Hear me out, this does relate to honoring your calendar. In the midwest United States, it’s pretty chilly. It’s beautiful! I went outside this morning, (and this is an excellent segway to our topic today) I stepped out on my front porch and just enjoyed the early morning silence and the beauty of nature all around me.
It was funny because there were two squirrels climbing up and down one of my trees. I noticed they were the loudest things out there at that time. I enjoy that time. Breathing fresh air, getting some Vitamin D, are things that I schedule into my day outside of other activities.
This does relate to what I want to share with you today. I know myself really, really well. And because I know what I want in my days because I know what I enjoy experiencing. The more enjoyment I’m able to experience the more driven I am to do everything I do. I build in time on my calendar for the things I want to have there and then (this is the make-or-break-part) I honor my schedule. I do what I plan. Every time.
I don’t manage my time this way to be obsessive or because I think the world will end if I shift things around. I do it because I have consistently seen the impact on my results. There’s an incredible shift in my production from being loyal to the plans that I make in advance.
Because I have the knowledge and experience that making detailed plans in advance and sticking to them creates my desired results, because I continue to benefit from this and my clients, my business, and my family everyone benefits from me doing this in my life. It’s what I have and will continue to do. In fact, for me, just letting life happen, going with “the flow” (whatever that means) would be less enjoyable for me. Because I want to design the flow. As I stated in a previous blog, I have no problem with and even encourage building in relaxation and downtime, but I plan mine. And I highly recommend you plan yours, too.
But what is the use of making any plans if you’re not going to follow through? Or if you’re going to give yourself an out in case you don’t follow through? And make excuses really believable ones, by the way, if you decide not to stick to your plan?
The bigger question is, why aren’t you committing to yourself? When you make a plan, when you put something on your calendar, IT’S YOU. You’re deciding, you’re electing, you’re taking action for and with yourself to schedule that thing. In this way, you’re honoring your calendar.
If you get to the day and time that you scheduled it and you don’t do what you planned, you’re really just disregarding yourself. You’re disregarding your plan. I want you to really think about this. Because I believe you’re much more organized in your ability to plan for the things you want and need to do when you do it in advance.
It’s like how they say you shouldn’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry. When you do that you end up buying a bunch of stuff that sounds good at the moment but isn’t what you want or need? That’s what I see happening with so many of you with your time management.
Let’s back up a bit here because I’m not talking about the clinical schedule your front office makes for you. There may be some adjustments needed on that, too. You know what those are and may need to communicate some changes to your team. You might also need to get ideas from your consultant. But what we’re focusing on is every other thing that is either on your schedule or is purposely not put on your schedule. The time that you are the sole director of. Those figurative hungry grocery store trips you keep making.
When you don’t schedule things in available blocks of time, the time gets filled with “things”. Good things, bad things, things you enjoy, and things you don’t. The time passes one way or another and when it’s gone are you, more often than not, energized and impressed with how you spent it? Or did you fill your time cart with a bunch of junk that looked good at the moment but offered little to put a dent in the health of your mind, body, soul, business, or family? The things that you tell me you’d prefer to use your time to enrich?
The same question applies to when you do schedule things and don’t follow through. This happens a lot when it comes to exercise and business development. It goes on the schedule and then this amazingly predictable thing happens when that time slot approaches in your day. Your brain gets really creative on the thoughts it offers you to get out of doing the things you planned.
What I know to be true is that there is a ton of pleasure, even if it isn’t instant pleasure like the kind my brain seeks, in finishing a strong workout and showing up with a well-prepared presentation. Those rewards, for me, far outweigh any instant gratification that I could get from avoiding or postponing those activities.
And that alone isn’t really a problem. My brain does it, too. It’ll say, “Oh, it’s really cold outside, and you nearly never miss workouts, maybe you should skip today.” Or, “The dental summit you’re presenting at is still a couple of weeks away, there’s really no reason to work on it yet,” or any number of believable things that all point to not following through with what I’ve planned. Not a problem for me. Because when I notice those thoughts, I just dismiss them. They’re not even worth entertaining. For me, they’re actually kind of comical. I smile because even at the high level of mastery I’ve obtained in time and mind management, I still have a human brain that’s hardwired just like every other human brain, to seek pleasure as much as possible all of the time.
When you respect yourself, you plan for the things you want and you honor the plans you make. You don’t make plans, in advance, to become less healthy, or harm your practice, or neglect your family. But by not consistently planning in advance and not honoring the plans you do make, those things end up happening as casualties. More importantly, you are not enjoying the achievement of reaching the level of success you most desire in the areas you’re aspiring to be successful.
So I want to recommend that you do a little two-prong test and ask yourself:
Do I plan my week in detail, in advance?
Do I stick to my plans?
If you notice that there’s an area of opportunity for improvement, I want to encourage you to make a point to notice what happens preceding a block of time that you either have scheduled to do something, or could have scheduled to do something. What thoughts does your mind offer you about how you should spend that time? And is this getting you closer to where you want to be as a dentist, as a leader, as a spouse, a parent, a friend? Is your respect for yourself evident in how you utilize your time and the ability to plan ahead?
If not, I want to offer that you can make major advancements in a short period of time by:
Being willing to adopt the practice of consistently using a calendar to plan your success route in advance.
Then being loyal to your desires, your dreams, and your aspirations by following through with what you’ve scheduled.
Until next time stick to your plans!
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