Have you ever stayed at an Airbnb? Every so often the house comes with a detailed manual, filled with copious instructions for accessing the internet or using the washing machine. At a little place I stayed in France, this manual was adorned with pictures, handwritten squiggles and even a few puns.
Manuals are rarely this sexy, but I’m in the process of making one of the sexiest manuals I know. And I’d like to invite you to join in on an epic but oh-so-worth it, over-the-top, overachieving, A-type endeavour that is more fun that you could imagine.
Yep. We’ll be writing the manual of how you do life.
I’m getting really clear about the design of my 2018, and while I’m completely open to the unexpected, there are a few certainties I’ve decided upon. And instead of going through the motions, I’ll be creating micro-strategies around these so that they are more fun and lead to more ‘upgrades’ than ever.
Our ‘strategies’ are at play every day, every moment. They reflect the order in which we go about beginning and completing a task. They also encompass the feelings and thoughts that arise in these moments.
For example, when you’re getting into your car and turning on the engine, you may unlock the car, open the garage door, open the car door, slide in (left butt cheek first), throw wallet/handbag and lunch on passenger seat, put the key in ignition, turn the key, press down on the brake, put the car in reverse, ease of the brake and accelerate out of the garage. I’m sure that was enthralling! These are micro strategies in the process of going to work.
But imagine not everything runs so smoothly. You fumble through your bag to find the keys you thought you left there yesterday. You forget your lunch in the fridge. The ‘Refill Petrol’ sign comes on. Suddenly you are mentally preparing yourself to be late for work. These little ‘clunks’ throughout the day are completely normal. But if you really want to fine-tune your life to have more mental bandwidth for what matter most, you need to take care of the nuances of your day.
For the next week, write down two things, as the first step to designing your life.
1. What you want or what you want more of in your life. It may be something more abstract like love or energy. Or it could be music, family hugs, money and so on. It could be a new skill like salsa dancing, drawing or using a computer program. It could be who you want to be, like organised, focused or emotionally resilient. Anything goes.
2. Next, write down any ‘clunks’ where you feel like you are chasing your tail, feeling lost, frustrated, unnecessarily awkward, in pain, etc. Write anything in your day to day or weekly experience that seems to draw you further from everything you want.
A short sample could be:
I want to feel spacious, rich, organised, strong and get a better ear for latin music while saving 20% of my income.
The clunks: Going up and down the stairs when doing chores, experiencing knee pain when at the gym, waking up in the middle of the night, savings card declining, getting distracted by phone…
Now it’s time to look at the whole picture and set some rules and structures for yourself. I’ll warn you that these are way better to do zoomed in with utmost attention to detail. But broad rules and strategies still work their magic. The person in our sample could set a few time-oriented, action driven rules to make life easier and more aligned with their desires, especially by eliminating clunks.
1. Phone on airplane mode from 9pm til 9am and for one hour during ‘focused work time’.
2. Listen to a latin music playlist on the way to work every morning.
3. Always put item in their appropriate ‘home’ once used. Have a downstairs and upstairs basket to avoid excessive trips up and down stairs.
4. Every Friday evening do a finance review. Transfer 20% of income to savings account and work out weekly budget.
5. Stick to bedtime routine- no technology, a shower, lavender oil and quiet journaling within an hour of bed.
6. Take fish oil, silica and joint repair vitamins with breakfast each morning.
See how our person now has some rules and practices that are simple, AND could change their entire experience of the day to day?
Now, as you try this yourself, you may find some other ‘clunks’ come up when following these rules. I don’t know about you, but my partner has a habit of wanting to show me funny videos pretty late at night! Sometimes your family need to know your rules. These structures may also require a bit of set up, like buying vitamins, joining a music streaming site and putting a journal beside the bed. You can take your time as you redesign your life.
Just know that you don’t always have to just respond. You can create!
In NLP we zoom right in on micro-strategies. A couple of years ago, I set up a micro strategy that makes it virtually impossible for me to purchase new clothes. I have to go through a list of about 10 questions and get a yes answer to each before I go ahead and spend my hard-earned money. If you are interested in learning more about this, get in touch and I’ll help you reprogram your natural strategy from anything from eating food to making conversation with a stranger.
When designing the manual of your life, you can assign days of the week for:
· A sport.
· Complete alone, relaxation time
· Learning a new skill
· Grocery shopping
· Social media binge
· A family outing
and so on…
You can also design step by step morning routines that make each day begin seamlessly. It helps when you have a night routine that gets things in order. I have some templates you can use to design the most nourishing practices of your life. You can also do these before and after large chunks of time, like a karate class, business time (like actual business, or maybe this one!) or driving. I find habit stacking another great way to be more conscious of your life, achieving more with less effort than you would expect.
Despite how organised this all seems, you have full permission to get super messy and jut scribble in a note pad til the truth emerges. You can lock in the lessons and clear actionable practices later. I bet you’ll find that you have put up with a lot of fumbling around, torn energies and misalignment for a while.
Never stop refining your life and in the process, pursue your deepest desires and big ‘impossible’ dreams.
You can choose how you do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. In fact, you should!
Lots of love,
PS. Visit the Resources page to get your copy of the Reinvigorate workbook that will help you create your most seamless life.