Have you ever felt like you’re playing catch up, that you’re behind the 8 ball, that the tail is wagging the dog?
You ever have those mornings when you really, really don’t want to get out of bed? Me too. We all do.
But you do get out of bed. You push through the anxiety and do the things that need to get done. How do you have less of those days? And maybe, just maybe, not have them at all? “Crazy talk,” you say? Maybe. But I think it’s worth trying for.
Here’s a fundamental truth: the more peace of mind we can get, the better. And, life is always going to throw us curve balls. The more we can control the controllables in our lives, the better positioned we are for success and happiness, which will lead to greater peace of mind.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Establishing our priorities
- Getting organized
- Position yourself for success
Let’s get started.
Establishing our priorities
Not everything can be the most important thing. Not every emergency can be your emergency. To find peace of mind, we must first establish our priorities.
The golden rule of personal finance is, “Pay yourself first.” The idea is if you’re in the habit of paying everyone else first, and waiting to pay yourself, there won’t be any money left over for you. This principle can also be applied to every other area of your life, and it should be.
We find peace of mind when we know all of our affairs are in order. When we know our families are taken care of, our bills are paid, we’ve got food in the fridge, and we’re healthy, we feel good. I focus on six key areas of life, and they can serve as prompts to help you prioritize what’s of greatest importance to you:
Think about what you want your family life to look like. Do you want to start a family? Have a better relationship with your parents or kids? What experiences do you want to have?
What is your community? What would you like it to be? How would you like to show up in it?
Career and financial
What are your financial desires? Where do you see your career in three years?
How is your physical, mental, and emotional health? What would you like it to be?
What are you interested in learning for the sake of learning?
Peace of mind
What would you like to do more of? Would you like to spend more time in nature? Explore your faith? Take up yoga?
Within each area, think about your top priorities. If you’d like to dig deeper into this, you can access our Goals course for free.
When we prioritize, we’re making decisions about which activities are more important and less important. And we have too, because we can’t do it all.
Unless you’re independently wealthy, you can’t invest in every opportunity. We have limited mental bandwidth, so I can help with every cause that needs help. And we of course have the same 24 hours to work with, so we need to be ruthless with our calendars.
This is where values enter the equation. Values serve as the lens through which we see the world, and make judgements as well as set priorities. If I know I have $1,000 to donate to charity every year, and I believe homelessness to be the most pressing issue, I’ll contribute to the appropriate organization. If you think going to church on Sunday is important, that will take precedence over something else.
Once you’ve identified your priorities and organized their importance based on your values, it’s time to position yourself for success.
Maybe you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what you stand for and what you stand against, or maybe you haven’t. I don’t think there’s ever been a more important time than today to get crystal clear on what you think and believe. In service of that, you can access our Values course for free as well.
Position yourself for success
Our time is precious, but I’ve found some is more precious. For me, my morning minutes are way more valuable than my evening minutes, so I act accordingly. I use my evening minutes to prep for my mornings. I put my workout shoes where they need to be, get the coffee maker ready, set my workspace up, and get my plan for the next day complete.
What’s most important about that is it’s true for me. You may be the opposite. Figure out what parts of your day are best for you to do certain things.
Now it’s time to figure out how to make it all work. To do this, we need to properly schedule, automate, and delegate.
Feeling in control of your calendar is essential to your peace of mind. Having a shared calendar with other important people in your life is important so you can get on the same page. In order to put first things first, you must put them into your calendar. When you fail to do this, available time will be claimed by some other priority.
Automate as much of your life as you can. Set up automatic bill pay, automatic contributions to investment accounts, set recurring meetings in your calendar. Figure out how you can set and forget as many of your priorities as possible.
We can’t do it all (we probably can, but we’ll burn out and never have real peace of mind). Where and when it’s possible, hand off tasks to others.
Such a big part of this is intention. The more intentional you can be about your life, the more successful you’ll become, and the the more peace of mind you’ll enjoy.
A word of caution; when you do this, you’ll encounter resistance. You’ll get resistance both externally and internally. When you start telling people “no” more often, you’ll get push back. This is particularly true if you have a track record of saying “yes” to things.
Depending on your personality and self-image, it may take a while until you become comfortable setting and keeping your priorities. For example, if you’ve always thought of yourself as someone who goes above and beyond, helping others, putting yourself first will be a foreign concept. Prioritization is a muscle that needs to be trained and strengthened. Be patient with yourself.
I want you to have peace of mind, and it’s available to you. When your alarm goes off, I want you to feel good about your day. I want you to feel you’re in control of your controllables.
If you’d like additional help, consider working with one of our Coaches.
If you’d like to jump start your prioritization, check out the Strive Online Bootcamp.
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