Small Commitments, Big Changes: Five Ways to Leverage Your Time

Happy summer! 

What a perfect moment to pause and down-shift after a season of growth and change. But a change in season doesn’t mean that your development has to end.

On the contrary – now is the right time to make subtle yet significant shifts in your habits, mindset, and life to see substantial changes down the road.

Dominique - Small Commitments

You might think that you’ll have to pay for the holiday down time you take now once a busier season returns; however, leveraging your slower seasons is one effective way to set yourself up for success through the rest of the year and into the next.

Here are five ways to shift your focus into the moment, into yourself, and toward the actions that will have a lasting impact on you and your life.

Tip #1: Practice a New Habit.

It only takes five minutes…

To brush your teeth. To journal. To reheat a healthy meal.

Why not fill those five-minute daily gaps with habits that will significantly impact your life over time? Repetition and consistency are key! 5 minutes per day, every day is better than half-a-day once per month.

Example: Five-Minute Breathwork

Take five minutes to complete a breathing exercise. When you slow your breath, you give your mind the chance to slow its typically hurried pace. Not only does this practice reduce stress, but it can also slow how you experience time, opening up creativity, problem-solving, and space for new actions you may not have seen before. Physically, deep breathing allows slows down your heartbeat, brings more blood to your brain and think better. You no longer feel rushed or busy but simply present.

Tip #2: Swim Downstream

Swimming upstream might be a familiar feeling as you work to launch or grow your business, manage your team (or yourself!), or take on those tasks that don’t light you up. When we are not completing tasks that feel meaningful or fulfilling, it can seem like the job takes absolute ages

Tap into another familiar feeling: The one of time passing without you even noticing. The feeling of being “in flow.” Ease. Joy. Pleasure. Gratitude.

Example: Identify Where you can Swim Downstream

Take a few moments each day to pinpoint those tasks in your professional life that feel heavy, burdensome, or slow. Ask yourself:

  • Can I delegate this task to a team member?
  • Is there a time of day when this task wouldn’t feel so overwhelming?
  • Is this something I must be doing, or is it something I can let go of?
  • How does this task rank on my priority list?

Tip #3: Schedule Time for Yourself

How often does your calendar fill with meetings or job activities or other people, leaving no time for yourself?

Now, it may be unwise to suddenly scrap your whole workweek and take off to the Alps (although, if that’s what you need, go for it!). Planning for the different blocks of time that fill your cup and allow you to show up as your best, most rested, most authentic self is a powerful tool for your self-care and stress management toolkit.

Example: Sort and schedule your self-care.

Make a list of the activities and practices that give you energy and light your fire. Then, sort or designate these items into categories of time. Something like breathwork, meditation, or journaling could take between five and thirty minutes. A long walk around the park or your local garden may take about an hour. And let’s say that trip to the Alps is calling your name – you’ll want to block as many days as you need.

In your calendar, schedule these different activities – before your days fill up with other obligations, ahead of time at the end of a week for the next one for instance.

You may find that you’re able to bend time – that thirty-minute block for a neighborhood walk didn’t exist in your calendar before, but when you mindfully commit to scheduling it, the time appears. Start small but stick to it.

Tip #4: Take Action to Reduce your Stress.

Similar to taking time to schedule your self-care, equip yourself with a wide array of stress management techniques

If your stress is overwhelming or chronic, you may want to seek support from a mentor, coach, or health professional to help you identify and manage your stressors.

Identifying the root cause of your stress will allow you to implement both coping techniques and small, powerful changes to make your life less stressful and more joyful.

Example: Move Your Body.

This is one of our favorite tools for keeping stress at bay! Schedule and complete the type of movement that makes your body and soul happy. (If you’re not a runner, don’t force yourself to train for a marathon! A hike or a game of kickball, a dance is just as effective!)

Tip #5: Say No.

Entrepreneurs, leaders, and executives are used to saying “Yes!” day in and day out. There are several reasons that may be at the root of this practice, including:

  • A mindset of scarcity or the belief that it all could disappear if we do not say yes
  • An attitude of more-is-more when it comes to promising and delivering to clients or stakeholders
  • Self-doubt that causes you to second-guess your choices and your actions

No matter where you are in the world, you are likely exposed to the move-it-or-lose-it mentality that values hard work over cycles of work balanced with rest and recharging. Consider this your invitation to pause!

Example: Practice saying “no.”

Check your immediate reaction when the next request or question comes across your desk. Is your first instinct to affirm that you’ll complete the task? When you pay attention to your body and your words, do you feel the yes, or do you feel hesitation, uncertainty, guilt, or doubt? You might even try saying “No,” to see how it goes!

Noticing when your response is activated may be helpful information; your inner wisdom may have a perfect reason for making you pause.

The task may not be in alignment with your values.

You may not have the time to complete the task.

You may be feeling overwhelmed and in need of a break.

No matter the reason, “No” is the most powerful word in your vocabulary: It opens up space for absolute, 100% YES. YES to yourself.

Lead by example.

Lead by example

If you lead or manage a team, or even if you are a business owner who is connected to a broader community, taking the time to slow down may be the permission others feel they need to do the same. For example, you may have a team member who has been yearning to travel; when they see that you are taking time to do the same, you can swap your time-on-task, and each of you can enjoy your downtime much more. 

The world won’t end if we pause, go slower, or take the time to reflect and refresh our minds, bodies, and spirits. We promise.

Are you ready for a seasoned mentor to partner with you and make the most of this season? PointNorth International is your guide with the ultimate roadmap to career evolution! Reach out to connect now.

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