Week Twenty: Evaluate Opportunities

Welcome back to the Remodel Your Reality Challenge! A key part of time and schedule management is the clear-minded evaluation of the opportunities that come your way. Ideally, your priorities will help you make decisions about what to commit your time to. When considering a new opportunity, evaluate whether or not the invitation sounds interesting to you. If it doesn’t, reserve the right to say no!

One Thing To Think About

There are two keys to keeping your opportunity load on track and reflecting your priorities:

Reserve the Right to Think About It – Instead of immediately agreeing or saying no to any type of invitation you receive, decide that you will not commit to anything on the spot. Instead, when you receive a request or invitation, let the requestor know that you’ll need to check your schedule and get back to him or her. This allows you to thoughtfully evaluate the situation and provides you with a buffer in the event that you decide to decline.

Do Away with Elaborate Excuses – Remember this maxim from the Oprah Winfrey show: “No is a complete sentence.” The next time someone asks you to take on a project or attend an event that doesn’t support your priorities, simply respond with “No, I can’t do that, but thank you for thinking of me.” Breathe deeply to quiet your thundering heart and move on to another topic of conversation.

One Question To Answer

When considering a commitment or opportunity, ask yourself these questions: Does this opportunity fit in with my priorities? If not, does it detract from them? If you feel that the opportunity fits within your priorities, and it’s interesting, consider committing yourself. Make sure to understand why you find the opportunity exciting, and clarify any expectations the inviting party will have of you once you throw your hat into the ring.

One Challenge To Take

Pledge yourself from a clear and positive place. If you feel any misgivings about saying yes, stop! From this point on, decide that you will only make commitments that compliment your priorities and feel good to you.

  • Identify at least five commitments or scheduled activities that are wasting your valuable time. Examples could include volunteering for an organization you no longer enjoy, running errands for others, attending social events with people you don’t care for, participating in water cooler gossip, or failing to commit your day to activities that are important to you.
  • Name your alternative. Could one of your priority areas move into the timeslot that one of your time wasters currently occupies? List the five commitments you would prefer to make in place of your current time wasters.
  • Conclude your commitment to non-priority activities. If the item is a one-time engagement, contact the host or requestor and let him or her know you have a conflict. If your commitment is ongoing in nature, let your contact person know you cannot participate any longer.
  • Schedule something from your priority list into the open time that appears as a result of allowing yourself to say no.

Every time you make a decision to say yes to one thing, you are saying no to multiple others simultaneously. You may not be aware of this, but it is fact. Until you are able to say no to the demands and requests of others, you will never be able to say yes to you.

Ultimately, it is better to disappoint the requestor whom you will not remember forty years from now, than to look back at your life and realize that the person you disappointed was yourself.

Until next time, take care!

Kim

Week Nineteen: Rules of Time Management

Welcome back to the Remodel Your Reality Challenge! Time management is a subject that many women struggle with. In the Remodel Your Reality program, there are four rules to effective and empowering time management: Be Authentic, Place Yourself on Your List, Know Your Own Worth, and Say Goodbye to Takers.

One Thing To Think About

You will succeed or fail at time management based on your willingness to consistently invest your time in support of the priorities you’ve established. This becomes possible when you remove requests and commitments that fall outside of your priority structure. In short, this means you’re going to have to get very good at saying the dreaded “n” word—no.

One Question To Answer

Do you have trouble saying no to others? Due to the desire to avoid disappointing others and their aversion to feeling uncomfortable, many women do. To preserve your time for things that matter to you, you must be willing to experience temporary discomfort. This requires dedication to the focused management of your schedule and calls for you to develop the courage to risk upsetting or disappointing others.

One Challenge To Take

Integrate the Four Rules of Time Management into your daily life. Use them as a guide star to give you direction and keep you on the track you want to take.

  • Be Authentic – Your priority list must reflect what you authentically hold in esteem versus what you believe should be important to you. Be honest when creating your priority blueprint. It can serve you, acting as a compass to support you in making decisions about where to invest your time and energy. If you don’t define your list based on your truth, you will be living someone else’s. I know you don’t want that reality or you wouldn’t be reading this book. Creating a list based on what you believe is expected of you, or out of fear about what others might think of you, is a recipe for stress and failure.
  • Place Yourself on Your List – When you commit to taking care of yourself, you become more powerfully able to take care of everyone else in your life. While you may feel an initial resistance to placing yourself on your own list, believing it would be selfish to do so, I strongly encourage you to invest in taking care of you. When you do, you will be able to give more to every area of your life. I challenge you to take care of yourself at least as well as you take care of everyone else!
  • Know Your Own Worth – If you don’t believe you’re worthy of acceptance and friendship, you will try to earn your way into both. The fear of unworthiness is at the root of many unproductive behaviors, such as accepting invitations you aren’t interested in, agreeing to requests that don’t compliment your priorities, and taking on responsibilities that detract from your own well-being. The disease to please may not kill you, but it will significantly detract from the quality of your life.
  • Say Goodbye to Takers – If you’ve been living as a pleaser, there are undoubtedly takers around you. A taker is a person who uses your time, energy, money, and resources without giving anything back in return. I liken these individuals to parasites, and they will begin to disappear when you start saying no. Make a commitment to stand your ground and invest yourself in only those requests that meet your priorities or interest you. Prepare yourself in advance to decline invitations or requests that don’t. Anticipate the inevitable shedding of the takers in your life and celebrate the opening you’re creating for a higher quality of person to enter in their place.

Until next time, take care!

Kim

Week Eighteen: Manage Your Calendar

Welcome back to the Remodel Your Reality Challenge! Now that you’ve identified the priorities you’d like to invest in, it’s important to evaluate how you’re currently spending your time.

One Thing To Think About

The potential to experience joy, satisfaction, and happiness lives in your calendar. If your calendar does not reflect the priorities you’ve defined for yourself, it will be necessary for you to make some changes in order to create room in your schedule. In doing so, you will begin to experience more of what matters to you when you schedule less of what doesn’t.

One Question To Answer

Open your calendar and look at the commitments you’ve made for the next two weeks. How many of your commitments support the priorities you just established? How many do not?

If you’re spending more than half of your time catering to the demands of others, doing things because you think you should do them, or making commitments because you aren’t comfortable declining, it’s quite likely you’re unbalanced, overwhelmed, resentful, and unfulfilled at the end of most days.

It’s time to change that! You can support the people in your life, fulfill your responsibilities, make time for things that are important to you, and create a sense of balance in your life.

One Challenge To Take

  1. Track your activities for one week. Compared your personal and professional priorities against your activities. How many of your priorities have made it onto your schedule? How many items on your schedule have nothing to do with your priorities? How many activities actually serve to defeat or oppose your priorities?
  2. Make a list of all of your current commitments and evaluate how they either support or detract from your ability to live within your priority framework. (We’ll talk more about evaluating opportunities in another post.)
  3. Make a commitment to get free of commitments and activities that do not support your priorities. Decide what activities and commitments you’re going to remove, then create a plan to move them out of your calendar. Create a script for talking to other people around these issues, if it helps. Chose the first item to go and TAKE ACTION!

Until next time, take care!

Kim

Week Seventeen: Define Your Priorities

Welcome back to the Remodel Your Reality Challenge! Now that you’ve started to reclaim your energy, it’s time to decide how you’re going to use it. Over the next few posts, I’d like to challenge you to stop managing your time. Instead, I’d like you to consider managing your priorities.

A priority is something that is important to you, or something that needs your attention in the present. Your personal priorities define how you invest time within your life. Your professional priorities guide your allocation of the time committed to your work.

Making the decision to invest your time according to your priorities not only supports the effective use of each moment, it also paves the road to a high-quality life. It creates a structure for you to make decisions that help you experience life on your terms and gives you permission to turn away from requirements that don’t support your aspirations.

One Thing To Think About

It’s easier to use your time effectively when you begin to view it as a finite commodity that you have the choice to spend—or invest. Establishing a list of priorities for your life and work, and making commitments based on that list, allows the things that are important to you to exist in your life.

One Question To Answer

At the end of each week, do you feel exhausted, frustrated, and burnt-out? Do you sometimes wonder why you can’t seem to get control and question what is wrong with you? If so, you have not proactively decided how you’d like to use your time, and it’s possible that a good deal of your day is committed to other people’s demands, to items that seem urgent, or in response to what you believe is expected of you. If you’ve taken this approach to managing your calendar, you probably have very little time left over to invest in what matters to you.

One Challenge To Take

Set aside twenty to thirty minutes to move through this activity. Try to arrange for an uninterrupted period of time, which allows you to consider the areas of your life and work that are truly important to you.

Create a list that reflects who you are, not a list that reflects what you think other people expect of you. Some examples include:

  • Personal Priorities: Spending quality time with my family, taking time out for fun and recreation, taking care of my health.
  • Professional Priorities: Leading and mentoring my employees, developing new business, continuing to learn and grow my skill base.

When you make the choice to honestly define what matters to you, the possibility for life and work balance is created. It’s quite likely that your schedule will remain full, even after moving through this exercise. The difference is that you will be busy with things that matter to you. You’ll be living your priorities. As a result, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a much greater level of joy, satisfaction, and happiness each day.

Until next time, take care!

Kim

Week Sixteen: Dealing With The Unacceptable Actions of Others

Welcome back to the Remodel Your Reality Challenge! Today we’re going to tackle the fourth and final cause of emotional energy drain – dealing with the unacceptable actions of others.

One Thing To Think About

Human beings thrive on interaction. The most beautiful experiences we’ll have in our lives will likely involve our connection with others. Unfortunately, some of the most difficult or traumatic experiences in our lives become part of our experience as a result of our interaction with other people.

An unacceptable behavior is an improper or inappropriate action, directed at you by another person, that causes you to have a negative emotional response. Examples of an unacceptable behavior include a family member snubbing you at an event, a co-worker spreading a rumor about you at the office, or a friend repeatedly standing you up when you commit to seeing each other.

One Question To Answer

Where are you allowing the unacceptable actions of others to drain your emotional energy? Take inventory of the people in your life and the experiences that stand out for you. If you discover that you have unresolved emotions around a person or event, move through the six-step model below to support you in reaching closure.

One Challenge To Take

Six-step process for dealing with the unacceptable actions of others.

  • Step One – Describe the event or experience. What happened, and why isn’t this okay?
  • Step Two – Connect with your emotions. How did this experience make you feel?
  • Step Three – Identify what needs to happen for you to feel finished with your experience. Do you need to have a conversation with the person? Do you want an apology? Do you simply need to connect with your own emotions?
  • Step Four – Get clear about your resolution path. If the situation involves another person, do you want him or her in your life or would you like to end the relationship? Do you feel a need to talk with the person about the incident, or would you prefer to put your feelings down on paper?
  • Step Five – Allow yourself to fully feel the emotions that exist at the core of this issue. Let yourself be angry. Let yourself be sad. Many times, an emotion needs to be fully felt before you can let it go. Give yourself permission to experience and release your emotions.
  • Step Six – Take action. Write the letter. Have the meeting. Do whatever you feel you need to do to reach closure.

In some instances, a repetitively inappropriate person may need to be removed from your life. In other instances, the person you’ve communicated with may work to change his or her behavior. The outcome of your acknowledgement and communication is much less important than your willingness to reclaim your emotional reserves.

Until next time, take care!

Kim

Week Fifteen: Speaking the Truth

Welcome back to the Remodel Your Reality Challenge! Today we’re going to look at the third source of emotional energy disturbance, your failure to speak the truth. When you fail to let someone know what your true feelings are, or you allow another person to speak to you in a way you find unacceptable, you undermine your self-respect. This is energetically depleting, not to mention personally demoralizing.

One Thing To Think About

Women often have difficulty letting someone know when they’re angry or hurt. That’s generally because we aren’t comfortable with confrontation. We haven’t been taught to communicate with clarity and constructive feedback, so we repress our emotions.

When you consistently censor yourself, eventually one of three things will happen—you will numb out emotionally, you will make yourself physically sick, or you will explode at the most inopportune moment. (We have all had those explosive moments. While it may feel great to rage like a banshee, I’m here to tell you that there is a better way.)

One Question To Answer

When you don’t speak up for yourself you begin to compile an inventory of experiences that cause you to feel frustrated, sad, despondent, or completely furious. It takes a great deal of energy to fuel these emotions! Examples of such situations include allowing your mate to use an unacceptable tone of voice with you or allowing others to tease or criticize you. Where are you failing to speak up for yourself and creating an emotional energy black hole?

One Challenge To Take

It is important for you to get comfortable with confrontation. Use this five-step process to learn to speak up for yourself:

  • Step One – Clearly describe the problem, as you see it, to the person involved.
  • Step Two – Specifically let the other party know what part of his or her behavior was unacceptable to you.
  • Step Three – Let the other person know how the situation made you feel.
  • Step Four – Ask the other person for the specific solution you seek. This may require that you ask the person to change his or her behavior in some way. If this is the case, be very clear about the behavioral change you require. If you want an apology, ask for it.
  • Step Five – This other person has free will and may see the situation much differently than you do. It’s possible that he or she will not be willing to comply with your wishes. You must be ready and willing to let the other person know what you plan to do if he or she won’t comply with your request. This may mean that you let the other know you can’t have a relationship with him or her any longer, or that you’ll have to limit the time you spend with him or her. Understand what your alternatives are and be willing to follow them through.

The core issue in learning to communicate on your own behalf goes far beyond the management of your energy. Truly, this skill will allow you to build your reserves of self-confidence and self-respect. The increase you’ll experience in your level of vitality is simply an added bonus.

Until next time, take care!

Kim

Week Fourteen: Action and Inaction

Welcome back to the Remodel Your Reality Challenge! There are four primary situations that impact your emotional energy: Your own actions, your own inaction, your failure to speak the truth, and other people’s unacceptable actions. Today we’ll be looking at your actions and inactions. We’ll address the other concerns over the next few posts. Invariably, you will identify with each scenario to some degree.

One Thing To Think About

Your Own Actions

If you have done something that violates your sense of right and wrong, you may feel incomplete. If this action caused harm to another person, you will almost certainly feel incomplete. The actions in this area vary from person to person, as everyone has a different set of rules that govern his or her behavior. Examples of these actions can range in seriousness from something as seemingly harmless as failing to keep a commitment, to more serious offenses such as telling a lie or gossiping about a friend or family member.

Your Own Inaction

If you failed to follow through on something you now wish you would have, you may need to resolve your lack of action in order to avoid an insidious circle of thought, which I’ve coined “The Inaction Cycle.” Inaction results in missed opportunities. Missed opportunities fuel fantasies about what could have been. Focusing on what could have been causes you to live in the neverland of “what if,” instead of the reality of “what is.” Living in fantasies of “what if” guarantees that you will never take the actions necessary to have a fabulous “what is.” I’ve worked with countless people living in this cycle of fantasy and projection. Not only is this energetically expensive, it’s a certain recipe for dissatisfaction with life.

Examples of inaction include failing to complete your degree, not following up on an interesting professional opportunity, failing to pursue a relationship with someone you were interested in, or putting off your study of a much-loved activity.

One Question To Answer

Where have your actions or inaction created emotional turmoil and energy drains? Take inventory of your personal behavior to find out.

Actions:

Do you have regrets about anything you’ve said or done that you may need to address? Do you owe anyone an apology? If so, consider the situation. What part of your actions do you regret? How would you act differently if given a second chance? Would it make sense for you to communicate with the person who was affected by your behavior? 

Inaction:

What do you think you would have gained had you acted on the opportunity you’re remembering? What do you fear you missed out on?

One Challenge To Take

Deal with the results of your own actions:

In some instances, offering a clear apology can support you in reaching a place of energetic closure, even if the other person involved doesn’t accept your attempt to make amends. In other situations, the simple act of recognizing that your behavior was not acceptable and committing to make a change can bring you to neutrality. The objective in addressing situations involving your own actions is to arrive at a place of emotional neutrality, so that your energy is not required to keep past regrets alive.

Address the results of your inaction

You cannot change the past, but you can create a compelling future. Get clear about the essence of what you wish you would have created or accomplished. Once you’ve connected with your true intention, brainstorm several ways you could pursue that outcome today. It’s been said that the longest journey begins with a single step. Your willingness to honestly assess what you regret, and embrace the possibility that you can create the essence of what you believe you missed out on can be a great source of drive and dynamic power.

Until next time, take care!

Kim

Week Thirteen: Assess Emotional Energy

Welcome back to the Remodel Your Reality Challenge! Now that you’ve gotten a handle on your physical and mental energy, it’s time to think about your emotional energy – your feelings and your reactions to those feelings.

The emotional factor of energy has a powerful effect on your vitality and your sense of self. Treating other people with respect, taking action on your own behalf, and communicating clearly will help you maximize your emotional power.

One Thing To Think About

The emotional factors of energy are usually the most challenging to deal with. These have to do with life experiences that are unresolved and are directly linked to your interactions with other people. They can be charged with angst—such as feelings of guilt, shame, fear, embarrassment, frustration, anger, and regret.

One Question To Answer

Is your emotional energy strong, or is it being drained by unresolved or unaddressed issues?

Experiences that impact your emotions only diminish your energy when they’re left unresolved. The best way to determine if a situation is unresolved is to connect with the charge of feeling you have associated with the experience. If you can recall the scenario with a level of neutrality and calm, it’s probable that you’ve reached a level of closure related to that event. It’s even possible you’ve pulled valuable lessons from your encounter.

If, however, you feel a jolt of emotion, such as anger, fear, shame, embarrassment, or regret when recalling the event, it’s likely you have some unresolved feelings to contend with. These are the experiences that use precious units of your energy and that you need to inventory.

Take the following assessment, designed to help you identify where you may be losing emotional energy. Answer either yes or no to each question.

  1. Do you tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable to do so?
  2. Do you say no to invitations you aren’t interested in accepting?
  3. Do you spend time only with people you like and enjoy?
  4. Do you require the people in your life to treat you with respect?
  5. Do you feel loved and accepted by those closest to you?
  6. Have you accepted the experiences in your past?
  7. Have you let go of any past anger or regret?
  8. Are you able to ask for what you want?
  9. Are your current relationships clean and constructive?

Any question you answered no to is very likely contributing to your energy deficit. These are more complex issues than those within your physical or mental inventories. For that reason, you may need to approach them more slowly, carefully, and thoughtfully.

One Challenge To Take

Identify one situation in your emotional inventory that you feel ready to address. Get clear about what you require to resolve the situation.

  • Do you simply need to process it? If so, writing a letter allowing yourself to express your feelings may be enough to reach resolution.
  • Would you like an apology or a changed behavior from the other person? Once you’re clear about what you’d like to communicate, arrange to have a conversation with the other person during a time when you will be uninterrupted.
  • Do you need to make amends or take action on your own behalf? If so, get clear about what you’re sorry for, or the circumstances you’d like to create for yourself.

Decide to work through only one item at a time and allow yourself to move at a comfortable pace. Seek the support of a close friend, family member, or your coach, and remember that small steps will lead you to the energetic liberation you seek.

Until next time, take care!

Kim

Week Twelve: Take A Project Inventory

Welcome back to The 52 Week Remodel Your Reality Challenge! You’ve done a great job so far of identifying and addressing the things that drain your physical energy, and have begun to look at how you can increase your mental energy. Just like how decluttering your house reenergizes you physically, reclaiming your mental energy involves clearing out mental clutter that drains you, distracts you and holds you back with unfinished business. We’ve already tackled your to-do list in previous posts, so today we’re going look at all those projects you have sitting around.

One Thing To Think About

A project is something you’d like to create or accomplish that requires multiple steps. For example, drafting a financial plan or redecorating a room. Most of us keep an inventory of uncompleted plans in our minds. But having all that unfinished business hanging over your head can suck the energy right out of you. It can also leave you feeling anxious and depressed. This creates a vicious circle, since the energy drain this creates leaves you too tired and too stressed out to work on any of your projects.

The simple act of getting your projects out of your head, sorting through those you are committed to versus those that no longer make sense for you, and prioritizing what remains can be incredibly liberating. Couple that with committed, consistent action and your energy level will begin to soar.

One Question To Answer

How many projects do you have up in the air?

Work

Do you have any pending projects that you keep putting off or that you never manage to get around to? Keep a particular eye out for projects that don’t align with your normal responsibilities, your work priorities or your scope of expertise.

Home

How many unfinished or unstarted home improvement projects, organizational tasks, landscaping or gardening plans and so on are waiting for your attention? This includes things like major or specific cleaning projects, attic sorting expeditions and making plans for an automobile upgrade.

Personal

What sort of personal projects do you have hanging around in limbo? What about that half-finished Spanish language course, or those craft projects you never get around to completing? This also includes personal plans such as setting up an exercise routine or a self-care regimen.

Family

Are there any unfinished family plans or projects hanging around making you feel guilty? Maybe you still have a camera full of photos from your last vacation waiting to be downloaded and printed, or perhaps that family trip you keep putting off planning.

Community/Friends

Do you keep “forgetting” to make plans for a girls’ night out, no matter how many emails the group sends you? Or maybe you’re supposed to be working on a project for your favorite charity, but just haven’t gotten around to it.

One Challenge To Take

Take inventory of the unfinished projects in your mind. Get them on paper and evaluate them to determine if they’re still meaningful to you. If they’re not, give yourself permission to put them to rest. You have a right to change your mind! If they are, get clear about what you want the outcome of each project to be—for example, a completed financial plan—and decide why this end result is important to you. Meaning creates momentum, so the process of connecting with why you’d like to accomplish the goal at hand will energize your actions.

Once you’ve identified those projects that you’re committed to, prioritize them. Decide which you’ll do first, which second, and so on. Then, begin working through the steps you’ll need to take to act on your first priority. Decide to commit a specific amount of time to the completion of your enterprise each week and follow through on that commitment. Work on one project at a time, giving yourself permission to move slowly and steadily.

Until Next Week,

Kim

Week Eleven: Tame Your To-Do List

Welcome to Week Eleven of The 52 Week Remodel Your Reality Challenge! Last week we started the process of taming your to-do list. I asked you to clear your mind of the many tasks and projects you had stored in your mental inventory by moving through a brain dump, and writing down every item floating around in your mind. I also challenged you to create some structure around these items, by grouping similar tasks. Today we’re going to put that structure into your calendar.  

One Thing To Think About

Last week we organized items on your to-do lists into two groups; repetitive activities and one-time activities. We’re going to take three steps to incorporate both activity groupings into your life. We’ll do that by integrating them into your calendar. First, a few words of advice;

  • Repetitive Activities: An effective way to manage repetitive activities is to establish a routine around their completion. For example, if you know you need to pay bills weekly, the most effective way for you to make this happen is to pick a day of the week (even a time of the day) you will do so. Schedule that appointment into your calendar, and show up to complete this task every week. While you may need to make exceptions occasionally, this is by far the most effective tactic I’ve used in helping my clients work repetitive tasks into their calendars with ease.

Another helpful approach to managing your repetitive tasks is to take advantage of outside resources. For example, could you make a standard grocery list, and use an internet grocery service to deliver food items to your house each week? Is it possible for you to have your dry cleaner deliver to your home, instead of having to make the trip to their store each week? Investing a small amount of time to set up a system that supports your repetitive errands can simplify your process.

  • One-Time Activities: When addressing occasional errands, it’s most productive to group them together and attempt to complete them within close proximity to one another. While this is not always possible, your willingness to consider this new approach can support you in managing your inventory of tasks.

One Challenge To Take

Okay, it’s the moment of truth. No more overwhelm. No more excuses. It’s time to take control of your to-do list. You’ll do that by taking control of your calendar.

  • Step One: Get your calendar out.
  • Step Two: Pull out your list of repetitive tasks. Pick one item, and make a standing appointment with yourself, where you will show up to address that task each week. (I understand you will have multiple items on your list.       It’s okay to get your structure started with just one of these items. If you feel incredibly ambitious, you can develop a structure for all of them. Yet, even committing to one will put you well on your way to success).
  • Step Three: Consider your list of repetitive tasks. Does any item lend itself to delivery? Can you set up an internet grocery delivery or delivery of your dry cleaning? If so, make an appointment with yourself for the upcoming week to complete that process.
  • Step Four: Pull out your list of one-time errands. Put them in order of priority. What has to be done first, second, third? Now, pick two to three items to complete this week, and schedule an appointment in your calendar to address them. Next week, come back to your list, and select the next few items to tackle.

I know this sounds simple, and it really is. Taking control of your to-do list can be successfully accomplished when you combine structure with routine. Now you just need to show up to work your routine!

Until Next Week…

Kim