What not to do every day

It seems like scheduling every minute would be the logical way to get everything done, but it actually tends to work against you.

by Kathy Gates — 

With time flying by faster and faster every day, you already know how important it is to plan your daily schedule ahead of time. However, it is equally important to know what not to do. Add some “do nots” to your day, and see how it helps with all those “dos.”

Do not over schedule your day. It seems like scheduling every minute would be the logical way to get everything done, but it actually tends to work against you. Some things will take longer than you expected, because there will be interferences that you cannot predict. If you are scheduled to the max, you will have no room to absorb the interruptions. Aim for about 75 percent scheduled and 25 percent free to give yourself flexibility within your structure.

Do not say “yes” to everything. Saying yes to everything is like cholesterol — it clogs your day with stuff you do not want there. Doing other people’s work, answering annoying phone calls, deleting junk e-mails. If you want to read a book, say “no” to TV and the Internet. If you want to start a home business, say “no” to things that waste your time. If you want to lose weight, say “no” to Frito-Lay and Sara Lee. Simple as that (note I did not say easy, I said simple).

Do not trade what you want at the moment for what you want most. That extra 20 minutes of sleep in the morning might seem like the best thing since peanut butter, but you know it will only make you late, and then cause you to play catch-up the rest of the day. That new pair of shoes may seem like the last pair you will ever need, but if it makes the rent money tight, it is not worth it. Think about the long-term effects of your actions today.

Do not get duped with “I can have it all” ideas. Having it all is certainly possible, either by having it at different times in your life, or by having a whole lot of help — think Kelly Ripa or Katie Couric. Their few spare minutes are certainly not spent grocery shopping or doing laundry. So please lose the Super-Woman mentality attached to it.

Do not get trapped in microwave mentality. Things take time. Appreciate the various stages of projects and goals, as well as the outcomes. Ever notice a rose in bud form? Its beauty is special — no need to wait until the rose is opened to enjoy it. A relationship can change, being just as beautiful and enjoyable at one stage as another. So it should also be with your goals, whether long-term or short. Learn from the mistakes, learn to enjoy the lessons and make each day as special as the end result.

Do not give up. Never give up. When you mess up, or when the wind of life comes barreling in unannounced — and it will — being as prepared as possible will give you the strength to be able to move on. If you lose your job suddenly, having a reserve of money will ease the transition into a new job and give you the power to wait to find the right one. When it seems like there is no answer, push on. The answer may be just around the next corner. Do not let fear, anger, frustration, money or your in-laws stop you from living your life. Keep going. It is your turn next.

Simplify your life with a few more “do nots” in your day. If you listen to your heart, it will readily and easily help you make up your own list of do nots. Set your intention on filtering out things that don’t belong in your life. And then the do’s will come much more easily.


Kathy Gates is a certified emotional intelligence coach in Scottsdale, Ariz., specializing in focus and motivation and the author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. www.reallifecoach.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 6, December 2006/January 2007.

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