• Tracie L James

Priorities NOT Balance

Working with leaders, I’ve learned the importance of a leader gaining control over their time in order to effectively lead their team. When you’re not effectively leading your life, it will negatively impact your professional life. I took some time to devise a strategy to help my clients improve their ability to manage their time both personally and professionally.

I have truly learned that clearly identifying what’s important in your life will enable you to know when to say “no” so you can get more done and have more joy and peace in your life in the process. Balance is a myth. The real focus should be on setting our priorities and doing those things that fall in line with those priorities. Then you are able to say “no” to the things that aren’t priorities. Sounds easy, right?! It won’t be easy at first, but trust me it gets easier. You just have to commit to it. This will help you build capacity in your life.

Building Capacity

Step one is to Refuse or rather say “no”. “NO” is a complete sentence. Instead of saying I’ll try, just say no. Don’t stress yourself with doing things that you know you don’t want to do or just don’t have time to do. Don’t feel guilty. Don’t feel obligated to explain. The more you do it the easier it will be.

Learning to refuse is a process of setting boundaries. Time is a precious commodity and we must stop giving it away to people and activities that drain us. Focus on those people and things that inspire, encourage and motivate us.

Once you learn to say no and set boundaries, you will be able to honor “you” time, which is the second step of Rest. Take time to rest, not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Be intentional and make it a part of your regular routine. It should be a priority. Start with at least 15 minutes each day to honor your mind, body and spirit. There is no “one size fits all’ solution so do what works for your life. You should value this time so you can fill yourself up before you pour into others.

As a part of your routine, you will also take time for step three Reflect. This is your opportunity to refocus and redirect yourself and your energies. To truly be effective in getting results in your life, career or business, you must first know what direction to move in. Otherwise, you’re just like the little toy wind up feet that just move around with no real direction.

Remember to be flexible. Don’t let unexpected things get you off track. Reschedule priorities when life happens, but never cancel. Be creative and open to new things. You never know what’s along your path to success so be open to try new things and connect with new people.

When you’ve completed the first three steps, you will have entered the phase of Refresh. You will be able to connect with people on a deeper level because you’re not mentally, physically or spiritually drained. This will also create capacity for your gifts to flow freely.

Being able to build capacity in your life will able you to do what Mikki Taylor says “show up ready”. Luck only happens when you’re prepared for the opportunity when it presents itself. Get ready and stay ready. You will then be able to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you.

Tips to Build Capacity

Create your life circle and divide it into ten (10) sections representing different segments of your life - career, family, love, friends, finance, health, recreation, spiritual, and etc. Make a list of your top ten (10) priorities in your life on a separate sheet, and then prioritize them in order from 1 to 10. (1 = Most important 10 = Least important) Chart them on your circle. At the end, you will have a clear visual representation of the most important areas of your life. Use this to determine how to allocate your time consistently.

After you’ve created your life circle, then ask yourself these questions:

· Am I spending time on the priorities indicated on my life circle?

· If not, what changes do I need to make to ensure my time lines up with my priorities?

o What tasks or activities will enable me to honor my priorities?

o What tasks or activities do I need to remove from my schedule?

Develop a new schedule from your answers and give it 30 days to see how much more effective you are at achieving your goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip into your old habits from time to time. Just get back on track with your new strategy.

I’m sharing my daily routine with you below. There are days that I have to adjust the time, but I make sure to take time for myself each day. It doesn’t matter if it’s 15 minutes or two hours. I make it happen… zero excuses allowed.

Tracie’s Morning Routine

4am – Wake up and pray. This is my time to be thankful for waking up.

4:15am – Meditation and hydrate. I read my devotion and drink my water & herbal tea. Sit still.

5:00am – Create my checklist. No more than 7 items for the day. I generally put 3-5 tasks. The rest that come to mind I hold for another day. I also just write and let the ideas flow.

6:00am – My son wakes up and my day begins.

Tracie’s Evening Routine

9:30pm - Assess my day – gratitude and brain dump.

10:00pm – Bedtime.

Let me hear from you. I want to know how this helps you improve your ability to be a better leader. Reach out to me on social media (@iamtracieljames) or email me at Hello@TracieLJames.com.

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