Despite my attempt to clean my house à la Marie Kondo, I have kept every single calendar planner that I have had since 2008. It’s an odd habit, but when I see the small stacked notebooks next to my work space, I realize how obsessive I can be about my calendar. I can be quite the color-coding, sticker-sticking, tab-folding, label-making fiend running on iced caramel macchiatos and messy buns.
I do not keep these books to remind myself of all that I have accomplished... I keep them to remind myself of what I haven’t. Alongside each page, I would keep a list of passion projects and goals- things that were just for me. The list has ranged from building my website to attending different events and managing various home projects (*cough* thus the Marie Kondo tidying). And it was rare any of these projects were ever completed. They just got added to the next month’s to-do, never being checked off. Literal years had stacked up with nothing done.
Let me guess, I am not the only one. And you know why? We glorify being busy over being productive. We completely forget that they are not synonyms. It needs to stop. And it CAN stop! With just a few small changes...
In my personal and professional life at Rivvly, I am a scheduling ninja. I can take my aforementioned calendar skills and turn them into greatness for my clients! With great power, comes great responsibility. I needed to learn to be responsible for my power by setting boundaries– especially when it comes to my time. Time is the only currency you can always spend but never earn back. It is an easy to miss domino effect.
The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you have. And the life you have determines how you feed your soul. So basically, not only is time money, it’s your SOUL - your spirit, inspirations, peace, and overall emotional and intellectual wellness!
They key to setting boundaries and productivity is GRATITUDE. It is the way that I have fought for each inch of my “someday” checklist! So, let’s look at 3 spaces that you can start practicing gratitude!
SPACE 1: The inner you!
“Showing empathy and compassion can be powerfully connective and healing. They can also get in the way of us keeping boundaries and letting what needs to go, go. Knowing where the line is can be a difference between healing and suffering.” -Vienna Pharaon
Make it a habit to finish the below sentences every day. Maybe start a journal or simply say them out loud to yourself. Your mindful check-in might prompt some thoughts on your next move. Practicing gratitude towards yourself is a deeply powerful thing. Thank yourself! After all, you’re the BO$$ that gets it all done!
End of week/day check in: I feel…
SPACE 2: Your Workplace
The workplace has quite the range of limits and boundaries– like a room full of lasers that you are trying to avoid like a contortionist. I find that the arena that requires the most finesse at work is email. It can be difficult to compute your thoughts into positive language. Change out old phrases (X) for confidence and gratitude like below (✔)!
You're thinking: I took a while, but it’s ok.
X Sorry for the delay.
✔ Thanks for your patience.
You’re thinking: I worked hard on this. You’re welcome.
X No problem/No worries!
✔ Always happy to help!
You’re thinking: I know what I am doing.
X I think we should...
✔ It would be best if we…
You’re thinking: Wording this is hard.
X Instead of re-writing the email for 40 minutes
✔ It would be best to discuss in person/on a call.
You’re thinking: Do you get what I mean?
X Hopefully, that makes sense?
✔ Let me know if you have questions.
You’re thinking: I made a small error.
X Ahhh! Sorry! I totally missed that!
✔ Good catch! Updated the file attached. Thank you for letting me know!
SPACE 3: Your Social Circle
Your vibe attracts your tribe. The fastest way to change your story is to change your circle. Let your friends either level up or leave. Be very cautious about who has access to you. Protect your space and energy as you continue to do the work to elevate yourself. If a friend has asked you to meet up at Starbucks, but you scheduled time to work on your independent goal, thank them for wanting to connect and tell them why you’d love to look at another day. This chapter might require you to be a little less accessible. And that’s okay! If they love you, which I am sure they do, they will understand!
Additionally, your social media feed is your space. We don’t think usually about it this way, but it is your virtual home. Make sure that it is made up of accounts that fill you with good feelings (or spark joy! *wink*). Two ways that I have practiced gratitude via social media are unfollowing and deactivating. Yep! That’s right. This is by far the simplest but sometimes hardest place to address.
The Unfollow Method that starts and ends with thanks.
Step 1: Thank technology and social networking for existing. It is an incredible tool!
Step 2: List out all of your accounts - Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, and even Linked In. Step 3: Open up your list of friends/follows. Step 4: Keep people/profiles that bring out your strength and positivity.
Step 5: Unfollow anyone makes you feel inadequate, just close that virtual door. Thank you, next!
Step 6: Thank yourself for taking ownership of your platforms and carving out negativity. This was not easy to do!
The Deactivating Method that starts and ends with thanks. Step 1: Thank it for its existence.
Step 2: Deactivate account temporarily or permanently.
Step 3: Thank yourself for all of the time that you have gained that you are now not mindlessly scrolling.
You can do this!
The flexibility and creativity that I gain from working at Rivvly helps me have a balanced life. But I will admit, it is not always easy. Old habits die hard. I had to look at these 3 spaces just like you and search very hard for gratitude in all of them. It is something that needs continuous practice. But, the more you do it, the smoother it gets! And your “someday” lists
written in the corners of your planner become “today” lists! It’s truly amazing.
I have found that setting boundaries and being productive is a less about learning to say no and more about learning to say thank you.