I woke from a dream this morning that didn’t feel good. Perhaps it felt yucky because there is a lot of truth to it. In my dream I was getting ready for a job interview, changing my clothes to get just the right professional look. But then I became distracted and began going through a notebook. For whatever reason, it seemed important to decide which notes I could get rid of and which I needed to keep. Then my late mother appears to ask about my interview. I ask for the time and learn that I have only 20 minutes to get there. I jump up to finish getting ready and realize I’ve not even printed off my resume. A feeling of panic overwhelmed me. I was saved from this time management foo-pah by my dog who, pawing at my door, woke me from the nightmare.
I believe dreams are gifts. Often they represent deep, unfulfilled longings. Other times, they are outlets for thoughts and feelings in your waking life that need venting. Still again, they can be red flags alerting you to something you need to take care of.
What does my uncomfortable dream represent to me?
Let’s just say, this dream is spot on. It’s true that I’ve been in a creative lull. Yes, I’ve been procrastinating. It might even be said that I’ve been easily distracted and unfocused. It took my mother popping in from the Spirit world to remind me that I’m running out of time. Every day counts. There are real life dreams waiting for me to reach for them. But they will never become my reality if I am continually distracted by small things.
Time Management is Key
I know what it takes for me to be most productive and I’ve slipped. So I’m going back to what I know works — like these three time management strategies that help me stay on track.
- Set a Weekly Team Meeting. As an entrepreneur, I wear a lot of hats. I’m fortunate enough to have an incredible business coach who meets with me monthly to keep me on track. I also have a brilliant webmaster — but the rest is on me. One useful practice I use is setting a standing appointment on my calendar for team meetings. Yes, it’s a team of one, but in the meeting, I go through the agenda as if I had a real person filling each of those roles. What’s going on in marketing and PR? What partnership opportunities make sense? What software investments should I consider? In team meetings, I make sure to acknowledge progress. Even if you work outside the home, you can still benefit from a team meeting. We all wear a lot of hats, even those of us with a real staff!
- Keep a Simple Daily Plan. When I am most productive, I’m using what’s called the Ivy Lee Method where I’m focused on only six things each day. Want to understand how this method works and why it’s so productive? Read The Ivy Lee Method: The Daily Routine Experts Recommend for Peak Productivity by James Clear, an author who studies human psychology and writes about performance and effectiveness. Bottom line, here’s what you do. At the end of each day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish the next day. Prioritize them. The next day, start with the first item on the list and do not waver until it’s complete. Continue you down the list as far as you can go. Repeat each day.
- Reward Yourself. If you’re like me, there will be some things on your list that you must do, but don’t want to. Ugh! For times like this, I like to arrange a little interlude to reward myself for having gotten through it. If I have a difficult phone conversation, I reward myself with a walk outside afterward. Nature has a nurturing effect on me, so I love having an excuse to get out. When I finish an article I’ve been struggling over, I allow myself a mental respite by giving myself permission to watch Youtube videos. My favorite videos are dance and humor. Little rewards are a great way to keep you moving down your list of six important items.
What Do You Need to Make Happen?
So what was my mother reminding me to do? I think she was reminding me to decide what was important to me. And then, if I really wanted it in my life, to get off my butt and make things happen.
Thanks, Mom. You’ve always been my best cheerleader. Even from the other side.
What are you procrastinating, Braveheart? What can you do to re-engage yourself in life?