Frustration: People keep knocking on your door to chit chat about this or that and you can’t get your work done.
Overwhelm: Your email inbox is blinking non-stop. If you don’t check your emails now, you’ll have a hundred to check later. If you do check them now, you won’t get the important proposal done on time.
Unfulfilled: Nobody around you seems to care whether you make it or not. They’re all out to make you look bad, or worse, they’re not out to make you look good.
We often hear our friends and colleagues complain that everything and everyone is out to get them; that somehow the universe is working against them. Well, they are right. That is because the environment always wins.
When you artfully design your own environment to support what you want in life, the environment you build will also win. It will make the existing environment irrelevant.
We have two choices in life:
- Live with what we got.
- Live creating what we want.
Those who live with what they’ve got will suffer ongoing frustration, overwhelm and depression. Their environment will continue to wreak havoc on them until they are pushed to a breaking point. These are the people who let things happen to them, or wait for things to happen for them. It is a passive state of mind, and when that passivity reaches its breaking point, these people can become unexpectedly aggressive.
I know this to be true. I used to be one of these people.
Those who live creating what they want are masters of designing winning environments.
What people forget is that we each have control over the environment that we are in. We can create new environments that make the crappy environments irrelevant.
Environment design can be as simple as a few small changes.
Here are three examples to get you started:
Automate: If you are overwhelmed by 100s of tiny activities, start automating whatever you can! Your bill payments, house cleaning (mine shows up every Monday at 9 am and let’s herself in), and the ever so popular Apps! Last week I downloaded WriteThatName for my gmail. No more manually entering people’s contact info into my address book. This app finds the signature line in the email and does it for me.
Build Relationships: Start hanging out with the people who give you energy, support and advice. This summer I hired a Virtual Assistant. No, she didn’t write this blog for me… but she sure did post it on my website!
Schedule Your Own Time: The one lie we tell ourselves most frequently is that we are indispensable to others. The truth is, others won’t collapse into oblivion if they can’t reach us right away. When you realize this for yourself, you will feel a new surge of energy rush in.
Scheduling your time includes:
Only checking email messages 3 times a day. It is harder than it seems, but I’ve been doing it for 2 weeks now and I can tell you this: Others learn to not expect a response, and they therefore learn to be more discriminating in what they send your way.
Making yourself truly unavailable when you don’t want to be reached. This can be as simple as shutting the door or turning off your Smartphone.
Replacing Free Time with Me Time. I have a client who has been receiving requests for services when she is not on duty. She feels compelled to accept these requests despite her utter frustration that the other person is disrespecting her personal time.
Designing your environment means protecting your time. Schedule your personal appointments for times when you don’t want to be available. Make a date night with your partner, or just pen in a “Me Night”. It will make it that much easier for you to say no to people because you’ll feel like you have something else just as important to do as what they are asking.