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Are You in Control of Your Life

Who is it that really controls your life? Most of us believe that we, ourselves, control our lives but is that the case?

Let’s start by defining what “Being in control” (of our lives) would look like. To be in control of your life means that you do those things that you love first, with anything else coming a very distant second. How many of us can actually claim that this happens?

More often than not, we are sacrificing the things that we love for the things that we don’t like with the justification that “Life is like that”. We make these “Sacrifices” in the (often mistaken) belief that they will be short term & that “Some day (soon)” we will be able to focus on what we love to be doing (or being with) rather than what we have to do right now to make ends meet.

But this is an insidious belief. Before we realise it our “Temporary” daily grind becomes the norm & we end up being trapped in a cycle of doing what we don’t love, leaving very little time or energy for those things that we do!

So, the big question is how to turn around this imbalance, or at least to become aware of just how unbalanced we might have (unwittingly) become?

You begin by prioritising your life, your year, your world, your day with what matters most (to you).

Who you love is a good place to start.

The first thing you must do is put that person (or persons) on your schedule for an hour in a sensible place. An hour you will have ENERGY. An hour you will be able to be attentive. This hour is your first hour together with your spouse or your child or significant other.

This means that, if you have a spouse and two children at home, you need to block three hours for the spouse and children. Ideally block this time in the second half of the day but block this time FIRST.

You’ve now blocked an hour with your spouse to spend time together, whatever together means it MUST be INTERACTIVE. Some form of VALUABLE communication happens here. It could be talking, studying, loving. Whatever it is, it is now on your schedule…and it’s the first thing you block out with that person each and every day.

You do the same thing for those two other people there at the house, your children, they get an hour and you block that out as well. If THEY don’t want that time, no problem. You can find out what they do want.

But the people you block out time for each day are the people YOU love and they will love YOU all the more because of what you have done here.

3 hours are now blocked. Let’s call it 6-9 PM.

You also need time for Yourself – so now you block an hour for the TV, reading, exercise (or whatever rocks your boat!). This is leisure. You DESERVE to have leisure time on the schedule immediately after time with loved ones.

This is second only to your time with the people you love. This is YOUR SELFISH TIME. This is time you get to do what you want for and on behalf of you and only you!

The reason you do what you do is so that you have a great life and that revolves around you being sane and the people in your world knowing you care. You care enough to put THEM FIRST, EACH AND EVERY DAY.

If you DO THIS the relationship will flourish.

Incidentally, if you are having problems in any of your valued personal relationships it is highly likely that the root of those problems lies in the lack of time (or priority) you give them. People will only “Forgive” being put second (or third) on your list for so long before resentment steps in and (eventually) builds until the relationship breaks down.

Now you block an hour for dinner, a half hour for lunch and 30 minutes for miscellaneous stuff that is required to be alive.

6 hours are now in your schedule.

Next, you are going to need some sleep. You’re going to need 7 or 8 hours. Let’s say it’s 7. That means that you have blocked off 13 hours thus far – 11 more remain.

No day ever goes as planned and, if it does, you can bet that, at some stage during the week, things will come off the rails! Problems will happen, disasters will occur. That’s why you record your favourite TV shows on your DVR. That way you can watch it later on.

Here’s an insight for you – most of your family won’t want an hour each & every day with you. It does happen and you plan for it to happen but most days the kids prefer not to have that parent time and do prefer their friends (especially if they are teenagers!).

That’s OK because you can then apply this time to solving problems in real time. But once again, the PLAN is in force. You don’t reschedule important personal time unless those that you love indicate that they have a preference to do something else.

The moment you break this rule you will be back to the situation where lower priority “Things” take over the time you have for higher priority people. That’s where you are now – & your relationships are suffering because of it!

The remaining 11 hours in the day are for your business projects. These hours are uninterrupted.

No one breaks the rule. This rule is what the rest of the world spins on. Your projects (or future projects), your job, take care of you (& those that you love) forever.

It must take an act of God to get you away from the projects you have deemed worth completing today. This is what pays the bills. It’s what puts food on the table and generates EVERYTHING else in life.

But you can do a lot in that 77 hours each week. You may not become an instant millionaire but you can run a business (or build a career) on 77 hours per week – if you can’t you are doing something seriously wrong!

More importantly, you can successfully navigate all the needs of those you love at the same time.

The rest of the demands on your time require you to say, “NO.” That word is your door to freedom.

Going forward YOU set your daily life with intention & with determination. YOUR time is your most precious asset & you must be prepared to defend it – or others will simply steal it from you. Make no mistake, time is the major currency of the 21st Century & there are ruthless people out there who will tell you how important your wellbeing is to them whilst they are robbing you (& those you love) of your time.

No, is your first, second, third, fourth (you get the picture) line of defense – remember, you have 77 hours each week to be able to say yes. If they want more than that – you need to eliminate them from your life.

YOU determine your leisure (and obviously it doesn’t have to be an hour every day, it could be 3 hours on Saturday and 3 on Sunday or whatever works best for you, but, you SHOULD reward yourself with 5 – 10 hours per week…for you to kick back, read, ski, hike, or whatever).

Sounds good right? But how to make it happen??

Here’s how…….

When you have a big list of things to do and they all seem urgent, life can feel overwhelming.

Add in those months, weeks or years when someone gets really sick or dies or life throws you some serious curve balls and life gets more than overwhelming. It can feel like life is crushing you.

It’s during these periods that it is MOST important to prioritise and take charge over what you CAN and maneuver around the random elements outside of your control.

There are different values for time. Everyone’s time matters. But not everyone can do/accomplish the same kinds of tasks.

Not a lot of people are going to be able to cut an acre of lawn. So the person who is physically most able does that. Not everyone can take care of the taxes or accounting for the business or the home. Everyone’s time matters, a lot. But everyone has to measure up to reality. Someone must do 1A and someone must do 2A. The first logical division is by capability.

It’s rare that in relationships everyone is of equal capability. It just doesn’t happen in real life (if it does that’s a bonus)! Simply have one person in charge of cooking and the other person in charge of lawn. One person does x and the other does Y, consistently. When roles are logically assigned and agreed (according to capability or utility – not gender) upon you have HARMONY. When they are not, you generate friction.

We’re not going to go through a “Blow by blow” on allocating time here – if you want that, check out David Allan’s book “Getting things done”. It will seriously change the way you look at how you become more productive – without working yourself into a lather!

What we will say here is that people who are both productive AND fulfilled understand the difference between being busy & being productive. Being busy is all about a focus on “Doing stuff”, whilst being productive is all about a focus on “Doing the stuff that matters”.

Productive people earn more, are less stressed & have solid relationships. You want to be one of those people. You want to be in control of your time, you want to be able to spend your time doing what you love, with those that you love.

That will not happen by itself – mainly because of all of those people out there who have their sights set on stealing your time (so that they can achieve their goals, at your expense).

It may take you some time to make this concept work for you – it’s not a simple flick of a switch. But if you get serious, follow the steps & remain steadfast in your commitment, it will not take long before you really are in control of your time & your life.

That’s when the world gets really interesting!

Dennis Hall is a business and career coach with an extensive management background of over 20 years in the private sector – in addition to more than 15 years experience as a conference speaker, trainer and skills coach. Dennis can show you how to overcome challenges in your business or career through his proven coaching model.
To find out more, visit


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