. Essentially, when Person A and Person B conflict, triangulation occurs when Person A does not resolve directly with Person B. Instead, he or she talks about the conflict to Person C. While it can feel easier in the short run to get things “off your chest” and to have people “on your side,” it is better in the long run to honor the other person with timely, gentle, and direct communication with a focus on resolution. Be careful not to gossip.
4. Forgive. As you seek to resolve conflict with another person, at times the relationship will be fully restored. At other times it will not. Either way, it is imperative that you do the difficult work to forgive. Unforgiveness is poison to your body, your soul, and your relationships. Do the hard personal and spiritual work to ask yourself if you are forgiving others when (not if) they wrong you. This inner work will pay amazing outer dividends.
5. Have Fun. Do things you enjoy with the people in your life. Life is moving fast. If it feels like you don’t have time today to do what you love with those you love, you need to pause and consider your priorities. If you don’t have time today, , you probably won’t have time tomorrow. So, carve out the time today to prioritize having fun with people in your life.
Think Time 3DR Program
Life is moving fast. You are losing valuable time. We have created an innovative process that helps you to dream bigger, get more time for what matters most, and become who you want to be.