Two of the most productive hours of my day are also the most chaotic.
Guaranteed someone will get punched, someone will tell a not-funny joke but we will find it hilarious and belly laugh anyway, someone won’t get what they want, and someone else will poop his pants.
Now, I love a nerdy talk about time management as much as the next guy. But I believe that real productivity does not always look organized and tidy with everything just right.
Most of the time, when you’re really getting things done it’s messy; it’s human.
Those two productive-yet-chaotic hours of my day? They are the evenings hours from 5 – 7pm at the Blanc house.
My wife and I have 3 boys: ages 2, 5, and 7. Our evenings are filled with LEGOs everywhere, Nerf gun target practice with unsuspecting stuffed animals, wrestling, food fights, toddler nudity, meltdowns, and hiding behind closet doors to avoid brushing teeth.
I am a dad. And this is what family time is like with three fantastic sons.
As my boys become adults, I look forward to having a real-life friendship with them. But I don’t know of any “formula” for making this happen. I only know that if I am regularly present and engaged then I stand a pretty-good chance at building a deep bond and long history of trust with each of my sons.
So while our evening hours may look like disorganized chaos right now, they are also the hours where my wife and I get to consistently give our full attention to our boys.
That’s why, every evening at 5pm, my wife and I set our iPhones to silent Do Not Disturb. Then we put the phones away in another room.
Value / Identity: I’m a dad.
Expression / System: I spend quality and undistracted time with them on a regular basis.
Outcome / Goal: I’m building a thriving relationship with my sons.
This is just one example of how I am taking a personal value for my life and aligning it with how I spend my time each day. And the result will be one of life goals.
The immeasurable value of good systems is found in their ability to bridge the gap between our personal values and our goals.
When your time and energy are NOT being spent on the things that matter to you, it’s frustrating and stressful.
Frustration = The Tyranny of the Non-Essential
Ask yourself this:
What is something in your life that you think is important but you are not giving very much time or attention to?
What is something in your life that you do NOT consider important but yet it is receiving too much of your time and attention?
Aside fom someone else eating the last of the ice cream that you were totally saving for later, there is nothing more frustrating than when the things which matters most are pushed to the back burner, forced to succumb to the tyranny of things which do not matter at all.
Which is More Important: Systems or Goals?
It’s somewhat of a trick question; they’re both important.
However, if I had to pick just one, I’d pick systems because most folks already have some goals.
But I estimate that more than 80% of the people reading this do not have a good goals system. And by that, I mean most people do not have a reliable and consistent way to accomplish their goals.
The Systems I Use to Accomplish Goals in Every Area of My Life
There are a handful of various tactics and systems I use on a regular basis to ensure that the important areas of my life are getting the time and attention I want to give them.
These are the habits and routines I’ve built that help me stay active with my physical health, stay on track with my creative work, and stay engaged in my awesome parenting life that I just shared with you.
One of the systems I use is something called my “Hybrid Productivity System”.
It’s a blend of both digital and analog tools to help me schedule my days, know exactly what to be focusing on, and keep the margin I need in my life to avoid burn out. Here’s a video (taken from my course, All the Things) that explains a bit more about the hybrid method.