The most common complaint I hear from DaVincis — smart, creative people juggling too many talents, projects and ideas — is that ‘there are not enough hours in the day’. (“I’ve got way too much to do and am not making progress on any of it!”)
If that sounds like you, let me reassure you: Yes, your life is full. Yes you have a lot going on. And yes there ARE enough hours in the day…at least there is enough time each day to make progress on whatever is important to you.
If you’re like most DaVincis, you may be acutely aware of what’s NOT getting done — while you simultaneously downplay whatever you do accomplish. The net result is that you feel lousy no matter what you do. You often feel angst or guilt or frustration about the undone things on your ‘to do’ list. You are sentencing yourself to a state of chronic dissatisfaction.
There is also a tendency to blow things up — to overgeneralize to the point of despair. (“Nothing’s getting done!”) Let’s start by disputing your statement with the truth: Unless you are lying comatose 24/7, SOMETHING is getting done. Maybe not as much as you would like, but you are engaging in activities throughout the day. Maybe it’s time to pay attention to what you ARE doing, rather than fretting about what you aren’t.
Try this practice, from creativity guru Julia Cameron: Every night, write out your ‘Ta Da’ list. Chronicle everything you did, big and small. The idea is to train yourself to shift focus to what you ARE accomplishing and to appreciate what you ARE getting done. The more you do, the better you’ll feel about yourself and your accomplishments…and the more you’re likely to do, going forward.
Another issue is that DaVincis tend to set unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished during a particular time frame. There’s a tendency to over-schedule which means some things don’t get done. You may have crossed twenty things off your ‘to do’ list today…but there are thirty items outstanding, which seems like failure.
If this sounds like you, try adjusting your expectations by choosing minimal daily goals. Each morning, ask: What one or two things do I want to accomplish today?
That’s your new daily ‘to do’ list. Yes, you can do more — just do these one or two things first. At the end of the day, make sure you got them done. Anything else is gravy. The idea here is that, when you consistently get your minimal daily goals done, you’ll feel better and you’ll be more likely to get more done.
Once you start to shift your perspective to set achievable goals and to acknowledge what you ARE getting done, you will begin to see that there ARE enough hours in the day. Once you believe that, the next step is to do prioritize what you do with the time you have available: Make that one or two things you set out to do IMPORTANT. Ask yourself: What are the one or two most important things I could do today?
It’s easy to get caught up in what’s urgent. Hey, it’s urgent! It’s exciting! It gets your blood pumping. Odds are it’s something that can be done quickly.
Yet when you make urgent items your priority, other, more important life domains get neglected. This is why so many DaVincis express dissatisfaction with their life balance.
It doesn’t have to be this way. It IS possible to improve your life balance. Job One in doing so to remind yourself, regularly, of your true priorities. Not what society says or your spouse or your childhood chum or your Aunt Mabel — what is most important to YOU these days?
It might be a matter of starting. More likely, you need to continue. Perhaps there’s something that needs finishing. What’s one step can you take today on whatever is most important to you?
At the end of the week, reflect back on what you got done. If you’re like most of my coaching clients, you’ll feel much more satisfied with your accomplishments and with your present life balance. It won’t be perfect. (Spoiler alert: It will never be *perfect*). But it will be ‘better’.
Anytime you begin to think, “There aren’t enough hours in the day,” consider this from author Mike Dooley: “There’s so much time in a day. You could have breakfast, lunch, and dinner on 3 different continents. You could outline the book you’re going to write, start the screenplay adaptation, and watch “Gone With The Wind,” before the sun even sets. Spend a day at work, and still have 16 hours left over….Hey, the record for climbing Mt. Everest is under 9 hours, leaving 15 to nap and go Yeti searching. There’s so much time in a day. So much….”
Activity: What one or two important things would you like to do today?
Bonus Activity: Do them.
Want to re-publish this article? Go for it – just include the author’s name, a link to this original post and the following text blurb:
Are you struggling with too many talents, skills, ideas? You may have The DaVinci Dilemma™! Find tools, fun quizzes, coaching, inspiration and solutions for multi-talented people at http://www.davincidilemma.com/ .