Friday, February 27, 2009

Do Less for More

Does it never seem like you have enough time to get stuff done? Are you one of those people who need lists just to keep track of your lists? Do you ever describe yourself as a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None”?

Spreading ourselves too thin is a chronic illness that often starts from childhood. We either have trouble saying no, or we get into that mode of thinking where “if I don’t do it, it won’t get done.” Or we’re still chasing after our dreams, with no real idea where we’re going, so keep gambling, thinking that the “next thing” is gonna be IT.

The solution is not in doing one thing more… and you not going to get more time, no matter how much you wish for. What is going to get you MORE out of life, is actually in doing LESS.

To get the most benefit out of this, you’ll need either a notepad or a lot of paper to write on…

Taking Inventory

First thing to do before going on your Time Diet is to take inventory. Write down the THINGS you do. That’s stuff like “Work” or “Family.” You know, the big ticket items. Put them across the top of the page, since they’re your categories.

Next, under that write down your ACTIVITIES associated with those THINGS. Use as much paper as you need to. This is an inventory, after all. And no particular order, just however they come to mind… “soccer practice” … “write that report” … “feed the dog.” In fact, the activities might remind you of some other THINGS that didn’t come up before.

When you’ve done that, label it “Inventory” and set it aside.

Assessing your current situation

On your next set of pages, write down each of the THINGS one at a time, with two columns below that. One column is labeled “BENEFITS” and the other “COST.” Then really take you time with each one and think, “what do I get out of doing this?” (e.g. education, health, personal satisfaction) That’s your BENEFIT. “What do I have to give in order to have this?” (e.g. money, time, blood pressure) is your COST.

Looking forward

Do the same as your current situation, but instead do it for the things you would like to do. “Write a novel,” “learn to fly,” “spend more time with my family;” whatever it is. Just write those THINGS done and their BENEFITS and COSTS.

The Five R’s

Rate ‘em

Next set of pages, write down the list of THINGS as a list. Rate them with one of the following letters:

A- Must have in my life; brings me the most rewards

B- Must have in my life; but costs too much

C- Don’t need in my life.

At this phase just rate them. You don’t need to have so many A’s and so many C’s. Just rate them.

After that though, it’s time to number them, by order of importance to you. You cannot have ties. It’s A1, A2, A3… B1, B2… C1, C2, C3, etc. Each letter starts off with “1”

Remove ‘em

Here’s the quickest way to trim your life and get more time. Say goodbye to the C’s. If you needed them in your life, they wouldn’t have been rated a “C.” So you can just stop all the C’s at once, cold turkey… or if that seems too drastic for you, start at the lowest C (i.e. C10) and work your way up til you reach C1.

Reduce ‘em

Next look at the B list. You said it cost too much. Time to look at the BENEFITS of those B items and brainstorm ideas. Put these ideas on pages labeled “BRAINSTORMING”

Ask yourself “how can I get the same benefit for less cost?” Consider the local park as an alternative to the movies as a way to spend time with your family. The cost is definitely less, and the time will be more rewarding. Remember that you’re brainstorming, no idea is silly. You’re trying to find way to get the same benefits for less time and money and whatever else it costs you.

Things to note:

• You can rate each activity as well, not just the categories

• You can always reevaluate the A list at any time to see if they really are A’s

Recommit ‘em

You’re getting rid of C’s and B’s because of how important A’s are to you. Now is the time to recommit yourself to those A’s. The best way to prevent yourself from taking on more C’s is to spend most of your time doing A’s.

Replace ‘em

If you’ve cut out the C list and reduced the B list, you’re going to discover a big shift in your life. Not only will you will have more time for the A items, but you’ll also have time to do the things on your wish list. The only rule here is that you can only choose one of the A wish list items at a time. Bring it into your life, and go through this whole process of the five R’s again before doing even more.

The key is in doing less STUFF, and more of the things that enrich your life.

Rate, Remove, Reduce, Recommit and Replace, and you will be able to Regain your life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stay Tuned...

Your life is a song, played by an orchestra. You are the conductor. And like every great conductor, you have to make sure that everything is in tune, played together in harmony, with style and grace.

So what song is yours? And what does it take to get it all together?

All the things that make up a good orchestra can be compared to what makes up a good life. After all, music is an expression of our souls… so we have so much we can learn from those that make the music happen.



Every individual piece -- in fact, every individual note -- needs to be correct in order for the whole to be pure.

Is everything in my life being true to itself?



Does the note before it go with this one? And the next one? Does it make sense over time?

Am I living truthfully from moment to moment?



All the notes happening at the same time must go together.

Are the different aspects of my life working well with each other?



In an orchestra, you can't have one section take over the whole piece. There has to be a time for each area to express itself.

Am I giving equal time to everything in my life?



The value of the sound is all important to an orchestra. Is it full, rich, deep? Or thin and lonely sounding?

How fulfilling is what I'm doing in my life?



One beat off, and you immediately know that something is wrong with a song. The same goes for your life.

Am I doing everything WHEN I should?



Every orchestra makes the same music sound different. They add their own sense of rhythm, mood; a sense of character.

Am I expressing myself fully?


If your life isn't playing out like you want it to, remember that you are the conductor. You have a huge saying in how it comes out. A good conductor observes all that is going on in the present, and has a good understanding of how to direct it into the future.

Take control of this orchestra known as your Life, and let the world hear your song.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Not Yet Mended

Mended HeartDear Gurustu,

"Jason" and I broke up last Valentines Day after dating for three years. He really broke my heart. I started going out with "Kevin" a couple of times after we met at a Christmas party and this is our first Valentines Day together. I'm excited, but really scared. What do I do?


Not Yet Mended, Not Yet Dead.



Valentines can be a great time for people in love; it can also be a time of great sadness for those without love... or a time of great pressure to move the relationship to the next level. This relationship is fairly new, so take it slow.

Approach this date without expectations. It's not like last Valentine's Day and it won't be like your next one either. Kevin isn't Jason, so don't plan as if he is... and don't plan as if he isn't either. Just go and enjoy yourself.

Also, put him at ease. He might be just as scared and as pressured. That won't bring you two any closer. If you haven't said "I love you" yet, don't feel like you HAVE to. It's tricky, I know, cause you don't want to NOT say it, for fear that it will signal that you're not really willing to go in that direction. Just be honest with him. Open communication can bring you two closer together. And if he knows he doesn't have to say or do anything but be with you, it might be all you need to have a fully loving relationship by next Valentines.

Just be true.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Resolutions Revisited

Last month sure was inspirational, huh? You had all those plans laid out... even knew exactly how you were going to achieve those goals. That's why they're called resolutions, right? …because you RESOLVED to change your life.

So how's it coming? Did you start? Did you achieve your goals? Are you still doing what you said you were?

The average resolution lasts for a couple of weeks. It usually dies because you really did plan on putting too much life into it in the first place. Your schedule went back to the old way, the cheese danish just looked too good to pass up, "you don't understand, it's not that easy!"

Well, no; most resolutions aren't easy. They don't happen overnight. But just because you may have slipped, or even given up by now, it's not too late to make NEW resolutions, instead of New YEARS resolutions.

First thing, whether you've been successful or not so far, take the time to review the past month. What have you been doing differently? What results have you seen?

Next, make adjustments to your plans. Plans, after all, are just guidelines. Tweaking them as they go along will suit your life better; and not force you into an all-or-nothing situation. Can't really get to the gym three times a week? How about a walking program one night a week after dinner?

And then just get back to it. If you've been sticking to it, congratulate yourself and just keep at it. If you've slipped a little (or a lot) just pretend the last month didn't happen, and start the resolutions THIS month.

Seriously, we're talking about your LIFE here… your WHOLE life.. and that's more time than the days between News Years and today… so revisit, review and revitalize those resolutions.

Happy Year!!