For many people, it seems like life has two options: achieving goals and enjoying life. Neither one of them seems as if they are one hundred percent fulfilled. There seems to be a broad spectrum on the scale of go-getters and over-achievers to those who slack in all departments.
How many times have you caught yourself saying you don’t have enough time or there isn’t enough time in the day? Is this really the truth? There are many books on the subject of how to be highly successful as well as how to achieve happiness.
If you’re like most people, you probably think these notions are for other people, who are super extraordinary, and you feel that you don’t fall into the mix. Today, the demands of work, career, education, family, and homeownership seem to take priority over enjoyment. Relaxation time may be scheduled as a once-a-month outing or even an annual vacation.
However, even those pleasures seem to be filled with work.
There’s planning and scheduling and not enough time – or so it seems – for down time. Are you waiting for retirement to enjoy your life? Many workers feel as though they are waiting for life to happen rather than creating life they want.
Do you wish you had more time to achieve goals and even more time to enjoy life? If so, you are certainly not alone. Here a few tips on how to prioritize your life and make more time for both achieving your goals and enjoying your life.
Finding Balance in Your Life as an Autistic Woman
If you think about life being balanced, you might envision a seesaw in the position of being directly balanced in the middle with no ups, no downs, and simply managing to stay in the middle ground.
Of course, life doesn’t work like that. There are ups and there are most certainly downs. Sometimes you might feel as though you just want to jump off the seesaw and lay on the ground for a little while just to gain your equilibrium back.
What does it mean to be in balance, if life has its difficulties? When you are in balance, you maintain your equilibrium while life’s ups and downs come to visit. Of course, you go through the various emotions as circumstances both good and not so good work their way through your life.
However, being in balance means you get to choose how long you stay in the down position. Of course, realistically, you can’t always stay up on the seesaw of life, but you can choose how you feel and what your action steps are going to be while you’re down.
Being in balance means intentionally, no matter how hard it is, choosing how you will show up under any given circumstance.
How do you really achieve balance? You can achieve balance in several ways:
- Feel your emotions and move quickly through them – it’s perfectly fine to become emotional when the roller coaster of life gets too fast and too furious. Feel what you need to feel but move quickly on to the next step. The next step after feeling is action. If something doesn’t feel right, chances are it isn’t right. The next logical step to create more space in your life for fulfilling goals and time for enjoyment is action.
- Choose an action step to recreate the scene. If you’ve lost a job, fire up your resume. If your home needs a repair, start asking family and friends for referrals on contractors. Don’t just sit and stew about what happened, but take the appropriate time to recreate what happens next. The faster you barrel through the downs of life, the sooner you can get back up. It’s simply a matter of gravity. Put those feet on the floor and bounce that seesaw up once again.
- Don’t regurgitate facts and stories repeatedly – the more you talk about what happened, how unfair it was, and what a nuisance it was, the more energy you expend. This energy could be used for better purposes. You can create an answer to the problem and you can spend that much more time enjoying your life, setting and achieving goals.
- If you find yourself faced with a problem, take the energy needed to create some sort of answer rather than dwell only on the issue at hand. We all use energy to get through the day’s events. However, we get to choose how much energy is spent on each project. Look at your life, what is going well? Do you have an amazing successful career or education? If so, then you might be spending all of your time and energy in that one area and the rest of your life is completely out of balance from family to personal relationships.
Sometimes, the unexpected can throw you off. How do you hit the reset button when life throws you a curve and knocks you off balance? Sometimes truthfully, no matter how hard we try not to dwell on something, we fall back into patterns of thinking and talking about something. What do you do when you can’t get the needle off the record and you are stuck? Call a friend and get an accountability partner.
Ask someone you know to reroute you when you are stuck. Ask them not to let you dwell on what happened or what you cannot control and help you return to present moment status.
Sometimes all it takes is someone to remind you that, in this present moment, you are fine and all is well. You might not have the answers to what will happen in the future, but anything is possible.
Make a choice and make some change. If you really want to achieve your goals and enjoy life to the fullest, you must choose where your energy will go. Make a choice that seems best in the moment and follow through with it.
If it doesn’t work out, don’t hold yourself to task because in human nature, there is always a choice. You may not like all the choices, but staying stuck won’t ever work. Make a choice with the information you have in front of you and take action steps toward that choice.
You will find yourself balanced, until a more optimal choice presents itself. At least you are not standing still and you are taking action steps toward a solution as compared to constantly focusing on or talking about the problem.
It is okay to be out of balance. Sometimes there’s a big project at work or a special event at home. You are out of balance because that event or project takes priority. A special event, like a wedding for example, takes a lot of time, but it will eventually be over. A home repair or project will come to completion, as well.
It’s perfectly fine to be out of balance due to a special meeting or function or life event. You can still create a daily habit of taking one small actionable step toward a personal goal, dream, or desire.
Create reasons not excuses. Even during those times when you have no choice but to be out of balance, for example a work project is taking up most of your time, there’s no reason why you cannot set aside a mere five minutes toward a goal.
If you want to author a book, you can write a paragraph in five minutes. You can edit it later on but you can’t edit a blank page. If you want to start your own business, you can write down one paragraph or several notes of a business plan in five minutes. By the end of the month, all those five minutes will turn into something bigger.
It’s like a snowball effect. You start small and continue rolling that snowball down the hill. Before you know it, you have a boulder of success coming your way.
Being goal oriented is good, up to a point. Some people are obsessed with getting things done. People who obsess about getting things done, put everybody and everything before their own hopes, dreams, and aspirations. Then, suddenly, they look around and their life is moving faster as time goes on. They’ve reached a certain age and all of their hopes, dreams, and aspirations are nowhere in sight.
Don’t be addicted to getting things done for everyone and everything. Put yourself on the schedule. Put your dreams on your to-do list. Be addicted to getting things done for you, and more importantly for your dreams.
Put it down on paper. There’s no better or faster way to achieve a goal then to put it down on paper. Have you ever noticed how the items on your to-do list get done when you write them down and refer back to them?
If you have goals, dreams and aspirations or you simply want to enjoy more of life’s simple pleasures, put it down on paper. If you want to spend more time in nature, put it down on paper. If you want to walk down by the beach, write it down. Believe it or not, it becomes more tangible and real if you put it down on paper. You can now look at it as a goal or an item, which is incomplete, if you don’t follow through. Putting things in writing makes them more effective.
Break it up into smaller sections. When a task looks like a mountain, it will feel that way until you break it up into smaller stepping stones. If you have a task to complete, break it up into smaller chunks. Take the project apart from start to finish and spend a few minutes each day breaking it down.
If you want to rent your basement out, for example, and you go down there and look at how many days and hours it will take to achieve the goal and simply throw your hands up and walk away, break it up into smaller chunks.
Give yourself 15 minutes per day, each day, where you clean out one box or one corner. Before you know it, the basement is cleaned out and you are ready to move on to the next step. It’s important that you do not exceed the 15-minute time limit. Once the 15 minutes is up, go on to the next task.
Take one small step each day even if you don’t feel like it. This is probably one of the most important tips. Take one, small actionable step every day. If you want to achieve goals, you must realize the thoughts in your head will create your life to show up as it is.
If you feel that a dream is unreachable or unobtainable, then it will be. However, if you take one small actionable step each day, you will soon realize your goals and dreams and you will be living life to the fullest.
You might even ask yourself how you got there so quickly. Our dreams are so important to us and when we think about how they show up in our heads, they are these grand visions. Maybe yours is of a mansion in California or an acceptance speech at the Oscars. Then we check out and tell ourselves those dreams are too big and too unrealistic.
If you want to become an actor, take on extra work to pay for some acting classes. If you want to author a book, write one paragraph per day. Small actionable steps can add up to large measurable results.
Get an accountability partner. Grab a partner and share the experience. For example, if want to lose weight ask someone who is dependable, honest, and capable to help keep you on track. Don’t do it alone. You may also want to consider the following ideas to help you focus on being accountable to yourself.
- Record your progress.
- Pay a fine.
- Join a mastermind group.
- Put a timer on it.
Focus on Your Goals
Meditate on your goals. If you’re like most dreamers, your dreams are so big and so vast, you think about them and just as quickly, you put them aside because they are too big and too unrealistic. Rather than look at the big dramatic picture of your dreams, meditate on your goals.
If you wish to find success in your life, meditate on the goals you need to put in place in order to achieve the dream. Sit quietly with the goals you need to achieve, one at a time and meditate on them.
Create an emotion associated with your meditative practices. Meditate on how it feels to be exhilarated once your new dream comes to fruition. Meditate on how good it feels to be financially abundant and successful.
Visualize your goals. Once you’ve chosen vibrations such as excitement, exhilaration, satisfaction, and success, now it’s time to visualize your goals. See yourself at a book signing as you visualize, envision what it’s like to work on a remote beach somewhere as a successful entrepreneur. Get into the visualization and the feelings.
Speak about your goals in the present tense. If you want to live the life of your dreams and be the person you wish to be, it’s time to speak about your goals in the present tense. When someone asks you what you do for a living, you can tell them you are an accountant or whatever it is you do, but don’t forget to mention you are on your way to building your own business at the same time.
Get excited about your plans, dreams, goals, and accomplishments. When you speak about your goals, speak about them with enthusiasm. If you are ashamed, embarrassed, or uncomfortable with your visions and desires, then so will others. It’s all in the delivery. It’s all in the excitement. If you are enthusiastic and excited, then others will jump on board.
Create momentum. Once you have built up enthusiasm and excitement, it’s easy to get so high there’s no place left except for down. You come crashing down and don’t want to get back up again.
The best way to achieve goals and create a life you love is by creating momentum and keeping it up. How do you create momentum? You create momentum by staying in action, every day. It doesn’t have to be a grand scheme, just simple action steps whether it is talking enthusiastically about your business or creating and generating excitement through marketing. Keep a steady flow of momentum and watch the magic happen.
Managing Life Areas as an Autistic Woman
In order to live a whole, full, and complete life, you need to break your life down into categories. What are the categories that are most important to you? Which ones are you most successful in? Where is there a breakdown and you need to recreate?
If you look at one of the categories and see how successful it is, you can rest assured that this area is one wherein you are fully accountable and available.
Have you noticed an area that is falling by the wayside? You might have to re-purpose some time and energy from a super successful area, in order to create a life you love that is full of balance and success in all areas of your life.
Create a worksheet for each category in your life. For example, consider beginning with areas of your life similar to the ones listed below.
- Food shopping
- Social life
- Healthy eating
- Physical activities and adventures
Keep the list fresh by adding other categories as needed as well as removing any that are not suited to you or needed. Don’t forget to include dreams, wishes and bucket lists.
The harsh reality is that you won’t achieve anything when you are tucked up in bed with an illness. While you cannot completely rule out issues like seasonal conditions, a good response to any health threats is key. You should eliminate thrips and other bugs as soon as they enter the home and try to maintain a clean property to avoid the flu. Dressing appropriately and avoiding situations where you are likely to catch a cold should be on the agenda.
Health management doesn’t just help you avoid sick days. It can actually improve concentration levels and productivity on a daily basis. From staying hydrated to getting enough sleep, you must not forget that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. And it will unlock the best possible version of you.
At the end of the day, it’s all about time management. When it comes to time management, we don’t want to admit we don’t have it all together. It’s one of the hardest issues to face and can be a challenge. However, the good news is it’s very doable.
What’s the hardest task? Do that one first. For some people, filing is the worst administrative task there is and for others, it’s filling out paperwork and making phone calls. Whatever you identify, as being your hardest task, is the one you should do first.
You will find this practice to be difficult at first; however, as time goes by you will be grateful you stuck with it. If you do nothing else in time management, this is the best tip you can follow. These tasks will become easier and quicker the more you practice.
Write It Down
Writing things down is very important. “Forgetting” tends to waste a huge amount of time and effort. When you write things down, the mind/body activity helps you to remember the task. Plus, you also have a built-in reminder you can refer to when or if you forget the details or specifics. Seeing things on paper also helps you to prioritize.
In order to prioritize tasks and events, you must know what must be done, what needs to be done, what you want to do, what is important to you, where your priorities are, and what’s falling by the wayside.
Put things in order of what should be done first. Putting things down on paper is the key to getting your life prioritized. Don’t simply make a to-do list. Write everything down in order of importance and priority. If you have to, you can number the items. This will drive home the point of how important one item is over another. Continue to write down what needs to be done.
Don’t be afraid to carry things over to the next day. If you were unable to complete a task, don’t be afraid to carry it over to the next day’s to-do list. Don’t view it as a failure. View it as a fact and keep on moving. Moving forward is what’s important at all times no matter the day’s successes or failures previously.
What’s the worst thing that could happen if you don’t get to do everything? Can it wait? Will everyone survive? These questions may seem as though you are making excuses, but you are learning to prioritize. Once you learn how to prioritize, you will be in flow with what’s important to you and your life.
The most highly successful people don’t have to deal with procrastination often. It’s not even in the cards for them. However, for the rest of us, it’s a reality. Here are a few tips to deal with procrastination when it strikes:
- Allow a few minutes for guilty pleasures but put a timer on it
- Set a schedule for checking social media
- Work on a computer that does not allow (blocks) social media and email
- Time yourself when checking emails or answering them
Balance Work and Play
If you’re all work and no play, you are sure to be successful; however, the down side to this is burn out. If you do anything for too long, burn out will surely follow. Here are a few tips to keep the scales balanced:
- Choose your time to work and stick to it.
- Decide, how much if at all, time you will spend on work after hours (for example reading emails at the dinner table, taking calls during family time, etc.)
- Leave work at work.
- Prioritize your work schedule and your home life will run more smoothly as well.
- Learn how to delegate.
- Learn how to say no.
Just like children, we need to schedule free time or play time. We need to be intentional about our time but to understand that while it’s over, it’s time to let it go. Playing for too long can lead to procrastination and loss of structure.
Take 5-minute play breaks; walk in fresh air, hydrate yourself, do some deep breathing or write in a journal. All of these help to energize your spirit.
There are absolutely no excuses for not being organized and achieving goals. Gadgets and technology can help you stay on track and help you meet your goals. There are calorie counters and even counters that track your steps. Take advantage of technology.
If you feel as though your life is chaos, look at your environment. You are only as productive as your environment you are in. Take a weekend and throw everything out or donate it. If you haven’t used it in six months and it’s not season, then it’s time to let it go.
When it comes to organizational skills, you are in luck because you can create a new habit at any given time. You can learn new organizational skills that work for you. If you’re environment is a hot mess, then chances are more than likely so is your life. Use these tips to get yourself in gear:
- Put yourself on the calendar.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Let go of what you can’t control.
- Expand on the positive and minimize the negative so you can enjoy life more.
- Start new habits. It takes only a couple of weeks to create new habits and once they are in place, they will stick.
- If you backslide, it’s okay. Let yourself off the hook and start again. Pick up where you left off.
- Don’t look at major projects like a mountain. Climb one step at a time. Before you know it, you’ll reach your objective.
- Laugh at your mistakes.
- Don’t beat yourself up so much.
- Make time to meet your needs. Take a catnap, go for a walk, get some fresh air, write in your journal, or chat with a friend.
- Make time management a priority.
- Divide your day into manageable blocks of time.
- Fine-tune your scheduling to meet your responsibilities to others, as well as yourself.
- Work on your dependability and accountability. Do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it.
- Encourage and reward yourself. Use the reward system. For little goals incorporate small rewards. When you meet larger goals, treat yourself to something very special.
There are many challenges we all have to face, when it comes to achieving our goals, fulfilling our dreams, and living a life we love. However, once we step out of blaming our childhood, life, other people, we can clearly see we have the power to create a life we truly love.
We are given every tool and habit we choose to implement and by taking responsibility and looking deep within ourselves and our lives we see how we can step up our game and show up to shine brighter than ever.
Once we look into our own lives instead of looking outwardly and externally we can recognize where we fall short and create self-discipline in our lives. By creating self-discipline, we rest the button for a powerful and productive life. What thoughts come to mind when you think of taking responsibility and being self-disciplined? If they are negative thoughts, you might want to spend some time rethinking this thought.
You are a product of your thoughts. Associate success with taking responsibility and self-discipline and you will soon see, your life will be in priority order and you will have so much more time to enjoy it.
Once you establish new priorities and habits, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without them.
From an autistic autism mom to you
The Autism Family Guide is your shortcut to autism parenting.
How do I know?
Because friend, the resources in this toolkit are lifechanging.
Create routines with ease, calming strategies at your fingertips, and more.