A mentor of mine, David Neagle, once said to a group I was in: “you become what you tolerate.”
This one sank in deeply and has stayed a go-to-question for several years.
What’s does this phrase mean to you?
To me, for example, this means if you tolerate not bringing your gifts into the world, you become someone who is okay with living your life unactualized.
Another example: If you tolerate allowing yourself be distracted by Facebook, other people’s problems and dramas or anything else that pulls your attention away from your true work, you become someone who is okay with living other people’s priorities instead of your own.
“You become what you tolerate.”
This phrase stuck with me and over time, I’ve learned to apply it to many different areas of my life.
One of my favorite ones to apply it to is my schedule. Schedules are interesting beasts – some people love them, some people hate them, others are constantly juggling. There are many things in life that we can tolerate and some of the biggest ones will end up in our calendars.
For me, the schedule is a tool – a way to assess how time is used. I love schedules because how you spend your time every day shapes the quality of your life. Your minute decisions about how to spend your time compound into the quality of your life as a whole, your successes and failures and they shape who you are as a person.
Joyous scheduling is about harnessing the power of your time and consciously choosing to use your time in alignment with your priorities.
I’ve crafted 10 questions that you can use as a self-assessment tool and leverage your schedule as a mirror in your life. It’s a pretty cool process that will shake insight into the open.
If you feel like you’re squeezed right now with how much time you have in your week, there is the distinct possibility that you can go through these questions and pinpoint exactly where you can reclaim time into your life. Promise. What would an extra hour, two or three do for you?
Don’t feel like you have to answer all the questions – maybe one or two really get to the root of your current experience with your calendar. Answer all of them and you’ll have a clearer picture of your life and an area or two that could use tending (or pruning).
10 Questions that guide the joyous scheduling process
- How does your schedule feel to you right now? Spacious? Crammed? Frantic? Comfortable? Do you leave time in between appointments to breathe and tend to your own needs?
- How is your schedule a reflection of where you are in your life and what can it tell you about what is needed to continue moving towards your desires?
- If you were to look at your schedule as if you were an outsider, what would it objectively tell you about the person who keeps it? What are their priorities?
- Are your priorities currently being reflected in how you choose to use your time?
- What isn’t currently being prioritized that deserves your time and focus?
- What’s one thing that you could give more space to that would make a big difference in your life?
- What is working awesomely in your schedule right now that you can commit to keep doing?
- What is the most important time in your schedule right now? A certain day of the week? A certain time block? Why? What would similar impact look like if it occupied more of the space in your calendar? What would change?
- What are you currently allowing on your schedule that drains your energy and leaves you feeling zapped?
- Who or what kind of person are you allowing to get on your calendar every week who does not deserve a place there? What decision and actions do you need to take to keep them off?
Intention Vs. Reality
Another interesting dynamic with the schedule is what you have on your calendar versus what actually happens during the day.
Do you run into someone and allow your next priority to be steamrollered? Do you allow a meeting to go long and throw your day off? Do you get distracted and then have to work more to complete your priorities for the day?
I was talking to a friend a couple days ago about this and she was expressing the emotional incongruence that she experiences when she does not follow through on what she intended for her day.
A good question to ask is: does this happen to you? Does it happen often?
Yet again, another good opportunity to see if there is a pattern in the way you’re trying to schedule yourself. It may indicate that you need to make a shift because the calendar you’ve written down isn’t working. It may also indicate an area of your life that you’re avoiding. It may show where you need to have better boundaries for yourself and your time.
If you take the time to answer one or more of the questions, I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment or an email and let me know – was this helpful? Did you make a change as a result? Did you get stuck somewhere?