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Joy Management: How to Have a Great Week

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How many times have your heard, "Have a good week!" We typically have a good week, or not, depending on the whims of fate. Unless you are a fatalist, let's imagine that you can organize your time so you will have a great week. I call this technique "joy management." The best part is that it helps you achieve your goals, too. Time management and goal setting are tough for most or us, mainly because it takes discipline, accountability, and it's not fun. There is no reason why making your day or week productive and happy has to be a contradiction in terms.

Benefits:

The aim of this strategy is to enjoy the journey while keeping your eye on what you want most out of life. It's practical, simple, flexible, and fun. Another benefit is that it gives you a sense of satisfaction that comes from feeling like you're working toward your goals and being in control of your time. A third is that it keeps you productive while maintaining flexibility to be creative and enjoy your week. An added benefit is that it keeps you balanced. Lastly, you can easily identify your priorities when they are laid out in front of you.

Banish Your Myopic View of Time:

Most of us manage time by creating structure, slotting in as much as we can, with our agenda chirping every event. Tony, a client of mine in Chicago, refers to this as having a myopic view of time. In my experience, being over-structured leads to rigidity, multitasking and exhaustion. Juggling too much means most of our goals are quickly discarded. With joy management, you look at your week as a whole and decide what elements you need in it to have an amazing week. In other words, you create the intention to have a great week or day, then add things that make it awesome.

Solution:

Like many people, I make lists because it makes me feel organized and it helps me get things done. What's missing from lists are overarching goals that provide a clear focus for our actions. Each Sunday I review my goals and projects to see how they fit into the coming week. You can do it anytime as long as you keep up a regular schedule. I write down all my goals, projects and aspects of my life that I need to keep balanced (usually in the top right corner). Some of my general goals have to do with my:
  1. Immediate environment
  2. Work
  3. Family/friends
  4. Self-care
  5. Learning
  6. Creative projects
  7. Fun/relaxation

When I consider my week, I bear in mind actions steps that will help me reach my goals. By having my goals in front of me, I can easily see how to balance my week. Action steps, branching from my goals, form the basis of the list of things to do for the week. Self-care is key to my balance, so I make sure I fit in several yoga and meditation sessions, go shopping so I can cook tasty and nutritious food, plug into books and courses that feed my mind, and make sure I find the time to enjoy time with family and friends. I color-code events, so even at a glance I can see if my week is going to be in balance. Do you know what your goals are?

List-Making:

Make a list of your action steps down the left-hand side of the sheet. Add things that you would like to or have to do this week. If you extrapolate each goal or project into a few steps you for the week, you automatically set an intention to work toward your goals. Remember to break each goal into actionable steps; so don't write something as oblique as "do taxes." Doing your taxes is can be an enormous project (which is why we put it off), unless you are the sort of person who hands your accountant a shoebox full of receipts, in which case "take shoebox to accountant" is your action step. When you have all your action steps written down, your priorities magically pop out. If something important comes up during the week, add it to the list so you don't forget about it. Pick and choose elements to compose your week, keeping an eye on the reality of your week, your goals, and priorities, and remaining true to your intention. Anything you don't get done at the end of the week is added to your list next week.

Having Your Cake and Eating It, Too:

So if you want an amazing week, consider some things that would make it so: going for a walk in a park with a friend, hosting a dinner party, getting to the gym, cracking open that book you got for Christmas, calling a friend you haven't spoken to in years, spending more time with your family. All this amazingness isn't going to mysteriously materialize unless you imagine it and build it. Why leave something so cool as having a great week to chance?

So to recap, you will have a great week when you:
  • Achieve action steps toward your goals
  • Feel balanced and in control of your time because you are doing what you want to do, not what just happens to be going down
  • Do things that make you happy
  • Feel productive
  • Make space in your week for you and your priorities, which can mean more creativity and more peace of mind

Joy management has worked for me for several years and it has helped many of my clients. It's free, it's flexible and you can tweak it any way to Sunday to make it work for you. If you stick with it, you will discover the blend of things that helps you manage your joy. So have a great week, eh?

You can also download a template of the paper version I use from: Giant Steps Coaching

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