Time management tips can serve as your gateway to fulfillment, by helping you to develop flexible focus. Each time you find time for a project you love, it feels like diving into a beautiful, clear lake. You immerse yourself in the work, and find it refreshing! At times you might even feel carried gently forward by the flow of your concentration. Best of all, you build confidence, each time you keep on track.
But, how about rigidity? That’s another matter entirely! Sparks fly and patience frays. You want so much to stick with your plan that other parts of your life suffer. Think back to your personal experiences with rigidity; both yours and others’. Relationships can be the first casualty when you become overly rigid. And your body may complain bitterly, too.
There’s good news. You can learn to distinguish between focus and rigidity in daily decisions! Here are 3 essential steps to strengthen flexible focus and to avoid the pitfalls of rigidity:
Step #1: Make a list of your top priorities and COMMIT to balance.
Rigidity is focus that has lost its balance. This can happen to you or to anyone else! But consciously broadening your perspective helps you breathe easy. Start by asking yourself what your central commitments are. Jot them down. Then, clarify boundaries for each in advance. For example, you might decide, “My weekend plans take priority over finishing up that report!” Then, if you are tempted to cancel a special get-together to review your project for the tenth time, an inner warning bell can help you realign your time choices with your top priorities.
Step #2: Plan your day the night before, and give each priority its fair share of time.
Do you associate planning with rigidity? If so, you may back away from planning on a regular basis. But realistic planning actually protects the flow of your day!
First of all, if you keep to a well-planned schedule, you will find it much easier to sustain the tempo of healthy daily life. This is especially true if you factor in a little flex time. Or a lot! If you feel apprehensive about an upcoming project, try allocating more time to develop the optimal approach and to stay mobilized.
There’s a second advantage. If you divide your project into daily increments, you won’t be struggling with a bottleneck at the last minute. Your nearest and dearest will thank you, because you’ll probably be a lot easier to live with, too! When you are rested, healthy and well nourished, you retain your perspective more easily. You build resiliency, too.
Step #3: Compassionately flow with the unexpected.
Oops! Sudden change can up-end even your best plans. If you grimly refuse to flex, your rigid focus may actually collide with the new state of affairs! This is the ideal time to bring in compassion. Breathe deep, take a few minutes to reorient yourself, and see if you can bring a fresh vantage point to explore the new situation. Affirm that you can thrive despite this current setback, and ground yourself in your essential self-worth. Nimbleness and creativity can open new vistas of opportunity. So, let your options broaden as you map the new terrain. Then intensify your focus onto your new course of action. You will find this process much easier to engage in if you have followed Steps #1 and #2.
No matter how you have struggled in the past, you can build flexible focus! It is, quite simply, you at your best. Remember that self-reference is one of your best allies. Check in with yourself over time. Find your “sweet spot” of balance, as you flex here, and hold firm there. It’s most helpful to assess your results with friendly objectivity. With practice, like the surfer, you can use both your focus and flexibility to skillfully ride the waves of change!
So, how can you start creating flexible focus today, to make the most of your time?© Copyright 2010 Paula Eder, Ph.D.