That chirping sound isn’t your alarm. It’s the first of many text messages you get each day. Always being available isn’t helping your sleep, your workouts or your attitude. Digital distraction and being “on call” leaves you little time for yourself. It leaves you unable to focus, come up with new ideas or plan for the next chapter. Instead of making space to dream about what a new career path or the possibilities of empty nest life, you’re jumping from daily fire to daily fire without ever knowing what you did or what you want.

If your days are too tasked-oriented and lack space for creative idea-oriented thoughts, you need to meet Riley for a visit to Juliet’s School of Possibilities.

Don’t worry. Meeting Riley doesn’t require shifting around conference calls. Going to Juliet’s doesn’t require finding a baby sitter for a weekend away.  It’s not even about finding time for another lunch meeting. All you need to do is pick up a new book called, Juliet’s School of Possibilities.

Juliet’s School of Possibilities is the productivity parable from one of my favorite authors, Laura Vanderkam. Years ago, her work opened me up to all of my possibilities and helped me escape the myth of the time crunch. If you’ve never read her work, Juliet’s School of Possibilities is the perfect introduction.

I admit I wasn’t sure how her time management strategies would translate into fiction. After reading her other books and listening to her podcast, Best of Both Worlds, would there be anything left for me to learn?

I forgot that story is one of the most powerful ways to gain insight. Each step in Riley’s journey reminded me that we are all works in progress. We are always in need of new life lessons. It reminded me of something I often say to my clients, “just because you know it doesn’t mean you need to learn it.”

“The same mindset that creates space for world changing ideas creates space for real relationships.” – Juliet’s School of Possibilities

Fresh off my vacation wake-up call about digital distraction, so many of Riley’s struggles in our constantly connected world deeply resonated with me. I’ve been using that mindset to develop exciting new ideas, but my new challenge is finding a balance with critical relationships in my life. I think my new Thrive Together business support group helps satisfy both new ideas and connection in my work life. I know putting away my phone and mindful consumption are the keys for me to translate that mindset into actions that cultivate all the relationships I value.

If you’re struggling with creating time for new ideas or for moments that matter this is your next read. If you pre-ordered the book, you should have received a special bonus, Laura’s Little Book of Life Hacks. These life hacks are a great place to start making more time for possibility and peace of mind. While I can’t share all 113 of the easy to implement life hacks I can share with you my favorite six tips. These are foundational parts of how I get things done each week to take care of myself, my family, my community and my business.

Do a time study. An honest effort to take control of your time starts with understanding where it is going right now. Check out this post on the tools I used and what I learned when I did my first time study.

Go to bed. You are not productive staying up late for “me time” when you are so tired you can’t move off the couch. Go to bed so you can get at least seven hours of sleep. Take your quiet time in the morning before everyone else is awake or get some deep thinking done during an energizing morning workout.

Stop the extraneous meetings. It feels like I decline dozens of invitations every week. I get invited to networking groups, workshops, fundraisers and social selling parties all the time. I say no to most of them because they don’t really accomplish anything or make my life, my business or community better. Push back on meetings if you can’t see a clear purpose for your attendance or don’t understand your connection to the subject. Reclaim this time for one-on-one meetings or detailed work in quiet.

Plan on Friday (or Sunday.) Laura Vanderkam suggests doing a quick planning session in that downshifting space of Friday afternoon. I do my planning on Sunday morning because that works better for me. The point is taking time to understand what got done (and made you feel successful), what needs to be done and the top 3-5 priorities are for next week.

Outsource. Hiring someone to clean our house and utilizing Hy-Vee’s delivery service are two of the best decisions that I have ever made. Understand how much your time (and sanity) are worth and find a way to outsource basics. Subscription services and automation solutions are well worth it!

Slow down. Slowing down is hard, but it’s the only way I know to create more time. I notice it every time I go on vacation, especially when I let go of social media and emails to be truly present. Meditation helps too and so does learning to say no. Even slowing down when you eat can help you develop a better relationship with your body and improve your energy.

If you’re always leaping and never dreaming it’s time for a visit to Juliet’s School of Possibilities.

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