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08 Feb

Set aside fifteen minutes for the future

Date: 2012-02-08 11:00 Comments: 0 st

Do you enjoy taking a moment to reflect on what you have done and whatever awaits you next whenever you have a moment to spare, just as much as I do?

When our lives are just spinning and you feel as if your everyday-life is like a rat race (“Monday, Friday, weekend. Monday, Friday, weekend.”), it is easy to lose sight of where you are going.

It can be particularly difficult to set the right priorities, that is, choose the right task for every given situation, and especially choosing the right tasks not to do right now.

Thinking about later will help you now

Saying that it is important to explicitly formulate a vision for what you strive to achieve in the long run, is almost a truism. But I am not saying it for nothing. Remembering this will make what you do in your everyday life feel more meaningful since you know where all your activities are taking you.

When I held a lecture for an organization in the south of Sweden last week, someone asked me:

“But David, how am I supposed to sit here and relax when I know that my e-mail inbox at the office is filling to the brim as we speak?”

After a few minutes discussing we agreed on that if we stop and think about what we aim to achieve in the long-run with what we are doing right now, we realize its value – even if what we are doing right now can appear as a misallocation of time in the shorter perspective.

You will also obtain a more healthy perspective on all the short and quick urgent-tasks you perform on a daily basis, and feel a greater sense of meaning in what you do, since you are aware of why you are in such a rush to do what you are doing right now in the first place.

It will now be easier to decide what the right thing to do right at this very moment is, both in your work and in your private life. By making the future come alive in your daily doings, the probability that you will see your visions and wishes come true, increases.

The beauty of this way of approaching your time-management is that you do not have to wait until you are completely free of other obligations before you direct your attention towards the future, rather:

Now and again, set aside fifteen minutes for the future.

As a struktör who strives to concretize matters further, my next question is then: How?

Do this

Whenever you have some “free time” to spare, for instance

  • when you are in your car, stopped by the railroad tracks and are waiting for a train to pass,
  • in your car waiting for the car-ferry,
  • when you are in line waiting to board the airplane (and there is no idea to open up your computer or make a few phone calls since you are surrounded by people),
  • when the “fasten seatbelt” sign is lit on the aircraft and no electronic devices may be switched on,
  • whenever you need to wait for the computer to reboot after an error occurred,
  • when you are having lunch alone and are contemplating as you are having your coffee,
  • whenever you suddenly feel like it,
  • or when you simply get the urge and just cannot resist,

then take fifteen minutes to contemplate the future, how you want your life to evolve - in your business, at work and in life in general.
Do not have the ambition to concretize and create to-do-tasks, just fantasize. Fantasizing isn’t just for children; it is what you do whenever you think about anything which is still waiting to become reality.

A card, a document, a picture?

To help you do this, keep a pocket-sized card in your jacket-pocket which you look at or read through when those 15 minutes are on your hands and you have nothing better to do. On the card you might write the keywords which describe how you want things to be in the future. Add or subtract words whenever you feel like it.

Perhaps it is not a card, but a document in an application on your phone, synchronized with the same document on your computer.

Or maybe you have printed out your vision-mind-map (from for instance Mindmanager or Mindmeister) which contains all aspects you can think of describing the future situation you want for yourself. You have folded it so that it fits neatly in your briefcase or purse.

Some keep a picture in their wallet of for instance a nicely decorated room as it embodies the essence of their vision.

Or perhaps the card only reads one question which you ask yourself: “How will this particular day appear in five years from now?”

Separating the wheat from the chaff

If you make your future more accessible in your daily routines, it will become easier to determine what task constitutes wheat and what can be regarded as chaff, that is, what tasks to prioritize, and you will with greater ease determine what is important and what is not. 

What is your way?

How do you succeed in aiming into the future? Leave a comment to let me and others know your best tip.

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