Clutter challenge day 2: the schedule

Last week I started off the clutter challenge with the list; setting aside the time every day to download the mental clutter you’ve been carrying so that you get a chance to clear your mind. Today’s challenge is about what to do once you have that list.

I like to go through the lists after I’ve been doing it for a few days and make a note of all the recurring items that come up routinely in my life. For instance: exercising, cleaning the house, putting aside time for my family, doing the things that I like to do, setting aside time to work on the business. These things are constantly on my mind; I always feel like I should be doing more of it, and basically they’re items that aren’t just a one-time deal, like booking that vacation. This helps me answer the question, “what do I need to be making time for in my life?” Because honey, let me just tell you now that no matter how genuine our intentions or interest, these days if we don’t schedule it on the iPhone reminder, it’s just never going to happen, am I right?

Now I know this next statement may sound a little…well, crazy to many of you, but for some of us it’s completely necessary. I block out a schedule for my life. Yes, a schedule for my life.

Before you start freaking out thinking I’m trying to take all the spontaneity out of our earthly adventures, let me just assure you that I’m not. Even though spontaneity and I are not always the best of friends, I do realize that it has its place and it’s importance in order to make life worth living. But just like that clutter list, if we never set aside the time to focus on whatever it is we’re trying to do in this world, something else will always come up and distract you, and then ten years have gone by and you’re left wondering whatever happened to all those big ideas of yours.

I actually block out my entire week, Monday to Sunday, and schedule out when I’m going to be doing what so that I’m forced to think about how much time I’m spending in certain areas and what needs my attention most. I make thirty minute blocks for every hour of my day and I fill every block with what should be a typical week. Now I don’t do this for every week; I have one calendar that shows how I spend my Mondays, my Tuesdays, my Wednesdays, etc., and I follow that every week, keeping flexibility so that I’m not a total robot and I can actually live my life. For example, every weekday I get up and I put in time on the business, whatever I may be doing for that day. Then I get ready for work, make my commute, work and come home. When I get home, I’m usually cleaning, paying bills or exercising somehow, just depending on what day of the week it is. Now let me be clear; even though I’ve got this scheduled so that I make sure it happens, if my girlfriend calls me up on a Tuesday afternoon and wants to meet for dinner, of course I let myself do that. But if I don’t have any plans, I typically stick to the schedule.

I know this may sound totally rigid to some of you, but just like the clutter list, I would urge you to try it. Not only do you set aside time to do what you need to do and what you want to be doing, but you also get to see the big picture of how you’re spending your time, otherwise known as your priorities, and that in itself can work some wonders. So just try it for a week and see if you feel like you’re more in control of your life, because when that happens, baby, there’s no stopping you.

And if you’ve been trying the clutter list, let me know how it’s going! I know it’s difficult to set aside the time every day, but it’s like a diet. Don’t beat yourself up for missing a day; just start back up with it the next.

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