Stay on track when distracted

Stay on track when distracted

A client of mine recently had some news about her health. It’s an ongoing situation, which can probably be managed, but might turn out to be serious.

She’s got quite a bit to process and has to invest time and energy in various activities in support of her short- and long-term health.

In this situation, it would be easy for her to coast along or neglect her goals, but she still wants to stay on track at work, and continue to invest time and energy in to various creative endeavours in her spare time.

We talked through lots of ways she could do this. Here’s her whittled down list of strategies:

  • Start each day, week and month with a simply-written plan (including health, work and creativity in that order)
  • Regularly review the plan and remove things that aren’t critical (which will allow for the following 2 points)
  • Build in a little extra time for emergency busy periods at work
  • Build in a little extra time for rest, recovery and reflection
  • Reduce alcohol to bare minimum so sleep is of better quality and early mornings are easy
  • Cut high-intensity cardio and replace with yoga and walking.

Your assignment

  1. Allow yourself some time to dig deep and reflect on what’s keeping you from achieving your goals. Distractions I hear often from my clients include: kids’ exams, school holidays, elderly parents, money, sick pet… What are yours? (They can be trivial or vital—and remember, labelling something ‘a distraction’ doesn’t detract from its seriousness or importance in your life.) Make a list. Spend a bit of time doing this. Sometimes we can squash down our worries, because they’re uncomfortable to face, so be gentle with yourself.
  2. Make a plan that suits you:
  3. Add things that are in support of your goal or bring joy to your life. Examples my clients have suggested:
    1. See mentor once a month outside work hours
    2. Prioritise networking within working day
    3. Block 30-minutes strategic thinking time into work diary every day
    4. Put in request for training course
    5. Book a piano lesson
    6. Book a weekend away
  4. Cut out or limit things that neither serve your goal nor add enjoyment to your life. Examples my clients have suggested:
    1. limit social media to a specific time and for a maximum of 15 minutes/day
    2. limit TV to 1 hour/day
    3. go to bed one hour earlier
    4. get up 30 minutes earlier
    5. two walks per week with a friend (note: ‘exercise more / socialise more’ is too woolly—be specific)
  5. Test the plan, notice what works, tweak accordingly and relax if things go awry; tomorrow’s another day.

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