An irregular work schedule can make it difficult to optimize your life. I know because for most of my life I’ve worked irregular hours. First as a server and bartender, and now as a system operator for an electric company.
In a few weeks I leave shift-work behind for a “9-to-5” opportunity. In celebration of a new journey, I want to share best tool I’ve used to improve my life over the last few years, despite the challenges of an irregular work schedule.
I am a recovering perfectionist. Or more accurately, I am a perfectionist who occasionally ends up in rehab, quitting perfection cold turkey, and remembering that life can still be beautiful with a glass half full.
In my many relapses into the mindful abyss of perfectionism, I’ve learned some strategies that help break me from my mental prison.
Goals and objectives are often used in the same context, but I find it useful to separate them. A goal is a specific outcome I want to achieve; an objective is a defined step towards achieving that goal.
The purpose of objectives is to break a goal into manageable parts. Smaller goals are easier to manage and may only have a single set of objectives. Larger goals may need to be broken down into layers of objectives.
Last week I outlined my seven priorities, the big picture for my life. With those priorities in mind, I am constantly setting goals. If the priority is the vision, the goal is the direction.
Goals are specific outcomes I want to achieve. I have long-term goals like, “Live and work in another country by 2030.” I also have short-term goals like, “Publish a free resource guide for my blog by the end of 2014.”
When I near the end a busy work day, I usually have unfinished business. There are tasks I haven’t completed, e-mails I haven’t responded to, and an uncertainty hanging over my head. After all this work today, how much progress have my team and I made towards our key deliverables?
Instead of powering through to the end like I used to do, I finally adopted a strategy that clears my head, lets me leave work at work so I can shift my focus to other priorities, and leaves me ready to effectively take on tomorrow.
We got home Tuesday morning around 1:00 am from a long weekend in Chicago. It was a fantastic trip visiting family and friends, celebrating an early birthday, and trekking north into Wisconsin to witness a heartfelt wedding. These trips are what life is all about.
Photo courtesy of: http://www.freeimages.com/gallery/eastop
The trip landed in the middle of a very busy project at work. To justify the time off, I put in extra hours for weeks before the red-eye flight out of town last Thursday. And as much as I wanted to take Tuesday off for a day of recovery, it just wasn’t possible.
This the final part in a three-part series on designing your perfect week. You can read the first post: here
William Jennings Bryan said about destiny: “It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” Achieving your destiny starts with some lofty goals, broken down into strategic objectives, and executed in manageable tasks.
Screen shot of my perfect week calendar
Whether your life is so busy you can hardly find time for your goals, or so free that you struggle with focus, to get more done towards achieving your destiny, you must design your perfect week. Here are the six steps I use:
This the second in a three-part series on designing your perfect week. You can read the first post: here
Have you ever wondered, “Where did all the time go?” If you are a high achiever, trying to break out of the normal life, then you probably ask that question every day. When you’re staring up at that tall peak where you’re wildest dreams sit do you wonder, “How can I possibly get there with so much to do?” The secret is to separate your visioning from your working by designing a perfect week in advance.
I started writing the step-by-step guide on designing your perfect week by covering why it is so important to design your perfect week. There were so many questions to elaborate on that it has become a post on its own. The guide is just a post away, but if your not totally convinced yet, or are simply excited to see what a perfect week can do for you, read on for my top 5 reasons.
It’s Monday morning again. The coffee pot is bubbling up that last bit of water as I come down the stairs. My mini cast-iron pan is waiting for me on the stove. In goes a spoon full of coconut oil, a couple scoops of veggies, chopped and pre-cooked yesterday, a couple farm-fresh eggs, sea salt, and a few dashes of random spices. Yawn… A few sips of coffee later and my breakfast is on the plate. My perfect week is starting… perfectly.
I believe strongly in the importance of a good plan. Would an architect begin building a house without a blueprint? Of course not. And likewise you shouldn’t begin your week without a plan. I am finalizing a post that outlines the steps to design your perfect week. But before we get there, let’s get back to my perfect Monday…
For most of my life, I’ve struggled with time management. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done while still having some margin to enjoy life and stay healthy. If you’re trying to improve your life, I’m sure you struggle with the same thing: how can I possibly get it all done?
Right now, I’m contributing value in a very demanding full-time job, building a business around this blog, writing a book on career change, working on a project around entrepreneurship, keeping abreast on several investment newsletters, all while sticking with my daily exercise routine, spending quality time with my wife Olga and family and friends, and making time for rest. I know it probably sounds impossible, but suspend your doubts for a moment. I’ll show you that you can accomplish far more than you think, and easier than you ever imagined, if you intentionally move the bar one small step at a time.