It’s no secret that 2016 was a big crap storm for me! I wrote about it here, cried to my therapist a.k.a assistant, and close friends, I even posted some of it on social media. The more I talked to people, the more I heard that 2016 was rough for a lot of people. By December 31, I had read more articles, memes, and emails from others saying the same thing!
They wanted to pour some gasoline, light a match and torch the dumpster that was 2016.
Here we are, nearly 6 months past the black hole that was our lives and guess what!! Life doesn’t always get easier! Sure there are peaks along the way, but regardless of the year, shit is going to happen. I’m not a negative nelly! I acknowledge when good things happen, but come on, Pollyanna! Not every day is sunshine and rainbows!
I have experienced highs and lows over the past few months. One thing I’ve come to learn is that life, as much as we want it to, is not predictable. As much as I want to control the actions of others and the outcome of situations, I am not that powerful! (Though I like to think I am!) Instead, I found that time blocking saved my life!
Here’s the deal!
We cannot, nor will ever be able to, control the actions of others. However, we can control our own actions.
Through an insane few months of travel, personal situations and life in general, there is one thing that has kept me from losing my freaking mind. Are you ready for it? It’s probably going to blow your mind! Maybe not blow your mind, so much as make you wonder why you didn’t think of it, too!
It’s called block and tackle. A term I learned from my business coach Todd Herman. In every meeting, training or call I’ve been on, he reminds me that our brains were not made to context switch.
Let’s be real for a minute. How many times have we prided ourselves on our ability to multi-task? Try every conversation you have, trying to impress someone! Something that Todd taught me is that I need to be intentional with my time. That’s where block and tackle comes into play.
If our brains were truly made to multi-task, then we’d have completed every project we start. But how many times have you started a project, only to get distracted and add it to the pile of half-finished projects? My guess is quite often.
So what does block and tackle have to do with difficult days? Simple. If something is on my calendar, I treat it as an appointment. Everything from showering to returning phone calls to reviewing my work for the day. I don’t skip it. I have made a commitment and I need to honor it.
Everything I do in my day is scheduled. I even schedule interruptions. How so? I block time in my calendar to return the unexpected phone call or put out an urgent fire. Want to hear something completely scandalous? I even turn off my notifications! *gasp* In order to succeed, I must, must, must schedule my interruptions. If that means turning off slack, so I can write an email sequence, then so be it.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. I know that things are going to come up, so I plan for them.
Am I able to put out fires while I’m in the shower getting ready for my day? I’m gonna say a hard no on that one! Instead, I know that at a specific time in my day, I will address all of the unexpected things that will come across my desk.
Gone are the anxiety filled days, wondering when I would get to finish x, y, and z. I have a plan and during the hard days, I know that I have to keep the appointments I’ve made with myself. I close my computer at the end of the day feeling proud of myself.
I have a sense of pride knowing that I accomplished what I set out to do. Had it not been for the brilliant mind of Todd Herman, pushing me to capture this mindset, I’d still be spinning my wheels!
Do you want to plan your day using the block and tackle method? I created a sample block and tackle calendar for you. Use this free PDF as a guideline to structure your day.
While this won’t stop the difficult days, it will help you manage life through them.