Since posting a video on my new Youtube Channel about my health struggle, I have been overwhelmed with the love and support many of you have extended towards me. It’s been a rough journey to say the least. I have to admit, I was pretty amazed when I posted this video the same week that People came out with the article on Avril Lavigne’s battle with Lymes disease. While Lyme’s is its own battle, my health struggle has included many of the same symptoms. For someone like Avril Lavigne – having the ability to pause life and get by surviving with the successes of yesterday is incredible- some of us don’t have that option.
I mean, God knows I’d love to pack my bags, take a leave of absence for several months, and come back feeling better. But I’ll be honest, I don’t have that luxury.
In fact, I’d wager to say most people don’t.
Having dealt for so long with whatever is wrong with my body, I have learned a lot about my limits. I have a really good idea about what I can and can’t do, and exactly what it will take for me to Get Things Done. As an Entrepreneur, Photographer, Blogger, and Coach, there’s a lot I have to pack into the few waking hours I have in my day (12 hours at max). At the same time, I’ve learned that when you’re sick, you M.U.S.T. set your priorities and work around them. It’s non-Negotiable.
Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way.
Now, for someone like me who is according to Gallups Strengthfinders Assessment, an Activator/Achiever/Futuristic/Strategic/Communicator – if you haven’t done this yet, seriously it’s worth the $20 – I like to get EVERYTHING accomplished on my daily to-do list. As in, check the mark next to every single item on my task list. There was a time in my life that I could do that. But the last year, it’s not been that way.
It was extremely difficult to adapt to life as it is now. Accepting the limitations that make up my life currently isn’t fun. But I have found that when you accept what’s in front of you, there’s a lot more energy to spend on Getting Things Done, rather than fighting an insurmountable battle.
So what’s my secret? How do I operate as a Life Coach, Photographer, Entrepreneur, Blogger, Wife, and Friend? Here’s my system:
1. Create the Priority Values: This killed me at first. In my mind, I put something on a list because it needs to get done. But some days I don’t have the ability to clear the list. It’s just reality. So instead, I’ve created a priority scale based around the top 3 Things that are most important for my life values. At this stage of life, it is my job, my self care (including spirituality), and my Husband. Anything that I want to do outside those areas are whip cream and cherries on top.
Now before you freak out on me, I will say that some days those three areas don’t take as much time or effort, and I have most of my day for the projects and ventures that I am building, such as CRAFT and photography work and writing. But some days, I don’t get to the extras. Yes, it’s disappointing, but I’ve finally stopped stressing it. We can only do what we can do right?
2. Use a Filtering System: My business coach completely revolutionized the way that I approach my daily to do list. Now, when I sit down and evaluate what I would like to get done, I create the list based on a filtering system. I write down all my tasks, and then give them a filter; A’s are for the tasks that will give me energy and excitement to complete. B’s are for the tasks that I should get done today, but they come after I’m done with the A’s. And finally C’s are the things that won’t kill me to put off until tomorrow.
This new approach transformed the way that I work through my daily goals. Suddenly, the list works for me and gives me energy, rather than being a drain. And then when I hit the items on my list, I have the drive to get more done. I still rarely get through my entire list, but this way, I am ok when I have to stop.
3. Don’t add anything to the daily list – unless it’s an emergency: I do my best to create a to do list the night before. This strategy keeps me from adding too many things to my list. And as the day goes by, I refuse to let myself add to the list. That may seem like a shock but it’s saved me some real stress. Of course, there are times when I remember an urgent task that needs taking care of on that day, but adding one thing to the list means pushing something else to tomorrow. Because, once again, we can’t get EVERYTHING done (are you noticing a theme here?)
4. Make your day work for you: Now this one is tricky because if you don’t have control of your own schedule, you have to work around someone elses’. I have been able to structure my day so that the activities which require the most energy are those I start with; and as the day goes by and I have less and less energy, it’s ok because I’ve accomplished the most demanding areas first. This has also really helped my health; When my day works for me, and I’m accomplishing what I really need to, I feel greatly encouraged.
I know there are many of you who are facing an impossible health struggle, and questioning if you can be an Entrepreneur as well. My friends, I’m here to tell you that it IS possible, though it is a particular challenge. You have to be smart. You have to be strategic. You have to be an observer of your body and mind in a way others don’t have to be. But once you get there, you can do it. You can be a builder. And you know what I’ve found? Staying true to that inner fire in you gives health to your spirit and your body as well.
Are you a busy achiever? Do you have health struggles? What strategies have you used to Get Things Done?