Here’s how they do it: they become crystal clear about what they will not – I repeat will NOT spend their time on. Rather than making lists of what they will be doing every day they have made a mental list of the things they are putting energy into that they will STOP doing and they stick to it. An informal survey of some people I know who, on the surface, appear to be super human resulted in this list of things to not do:
1. Stop trying to be perfect at everything all of the time – straight A’s might have been noticed and rewarded in school but that is pretty much where the recognition and reward for perfection across the board stops in life.
2. Choose the things that you need to do REALLY well and commit to them. Just because you shouldn’t try to ace everything doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t excel at the important things. You just have to figure out what those important things are for you. As one of my friends always used to say when deciding whether to take a project on, determine if “ the juice is worth the squeeze.”
3. Accept that you are not perfect and stop striving to reach that goal. It takes up too much emotional and physical time and energy.
4. Know what your strengths are and leverage them. Stop trying to be great at something you are not good at. If you are left-handed did you ever encounter someone who tried to make you good at writing with your right hand? It doesn’t work very well.
5. Believe that the world will go on if you decide to stop being on a committee or buying cookies instead of making them - because it will. The world will go on and in fact chances are it will feel like a better place if you decide what you can stop giving time to so that you can create the opportunity to do things you truly want to do and are good at.