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Getting More LIFE From Your Life

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Who doesn't breathe better with a healthy sense of control? The three Gs you're about to pick up will give you more control over your time, energy, and ultimately your good mood.

1. Guard your prime time.

When do you do your best work? If you're not sure, ask yourself, "What's my favorite time of the day?" Or "If I had to tackle a difficult task, when would I find it easiest to complete?" For many of us, it's first thing in the morning.

Once you've identified your prime time, you've got to put a little fence around it. This is not the time for haircuts and meetings and less productive things. (If the meetings are productive, go for it. In my experience, so many of them just aren't.)

Use your prime time for activities requiring high concentration, or those that add life to the rest of your day. For example, I know people who get up extra early so they can go jogging—I'm not one of them. But I have my own morning routines that ground me and get me going.

What about you? Are you giving your prime time the care it deserves? When you do, you may find you get more done with less stress. You might even wake up each morning, excited to take on the day. With coffee, of course.

With or without caffeine, waking up excited and enthusiastic is just not a bad way to live.

2. Get out of rescue mode.

Someone cancels lunch? Let them get it back on track. A co-worker misses a deadline? As best you can, smile and let them own all of it, including the consequences. The people who are right for you wouldn't have it any other way.

And if others balk, well, smile and let them own that too. You might not change their hearts, but you can help them respect your time, which is the next best thing.

Getting out of rescue mode also applies to our relationships with kids.

Example: One morning in seventh grade when I was going to be late for school, I wrote an excuse-laden note for my mother to sign. My mother read it, and without saying a word, wrote and handed me a note of her own: "Gina DeLapa is late for school because she missed the bus."

Ouch. I don't recall ever missing the bus again. Yay Judy.

Is there somewhere in your life where you've been stuck in rescue mode? What would happen if you dialed that back a bit? Just gently allowed the other person to face their consequences?

3. Give yourself more time.

Most of us put too many items on our weekly to-do list. As in "Take out the garbage, publish the novel, make everyone get along."

It's good to aim high—but over time, our own incomplete to-do lists can leave us feeling deflated and sort of less-than. Here's a workaround:

Plan one month at a time. This will give you more breathing room.

It will also take away the false sense of urgency. And if your life is anything like mine, you can get much more done in one well-planned month than in 4.3 half-planned (or overplanned) weeks. Just find what works for you.

Bonus Tip: Give yourself a day to wrap up loose ends.

As best you can, set aside one day a week for this purpose. For me that day is Friday. It doesn't always go as planned, because life is life—inherently messy—and like everyone else, I sometimes overcommit.

But I now block off that time on my calendar, which helps. And I remind myself to use that day to "land" planes, not launch new ones.

To use the old Wayne Gretzky line, "You miss a hundred percent of the shots you don't take." So even if your loose-ends day gets thwarted half the time, why not block it out for the sake of the other half?

Knowing this time is scheduled and waiting can give more meaning and focus to the other six days of your week.

Read about the 3 G's that will give you more control over your time, energy, and your good mood.

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at