"Business should be fun. Without fun people are left wearing emotional raincoats most of their working lives. Building fun into business is vital; it brings life into our daily being. Fun is a powerful motive for most of our activities and should be a direct part of our livelihood. We should not relegate it to something we buy after work with money we earn" Michael Phillips
Someone once said that fatigue comes from thinking about what you have to do, not from doing it.
The "To-do list" is an efficient, yet ineffective tool. The distinction is well put by the following quote: "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." -Peter F. Drucker. The to- do list will often have you chasing what is urgent vs. important. We want to effectively make use of our time on what is important. So, what is important?
Important stuff is that which gets you moving in the direction of your personal and/or business vision. Develop your vision by getting in touch with your deep desires. Connect with what you want to create in your life and set goals, develop strategies and implement a plan. Once you’ve discovered your compelling vision, tear up your to-do list and create an Existence System.
The benefits of an Existence System are many:
- eliminates mental fatigue
- provides structure with room for spontaneity
- creates momentum
- provides the satisfaction of accomplishment.
The Existence System is simple to set-up:
- List units of activities
- Choose an activity and act on it
- Limit each activity to one hour or less
- Then pick another activity
- Don't repeat an activity until all have been worked
- Blend your personal and business activities
- Adjust as desirable
- Get the whole brain involved
List Work Activities - for example, the steps of the sales cycle - pre-approach, prospecting, approach, fact-finding, proposal preparation, presentation, closing, servicing, referral gathering, contact with centers of influence.
List Personal Activities - such as, meditation, exercise, reading, family time, social contact, personal development, housekeeping, etc.
Pick an activity and act on it - Suit your own style. Select a category of activity either spontaneously or plan ahead. Within each activity there are always a variety of actions you can take. While keeping your compelling vision in mind, ask yourself, "What action, (within this category) can I take, that will draw my vision closer to me?"
Limit each activity to one hour or less - Consciously or unconsciously, we tend to overindulge in our favorite activities as an effective means of distracting us from the less enjoyable ones. We give the appearance of being "busy". Who's fooling who? We know when we’re doing this and consequently feel the accompanying guilt. This guilt adds to fatigue, blurs our focus and further depletes our energy.
Benefit: By limiting the time-slots to one hour or less, we not only limit the overindulgence of the enjoyable stuff, we also limit the less enjoyable stuff. Knowing that there is a limited amount of time committed to the less enjoyable activities, we address them with less resistance and happily handle all that needs to be handled.
Coaching Tip: As for the less enjoyable stuff. Ask yourself, "Why don't I enjoy this?" "Is it a necessary activity?" If it is, ask yourself "How can I make it more enjoyable?" If you do find the activity is a requirement to realizing your intended vision, yet are unable to reorganize it into an enjoyable activity, get coaching on it, meditate on it, and/or find a way to delegate it! Understand that suffering is an out-moded way of doing things. There are no medals or awards for suffering - those days are gone! If many of your activities cause you to suffer and you've done all you can to resolve this, it may be time to consider other work which agrees more with who you are. The emotional and ultimately, the physiological costs are too high.
Don't repeat an activity until all have been worked - This is a simple, yet vital step to the system. Follow through on all activities. Choose the same amount of time for all activities. If you choose an hour, do an hour on all activities. Clearly there are exceptions, i.e., exercise may be less than an hour - or more!
Blend your personal and business activities - The balancing of activities is key to enjoying all aspects of your life. Sprinkling personal and enjoyable activities throughout the work day will keep your energy flowing.
Benefit: This system offers you freedom from the "s" word. i.e., I should be doing this or that. You now have the freedom to fully enjoy the fun stuff since you're responsibly addressing it all.
Adjust as desirable - Pay attention to what's working and what's not and adjust accordingly.
Coaching Tip: Check your level of energy after each unit of activity - if you feel at all drained, consider alternate activities which may accomplish the essence of the desired objective. Perhaps a change in location or environment may do the trick, thereby getting the job done in a more enjoyable way.
Get the whole brain involved - Begin each day with mental clarity and focus. With your eyes closed (this alone cuts out much of the bombardment of sensory data and increases focus), mentally rehearse the day’s events, review your compelling vision, visualize your activities, including the attainment of successful end results, reframe any negativity, perceive evidence of accomplishments and feel the joy and satisfaction of a job well done.
Do this again as an after lunch break and re-innergize yourself. At the end of the day, mentally review the day’s activities, the challenges, the successes. Ask yourself, "What can I do to modify and improve my existence system? New ideas, better approaches, etc.
When to use it: This model may be used daily, several days a week, whatever works for you. You may use it at times when you're feeling overwhelmed, in a transition or beginning a new business, or use it continuously if you like the structure and momentum it offers.
Benefits to Enjoy - Your Existence System:
Eliminates Mental Fatigue - A to-do list keeps you from being present. You have one foot in the past and one foot in the future. You suffer about what you didn't get done yesterday and are frustrated and fatigued thinking about all you have to do tomorrow.
Benefit: Now that you have a system, you're fully in the present and can enjoy the process knowing that all is being handled in due course. Your mind is free of fatigue and worry and your energy is recaptured.
Provides structure with room for spontaneity - This structure now assures you that all effective activities are being addressed. You have the freedom to dance with whatever activities you choose based on your feelings at the moment. You'll also discover what activities you are more or less frequently drawn to i.e., certain activities will always be chosen before others.
Benefit: This insight will give you a greater understanding of yourself and give you a means to prioritize what should be delegated to staff or other willing persons.
Creates momentum and provides the satisfaction of accomplishment. - With a to-do list, you may get urgent stuff done, but little contributed toward drawing you closer to your compelling vision.
Benefit: Within a few days of tearing up your to-do list, you will be pleasantly surprised at your increased level of energy and the amount of accomplishments you've gotten under your belt. Many lingering incompletions will be behind you
and ease will set in.
Coaching Tip: Set up a filing system labeled with your activity categories. As creative ideas or requests pop-up, file them in the appropriate category and handle them within the system. If you don't, you'll find yourself back to handling urgencies efficiently and lose the effectiveness needed to realize your goals.
Say goodbye to fatigue and suffering and welcome ease and enjoyment. Take off your "emotional raincoat" and bask in the sun of a life well lived.
Worksheets and additional personalized coaching tips for he Existence System are available. If you have the desire and intention to live the life you have imagined, give the Existence System a whirl. Know that a network of support s available to assist you. Feel free to contact me..