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Commitments: You’re Not F**ked Up, Stupid, or Incompetent

When you’re engaged in an endless cycle of “I should have…” and “Why didn’t I just…?”  that trap you like 25233024_sDante’s 3rd Circle of Hell, you’re missing a critical perspective! And you’re hurting yourself needlessly.

In The Inferno, the 3rd Circle was gluttony, and while I’m not speaking about food and drink, gossip, or things, I am pointing to the belief that “I can do it all – and well or “I should do it all”” as a delusion.

What if you are NOT  a “f—k up” or  “stupid” or “incompetent” or any of the horrible epithets you apply to yourself when you can’t live up to your intentions?

Let’s get real. You like many brilliant, resourceful people are suffering from competing commitments!

Competing commitments really trip us up, if we are unconscious of them!

Here’s an example: You desire to be at your daughter’s dance recital and you’ve promised to finish the final draft for your boss today! Its 6:30 and the draft is only a quarter done – but the recital begins in half an hour and its 15 minutes away.

Wasting time spinning out the “should haves” only adds to your frustration, anger, self-blame and shame.  You can berate yourself OR you can begin to see how the upset surging through you is the result of important commitments – your positive intentions.

Positive? Yes, strong commitments. Read on.

Using the example here what’s going on is that you’re committed to these:
1) have a strong relationship with your daughter ( including support)
2) being responsible in your career (including meeting deadlines)

Rather than being a “bad father” or a “poor time manager” you’ve entered into the dark corner where competing commitments merged. So what does this mean in practical terms? How can you avoid the pain of competing commitments?

You begin to clarify your commitments by determining your priorities. Rather than putting events, deadlines, actions to take on your calendar, you decide their place in the order of your priority…
asking yourself,  “ What am I committed to…” and creating a list, then actually prioritizing the top 5-7 commitments.

You’ll notice I ask you to focus on the most important commitments. That’s where the suffering arises when these compete for your time.Then you begin to plan differently.

Rather than deciding unconsciously what you will give attention from a stance of having your life imposed upon you by external forces, you take charge from a place of increased clarity. Suddenly the less important, the superfluous becomes clear. You CHOOSE based on the based on priorities you’ve deliniated..  You’re in charge.

The truth is that many conflicts can be avoided with this kind of  planning but not all.  If the context for the planning comes from a place of committed action (rather than checking off items on a “To Do” list, the decisions become better and  easier. The important things get handled and the superfluous falls away.

And when your commitments actually do compete, you recognize what is happening without beating yourself up. You have funded goodwill towards your actions that you can draw upon like a bank account.

With the question: What am I committed to guiding your activity, you can make clearer, better decision about how you spend your energy,your time.

Then you plan according to those priorities by asking yourself the question: “Is there a better way to meet my commitments?”

Yes, there is.


Thank you for reading and I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. If you’ve gotten value, will you please share this with people who need it on your favorite social networks?

And if you’d like a FREE tool to help you navigate your competing commitments (in just 5 minutes a day), then I invite you to click here. http://www.thevaliantgroup.com/products/

Relaxed Productivity: The Secret You Need to Know

It’s 8:30 a.m. and I’m deeply into my day. Swirling through my head are the tasks I’ve promised myself to accomplish today. Yet I’m feeling stress free.

That’s right, you got it – free from stress.

My list isn’t shorter than yours or easier. It contains the usual suspects – business and personal items, some urgent, some dictated by others, some my own, some wishful, some in-between, and some that won’t ever get done.

So why aren’t I stressed by a list yay long?

I have a system for prioritizing that lets me relax, knowing that the critical items – those that align with my values, will not only be completed, but will be celebrated. This system not only makes me more productive, easier in my boots (okay, shoes) but also gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “getting it done” – a meaning I emphatically endorse.

So what is that?

“Getting it done” means completing the right tasks, the ones that move you forward towards your goals or further into your values, not just ticking off items on an endless “to do” list. And when these get done, there’s a feeling of completion which includes celebration.

Celebration isn’t a word often associated with productivity, but think about it. How does one respond to a sense of completion? And, what builds the momentum to keep on, keepin’ on the next day, and the next and the one after that?

What really happens when you complete an important or urgent task? (Yes there is a distinction, read on.) There is a physiological shift. Your breathing alters so your nervous system settles. If you put your attention there, you feel that “juicy goodness” and expand a bit.

Your self-worth ratchets up a little too – and that further impacts your body. Taking all that together, even in the 60 seconds you allow, is a celebration…and if you do nothing else, you are building momentum for whatever is next.

What gets in the way, you may be asking? Ahhh…. great question!

What most often gets in the way of productivity is confusion and overwhelm. There IS much to do, and in many arenas. How do you decide? Especially when you feel that setting aside time to plan puts you even further behind.

Many intelligent, resourceful folks just wade in… and then almost drown from lack of planning. They tell me they just “aren’t productive enough” but the truth is, they aren’t productive in a useful, systematic way.

That doesn’t have to be you. So what can help you become both productive and relaxed?

You can learn to use my 5 Minute Planning Tool and build your productivity muscles. Much like strength training, becoming more productive in a useful, meaningful way requires practice – regular practice. But you don’t have to get to a gym and you won’t have fees to pay, yet your results will be worth every moment invested.

This method didn’t originate with me. Yet, I’ve tailored it to my life, my needs and used it with hundreds of clients – all to great success. Now you can too. I call it The 5 Minute Planning Tool and if you haven’t seen it already, you can find it here, on the top right side of the page.

With this planning tool, you first determine what is truly important to you. This seems simple but when was the last time you prioritized? Then you look at external deadlines that MUST be met.

Once you have the scope of importance and urgency clear, you funnel your daily tasks through those filters. Next you align them on your calendar. And voila – no more confusion and no more overwhelm.

You know what most needs doing TODAY, relax into getting tasks moving you forward towards your goals, meet deadlines and eliminate mental and physical clutter. Plus, you celebrate – completion and this purposeful sense of yourself as a mover and shaker in your world.

Sound good? It IS and its easy with a little practice. Making the 5 Minute Planning Tool part of every morning, sets you up for relaxed productivity. Once you’ve practiced for a few weeks, its becomes second nature. Its good for you and everyone you know.

So now, at 9:10, and I am ready to move on to the next important task on my list, feeling grateful. Why? Because I finished an item that aligns with my intention of providing value to you.