If you feel like a hamster on the proverbial wheel of life, this episode will help you improve all aspects of life in the manner you choose. Every day is irreplaceable and your goal should be to live each to its fullest! Jimmy shares his method of capturing every minute of the day for his benefit while also serving his clients, team and family with the time needed to enhance and maintain these vital and important relationships.
- Planning each of your days in a manner that gives you satisfaction and happiness.
- How to balance your activities in the day that prioritize your vital and important tasks and relationships.
- Using a tool that gives you the power to change your experiences from your day to a more rewarding day!
- The positive impact of reflecting on the day and the value of making adjustments to live a life by your own design.
Good morning! This is Jimmy Williams with Live a Life by Design, your Monday morning moments of motivation to help you have the best week possible. Yeah, you’ve heard I’m the only one on the airwaves today that has a PhD in Positivity. The Master’s degree in motivation to help you become a better, bigger, bolder you. Hey, thanks for joining me. I gotta tell you, every week I am so amazed. We get our engineering reports in, and I will say to you, thank you. Emphatically, thank you for all your kind words and support. Your reviews on iTunes, your ratings. And just simply participating in the process of helping to make our world a better place.
Today I’m going to share one of my “secrets” of how I actually improve all aspects of my life. Now, before you tune out, let me just tell you that if you can implement these simple strategies, your life will immediately be better. There are many neigh-sayers out in the world that believe if there’s a change, that the world will fall apart on them. You know these people. They are so stuck in the rut that they couldn’t see daylight if they wanted to because they’re so fixated on what they’ve always done, and they’ll always be what they’ve always been. And the point I’m making to that is is that we must make changes in our life if we wish to see greater results. As the old saying goes, “You’ll always get what you’ve always got if you keep doing what you’re doing”. And I know that may not be good English, but it is the truth.
So I set back and was thinking, what could I bring to the listeners of Live a Life by Design that would add some great value to them, give multiples of return for a simple investment. And it struck me. This is one area that has improved my life exponentially, and that is lifetime learning. Not just form the books, but about myself. That time that we seek to really learn how we responded to a situation. How we will respond in the future that will give better results. How we could be a better leader, how we could be a better spouse. How we could just be an overall better person in our community. And I want to share some of these fun things that I’ve been doing with you today to make these small simple changes.
And what better time in your life, then to make some simple changes now as we’re in the middle of a disruptive period. You know with the pandemic and Covid-19 rearing it’s head. We’re hearing such things as there’s another wave possibly coming later this year and so forth. But you know, I don’t live for tomorrow. I live in today. And that’s the key to this. Get as much from each day as you possibly can. And how do you do that?
Well, the first and foremost is this, you must plan each day. Plan your day. It’s that simple. So our first strategy today is always plan the day you want. You know, I took advantage of this, oh, we didn’t really have down time. But I took advantage of some of the slower times we had during the pandemic and picked up some new skills. We had times of isolation that many of us could have been reading great books, or learning new skills in terms of writing capabilities, or speaking capabilities, or using the software better that you have. I do know with me, particularly on Zoom, for meetings I’ve gotten a lot better at using that software then I was pre-pandemic.
And some of you might have simply sat on the sofa and binge watched the latest Netflix or Prime movie offering. The beautiful thing about our lives is that we decide how we wish to spend the days we are given. I do my best to make each day count. It may not sound like an exciting prospect to some people. But I have a plan for each day that allows me to extract every minute of the day in the most opportune way for me to enjoy it abundantly.
You know, it tells us to live life abundantly. Don’t simply exist, right? So, if you’re not enjoying your life in the manner you desire. Today’s episode will be particularly helpful. I utilize these three strategies to help me improve all areas of life. As I said, strategy number one, I plan the day that I want. You know it sounds very elementary, but it is setting your personal self for the direction you wish to go in life. Jim Rohn used an analogy of a sailboat out on the open sea. The winds can blow you toward the rocks, toward the danger, they can blow you toward the shore so you beat your craft. But you could set the sail to actually go against the wind. It’s call tacking. And when I was a young lad, I was in Boy Scouts and I learned to use and enjoy sailboats on an open lake. Very large lake, and the wind would sometimes push me in a direction opposite of that I wish to go, and my instructor that time taught me how to tack against the wind. And by setting the sail in the most appropriate manner to get that done, you literally can sail against the wind.
You know, if you look at setting everyday up as you had desired, you’re going to fulfill more about your life than just simply accomplishing your day. You’re gonna get confidence from that moment that you said, ‘Hey, I checked that off and it was fantastic’. You’re going to also experience, not just confidence, but momentum in your days because you said, ‘Hey, I can tackle that day, well then I can tackle the next day, and then I can tackle the next day and so forth’. And before you know it, you have a string of days that represents an entire year and you look back and you can’t believe the accomplishment.
If you simply jump out of bed each morning and get ready for the day, in my opinion you’re missing a golden opportunity to improve one area of life. And that is your ability to decide the outcomes of the day. You notice I didn’t just say plan. I’m talking about deciding the outcomes. What does it look like at the end of your day, when you first arise in the morning and you say I have conquered this day and I have taken from it as much juice if I could from the orange. And I squeezed as hard as I can and I gained progress.
You know, I’m not recommending one planner over the other. There are hundreds of them for you to use, and you could simply create your own, if you wish. But I highly suggest you have something in writing that allows you to put down on paper what you want to achieve in the next 24 hours. Now some of that will be sleep, right? Don’t laugh I actually put in my goals that I wish to sleep 8 hours per night. And don’t laugh, but I actually slip in a nap on weekends. Most people use an electronic means for planning their day, and this is another method that may help you. But there is something special for me, to write down the goals, tasks, meetings, calls, etc. I wish to achieve that day and see them ever present in front of me so that I feel that great sense of accomplishment as I see the list becoming a page filled with checkmarks. Right?
Now, I gotta confession to make. I’m one of these guys that I’ve actually performed something I didn’t have on my list and it felt so great, I wrote it down and put a checkmark beside it. Now that is accomplishment. So, while planning your day it is critical that you place the items in your day that you want to work on. If you don’t, the day will literally run you. Another Jim Rohn quote that I love, “Either you run the day, or it runs you”. You know, if you fail to plan your days, you’ll find that simply you are working on someone else’s goals instead of your own. You’re the person who knows what you want to do in life more than anyone else. Don’t allow others to dictate their goals on your life. When approached by someone to solicit your input or help on a task that they are performing, you will not notice it at first. But what is happening is that you are being pulled from those important vital tasks that you wish to accomplish for the day. And now you’re giving your time, talent, energy and resources to solving their problems or challenges that are vital important.
I’m not saying that you can’t be a team member collaborating or working on a big project. But what I am pointing out is that you have only so many hours in the day and you must jealously guard your use of them. Once the day is gone, it is gone forever. Think about your short term and long term goals and decide how you wish to spend your day for ultimate joy and fulfilling accomplishment in your life. It’s very very simple. Plan the day that you wish to experience. It’s often said that we don’t take a trip, well, unless you’re a male, right, without scheduling out where you’re going and where you’re leaving from. In other words, you have your origin and you have your destination. Now, many of men, we already know by innate, you know, maybe skill just born with it, that we don’t actually need a map, right?
We’ll drive around til we see a landmark or we see something that we know is in the vicinity to lead us in the direction we need to go. But my wife is a fantastic trip planner. She plans it down to the stops where we’re going to refresh ourselves, grab something to eat, she’s got landmarks along the way if we’re driving. If we’re flying when we get to our destination she’s got things lined out. It is just a fantastic trip plan that she puts together for us. Me, I like to do things on the fly a little bit. I have often just packed a bag and said I’m heading in a direction and when I get to where I want to stop I will do so. So you’re asking yourself, Jimmy, how is that planning your day. Well, it’s planning my day because I’m opening my eyes to new adventures and I’m simply going to enjoy what I encounter. That’s how I do those days. I don’t do them very often, but those are a lot of fun when I do them. So, plan the day you want and work your plan is strategy number one.
Strategy number two is to plan a balanced day. You know, I have some friends that put 15-16 items on their to do list. Now I’m not talking about a plan of just to do list items. I’m talking about a balance plan that has all factors of life considered for the day. You know, you’re not one dimensional. But some of these friends of mine will put down 14-15 things on there. They only get through about, maybe three. And they set there and look now, they’re defeated. They’ve only got 3 out of 14 done. They’re looking at this long list, all of them in their mind are vital and important. And all they can do is set there and feel inferior. They didn’t get everything done they desired. They now feel like they have wasted the whole day, when they actually, by accomplishing those three items may have had a very productive day. Very fruitful for them.
So what I mean by planning a balanced day is that a person needs to work more on their life than simply their work life. You’re more than one dimensional, as I said. And being that simply work and home will not do you the justice of having a fulfilled life. I know you may feel that way in your job sometimes, is that all you do is work. But I recommend planning your day about 80%. Give yourself some room for flexibility for emergencies that may arise, for something vital and important that may come to your attention that day that you didn’t know previously that morning. And this will allow you some room for those interruptions, and team projects, etc. Then plan some recreational time each day. Now, when we were kids, in grade school, what was usually the most fun time you had in that school experience. Of course it was on the playground. When we were kids you couldn’t chase us off the playground. I’ll never forget when I was in grade school, many many years ago, we could be out there for what seemed like only 10 minutes and it would have been 45 minutes. But I mean, we were running the whole time, you’re burning energy. You’re refreshing your mind with those endorphins. Your body is now just pumped up with blood and you’re ready to go, and what I’m saying that for, is that you as an adult still have those same needs. Now, granted we’ve got a lot more to carry around, if you’re like me then you had when you were in the second or third grade, obviously, but my point here is to have recreational time each day. And as humans we enjoy our time doing activities that we love to do. Whether it’s working out, hiking, playing a sport, reading, whatever it is. Everyday should contain some activity that it means for you to burn some energy, and or calm your mind.
How does this help you perform better and enjoy more life? Simple. You are filling a sense of accomplishment which triggers hormones in the body that gives your brain that sense of pride. My dad, before he retired, was one of the hardest working men I know. I idolize my dad for his sense of focus and purpose to accomplish his plans for each day. After I became an entrepreneur, I inadvertently adopted my dad’s approach to work. And it was all work, no play. The first few years of my career were filled with one dimensional days. I thought that was what it took to initiate the success I desired to achieve. Boy, did I learn a lesson. Granted success requires focus, diligent work and competence, but another powerful tool to continue such a diligent path to success is the tool of recreation. During recreation your body and brain switch gears from the focus at work. You eliminate the stresses you encountered while working and provides much needed body stretching as well as other benefits. Lastly, plan some family time or friend time into each day. When I am speaking across the country I make it a point to take pictures of my family with me. The hotel rooms I have stayed are opulent. They are very plush. But my placement of the pictures of the nightstand and on the desk in the room convert this normally stale room of just another hotel room into my own personal space. I’ll call my wife and daughters everyday to discuss their lives and plans for the next few days. And sharing this personal time each day emboldens me and reinforces the reasons that I pursue my career. To support not only my life, but the lifestyle my family desires and quite frankly deserves. So strategy number two to me is very very important. Plan a balanced day.
And lastly, strategy number three is to reflect and adjust each day. I’ve been a member of an organization called Strategic Coach, and it has helped me really hone my skills as an entrepreneur and focus on bringing value to our markets. And there’s a tool that I’ve learned there called the experience transformer. This tool has been used now, literally, every week in our office. I use it for personal reasons as well. One of my favorite tools, because it helps me determine how I can improve each of the experiences that I’ve undertaken. The basic elements of this tool allows you to look at those activities that worked, the processes that didn’t work, and what could be done differently to improve the outcomes. So it’s simply this, a reflection on what occurred and what could have been performed differently that would have given you a better outcome. After a few weeks of performing this reflection and adjustment process, you will find that your planning and accomplishments for the days ahead become much more in line with your desired results.
You are learning and implementing your days in a manner that brings your more happiness and fulfillment. The first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, reached the pinnacle of her political career by following one simple strategy on planning her day. She said simply this, “Plan your work for today and everyday, then work your plan”. Such a simple, yet profound approach to achievement. Strategy number three is to reflect and adjust each day until you are honed in on the type of days you wish to experience. So these three strategies are nothing Earth shattering, are they? Why do we not perform them? I’ll give you a reason. It is so easy to run through the habit of getting ready as quickly as possible. Sleeping as long as you can, and having no boundaries around you except for, ‘I’ve got to be at work at a certain time’. And the point I’m making is that that way of life is simply you’re being run by someone else’s schedule, someone else’s plans, someone else’s goals.
Now none of you listening to this podcast woke up this morning to fail in your day. To live a life of mediocrity. No, you are empowered for greatness. By improving your skill and reflecting and adjusting your days to achieve the most important and vital tasks necessary to help you enjoy the best life that you can design. You will ultimately improve all areas of your life. Now, I have a saying. And it’s not my original saying. But I love this quote, and been married now 32, going on 33, years in September to a beautiful woman. Lovely lady, my best friend, business partner. She is about anything I’d ever ask her to be and she does it very well. And I simply want to say this, ‘If mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy’. So that statement, if you’ve been married any time at all will ring true, I’m sure, to your ears. And so what I often do, well, I will bounce my plan for the days, such as weekends, vacations, and so forth, and ask for her input so that we as a family can enjoy one another’s time. Again, I’m going on the reflecting and adjusting my days all the time. Now that does not mean that I stray from my ultimate vision. No, my vision is still there. It is still robust in my mind, it is very clear to me what my vision is. However, some of my strategies to achieve my vision may have to be amended.
For example, no one planned on a pandemic striking the world. I had a vision for our company, for our team, and I have one for our family. These visions that I have have not changed. But boy have we had to make some changes in how we visit with our clients, how we maintain the office. How we utilize certain software to achieve deliverables. How we’ve had to change by flying our daughter home from New York, because the pandemic was much worse in that city than our own. How I have a daughter that’s supposed to be at college right now in Norman, and she’s not there, she’s at home. Their lives were totally disrupted, and my vision for them, as I continue to remind them has never changed. They in their minds have seen this disruption, as young as they are, they haven’t seen a lot of disruption and this is perhaps the first time their lives have been turned completely upside down in their minds. But they had family to rely on. They had a backdrop to catch them should they have fallen very far. That’s what I’m talking about. They are learning now to plan their days and adjust and reflect on their days so that they have better outcomes.
And I will assure that just because they’re younger, doesn’t mean that they can adapt to change quicker than others. It is just depending on our own personalities how we adapt in life. And we could simply have set, as I said earlier, on the sofa binge watching TV during this entire pandemic and have no personal growth. No emotional gains. And surely, no goals achieved. But that was not what we did. We simply adjusted our days to a new norm for now. And I say for now, because I believe this will soon pass as well. But we must learn from our experiences. Too often we take the current present situation and expand it to all aspects of life. Matter of fact, we help multiply it is so that we are impacted in our mind to the point that we simply resign from trying to reach our goals. That’s not you. That is not what you do. You know, it’s amazing to me that something so simple as these three strategies can change your life if you simply apply them consistently. I didn’t say you could do it in one day, but if you work on seven days of planning each day. I’m talking about your Saturdays and Sundays as well. You will see a remarkable change in your attitude, your aptitude and your capabilities. You will feel more in charge of your life, which then will give you greater confidence to move forward some big, hair, audacious goals that you may have set aside.
Remember if you want to experience life to its fullest, and you’re not doing so currently, change is necessary. I know that’s a bad word to a lot of people. But change is actually growth. Now if we don’t focus on changing in a positive manner, we could have negative growth. Let me give you an example, if during the pandemic you were like, I don’t know some of us, and you allowed yourself to get a little too comfortable with the refrigerator you may have gained a few pounds over your ideal weight. That’s called change. But that’s not positive change, right? So we want you to experience positive change. You know, we’re foolish to think that our lives will simply improve by some cosmic act or the passing of time. That does not happen. Each day is precious and to waste one of them performing trivial tasks or lacking the energy to spend with the ones you love to me is simply tragic. Don’t be like 99% of the world. You allow yourself to be blown the direction of the wind for the day. Take charge today, implement these simple steps to transform your days from familiar to fantastic.
Start today, plan it the way you want it to be lived. Include some balancing activities of life. Remember you are not a one dimensional working robot. Reflect at the end of the day and adjust your planning for the next day to take you closer to your desired goals. This to me is what quality of life is all about. You can have it all in life. You simply need to adjust your sail to go in the direction you wish to go and this is the definition, in my opinion, of a fulfilled life. Your challenge this week is to plan each day with work, personal, recreational, and reading that will help you achieve a life you desire. You can improve all aspects of life by applying these three simple strategies every day. Until next week, go out Live your Life by Design.