If you are following along in order, first, we made a little time & second, we defined what having it together would look like. Third, we made a list of the things in our way. Fourth, we figured out where to start. And fifth, we cleaned up our lists. Are we done yet? Not quite. Now we live our new, less-encumbered lives and practice keeping it together.
Baby Step 6: Keep It Together
Once you’re well on your way through Baby Step 5, you’ve made room for your more “together” life. You’ve removed obstacles and set things up for a life that works better.
How do you know you’re there? Look back at your definition from Baby Step 2. Here are some examples of the kinds of signs you might look for (yours will vary):
- Self Care. You are taking better care of yourself. For example, you are writing, exercising, living within your means, staying on track to retire, spending time with family and friends, and waking up without panicking about all the things you have to do today.
- Backlog. That backlog of undone things is no longer in the way, taking up mental space, providing way too many opportunities for embarrassment, or just plain driving you crazy.
- Enhancements. You’ve rearranged, refurbished, reorganized. You figured out how to do something better. You maybe even wrote a Life Plan.
Now what? Now, the thing is to keep it together. That, and have more time for your more together life.
- Avoid creating a new backlog. Create routines, processes, and templates to make it easier keep up. If you get behind on something, then tackle it as before—and figure out how to stay current with that thing going forward. Maybe you set aside specific times for keeping on top of things that have a tendency to pile up.
- Create white space. Work ahead on things you know are coming, like birthdays, vacations, or the end-of-the-month report. Having turned in many homework assignments at the last minute, I can attest that it’s a great feeling to turn something in early.
- Do things you felt you couldn’t do before. For example, now you have time for simple pleasures, like inviting friends over and for more ambitious goals, like writing the Great American Novel.
- Beware piling on. Once you have a little white space in your life, be sure not to add on so many new things that you’re back to drowning in too much to do.
- Learn something. Invest in personal/professional development. Keep making your life better by learning all the time. My role models in life and work are always learning something new.
- Share. Donate time. Contribute to good causes. Share your expertise. Be a friend.
As time goes on, our perspectives change. New things become important. Others fade. That’s okay. Every so often, review. How is it going? Did some new barriers crop up? Do you have new goals? You can take an abbreviated trip through the six Baby Steps in this series any time to “tune up” your more together life.