It’s Spring, and it just so happens to be that time of the year when we are beginning to feel the burnout of being so disciplined from January until now. Sound familiar? Unless you’ve got a goal that you are staring in the face that is giving you life every time you go to the gym, you probably need a little motivation. With the upcoming release of my newest book Two Dreams and a Goal: The Second Colorfully Candid Diary, I’ve been a little obsessed with the difference between the two. I think Napoleon Hill’s statement sums it up best, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” If you need a push, it’s time to place a deadline on that dream or, at least, set benchmarks as you accomplish little things leading up to the big hoorah. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
What qualifies me to speak into this part of your life? As a youth pastor, novelist, speaker, non-profit executive, military wife, and mentor to a lot of young lives, I feel burnout as often as anyone else. If you’re anything like me, there are some days when I would rather scroll endlessly through Instagram, binge-watch TV, or just stare at a wall than do any work, but if we are honest, that only leaves us feeling worse after we realize all of the work we have left to do. It’s time to reel in the drawn out conversations that we use as an excuse to procrastinate with friends and co-workers. Hide the phone. Turn off the TV. And face the music. After all, who wants to look up and find that they are in the same place at the end of the year as they were in the beginning?
Proverbs 6:6-8 shares that we should look at the work ethic of an ant when we’re in doubt about what to do. Even though they have no one checking in on them, they work tirelessly during the summer to store up food for the winter. It’s summer y’all – figuratively, anyway. Consider incorporating the following strategies into your daily routine:
Evaluate your time-tracking and management methods. Are they really working? Be honest. Even though a lot of people love to track their time on their phones, it doesn’t work for me. I don’t need ANOTHER reason to be on my phone! If you find you’re in the same position, go shopping for a really pretty planner that makes you want to fill it up with lots of memos and ideas.
When you feel unmotivated to track your time early in the week, or if you happen to fall off by Tuesday, establish a habit of tracking activities you completed daily. Seeing what you have already accomplished will motivate you to keep going.
Tackle the stuff that bothers you the most, first. You’ll feel good when you finish the hard stuff and everything else will seem easier.
At the start of each month, determine a specific number of meetings, fellowships, and networking events you will entertain throughout the month. Once you define the priorities that mean the most to you in this season, the time you spend on them will be more enriching. I found so much more available time when I limited the number of meetings I attend to three. Not only did I eliminate the time that I spent traveling to each meeting, but I also had to think more carefully about the purpose of the meetings I chose to attend.
This last one is an oldie, but a goodie, and I just couldn’t leave it off. Identify a reward at the end of the tunnel, and keep it in front of you. Change that screensaver if you have to. After all, what happens when you accomplish that goal? What happens when you have that hard conversation with that difficult person at work that you’ve been putting off for days? What happens when you finally lose those inches? What happens when you write the first chapter? Celebrate sis, celebrate! Rest a little, and then get back to work.
I’d love to know what other time management hacks you incorporate into your everyday life. Let’s grow together. I’m always learning and it would be great to pick up some new skills. You can never have too many. Continue this conversation with me on social media @candidliv.