I’ve always been a big proponent that you make time for the things and people that matter. Sounds simple, right? Then, why do so many not implement this better in their lives? Let me take a moment to recognize this more explicitly.
I touched on Laura Vanderkam’s TED Talk “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time” in last week’s post. In it, she shares a story of a woman who had a leak in her home. Coordinating with plumbers, and getting everything resolved, the woman estimated that it probably took seven hours of attention. That’s seven hours of “stuff” the woman hadn’t planned on doing. If you were to ask her (or most anyone) to find seven hours in the week before, she’d have told you, “heck, no, I don’t have seven hours. I’m busy!”
I was thinking of Laura’s talk in conjunction with Jacob Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life. Specifically, I’m aligning “making time” with Christensen’s Resources-Processes-Priorities framework. We make (process) time (resources) for the things that matter (priorities). From Christensen:

“Resources are what he uses to do it, processes are how he does it, and priorities are why he does it.”

I wrapped up 100 Strangers, 100 Days last week. Wow, that took a little more time than I thought. Meeting a Stranger was about 1.5 hours all in including:
  • 10-15 minutes “interviewing” 
  • + 15 minutes post-meet (many Strangers wanted to talk more and ask questions about the journey) 
  • + 60 minutes to transcribe our meet + social media updates (and formatting). 

It’s a lot, and I did that every day for 100 Days on top of the large workload I already do as the Head of Sales and Marketing at an early-stage startup. However, I managed to do it by setting each meet as a high priority of my day. I cut back on the lower priority items. Meanwhile, I also focused energy on the other facets of my life important to me – family, friends, working out, etc. Read: I was much more deliberate in my actions and the time I spent (and with whom).

Once you cut out the noise and the things that distract you, it’s amazing how much time you’ll find. Or rather, it’s amazing the quality of your life improves when you make time for the people and things that matter. 
I just watched a great TED talk by Laura Vanderkam – “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time”. I won’t go into detail about her talk because I’m going to save my big take-away in a near-future post. However, the point I want to share today is Laura’s idea regarding year-end reviews – write next year’s year-end review today.
Laura suggests essentially starting at the end, and working backwards into the schedule.
  • Think about the goals you want to have accomplished.
  • Break-down the milestones (processes and resources).
  • Allocate the milestones into the schedule now.
Laura went on to suggest we set 3-5 goals in three areas of our lives – career, relationships, and self.
In the spirit of many others doing year-end reviews, I’m going to do the Year Before Preview with Laura’s help/ suggestions. Here’s a snippet of my Year Before Preview…

Goal (in SELF): I ran the 2017 Peachtree Road Race, and I accomplished a sub-50 time.

I know myself, and know that I’m going to do a lot of other activities including yoga at 3-5x per week, but I decide that the week before. Meanwhile, I have my three workouts scheduled already. So at a minimum, I’ve scheduled dedicated running times twice a week (there will be a soccer day in there somewhere, too). 
This is a recurring event now on my calendar between the end of April and July 4th when the Peachtree Road Race takes place.

Goal (in Professional): I’ve blogged twice weekly throughout 2017 about startups and entrepreneurship.

I’m pretty quick with my blog posts… relatively. So, I’m dedicating two hours every Sunday morning after my morning workout to pre-writing my two blog posts for the following week. This makes it so much easier for me to just review, approve, and publish the posts during the week.

Goal (in RELATIONSHIPS): Build stronger/ maintain strong relationships with family and friends.

In this case, I don’t have a “metric” per se on building stronger relationships. However, I’ve set this in my calendar so that every Thursday starting at 7PM and Saturday after 5PM. That is, I will not be working during these hours. I’m going to leave it open to make plans with family and friends.
Of course, this particular goal is also dependent on friends and family. Should I not spend this time with friends and family, then I can always dedicate this to myself.

Happy New Year!

Is this going overboard? Maybe. I’m not really sure, but I’m interested to see this in action, and at least, maintaining this for the first quarter of 2017. Then, I review how things are going. I’m pretty good at sticking to a schedule or being consistent to things that matter, so this shouldn’t be a problem. 
C’mon 2017!