This time of year can be very busy. Lots to do. Lots of invitations. Lots of feelings.

I don’t know about you, but I have a shopping list for all the presents I want to buy.

I have the events I definitely don’t want to miss. Like a handful of parties with my favorite peeps and watching my niece and nephew open their stockings and presents on Christmas morning.

The only way to make the things happen that I want to have happen this season is to be intentional. This is something we talk about a LOT in my GYST groups.

One way to talk about this is to look at the 3 Types of Work.

At any given time you could be doing one of the following types of work:

  • Planning your work: Deciding what actions need to be taken in order to move your most important projects, goals and initiatives forward AND capturing those actions in your #BonusBrain so that you are reminded take those actions at the right time.
  • Intentional work: Doing the work you planned.
  • Unintentional work: Doing work as it shows up.

I’ve done all 3 Types of work this season. I planned my work by making a shopping list for all the peeps I wanna buy gifts for.

I did intentional work by going to the mall and buying gifts for those folks.

I did unintentional work by buying gifts for people that weren’t on my list.

I’m good with all those decisions I made. It was a good balance of the three types of work. I had a couple of people who weren’t on my list, but I happened to see the perfect thing for them so I bought it. I’m looking forward to giving those gifts to them.

The three types of work isn’t just about holiday shopping. It’s about everything you do.

So, how much time should you spend doing each type of work? There is no magic ratio, but after coaching entrepreneurs for almost 10 years I’ve found that people tend to spend too much time doing the unintentional work. Just doing the work as it comes into their email or as the phone call comes in or as the text is received. I know I did (and sometimes still do).

And it’s totally understandable. When you are a business owner serving people, there’s stuff that comes up that you gotta deal with and you want to be responsive to your clients. And if you are responsible for managing your household, stuff comes up there too and you want to responsive to your family and friends.

But there’s a difference between being responsive and being reactive. Being responsive means looking at the swirl of activity around you and deciding what immediately needs your attention and is in line with what matters most to you. Then doing that stuff and putting the other stuff aside until you have time to decide what action you need to take, if any.

Being reactive means letting yourself get constantly caught up in that swirl of activity. The swirl of activity can come from the outside in the form of emails, phone calls, texts, mail, in-person requests, etc. and it can also come from your own brain and all the thoughts that can randomly fly in.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and worried that things could be slipping through the cracks then you are being reactive and are likely spending too much time doing unintentional work.

To get back to being more present, peaceful and productive you gotta do more of the other two kinds of work: Planning your work AND Intentional work.

There’s nothing wrong with doing unintentional work, but if you are doing it more than the other two kinds of work, life tends to be more frantic and overwhelming.

So, when you find yourself replying immediately to an email that just came in when you are in the middle of finally working on an important project that matters to you and has been too long neglected, ask yourself: “Is this more important than anything else I could be doing right now?”

If the answer is yes, then keep answering the email. If not, save the email to draft and get back to the work you planned. Your intentional work.

If you need help with any of this, you might want to check out our next GYST Group.


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