There’s nothing like an impending holiday to make you extra thankful for your local delivery drivers. This year, between winter weather beginning here in the Northeast and the frightening spike in COVID cases, I’ve never been happier to be able to shop from home. Every time I see a new package arrive—whether it’s a load of groceries or my new Shower Toga™ —I’m grateful to the people who make that possible. I know that this year has deepened my appreciation for all essential workers.
I also know that it hasn’t always been easy to feel gratitude lately.
We’re living in a time of extraordinary stress. The pandemic has changed our way of life and we’ve lost a lot as a result. But there’s still so much to be grateful for. And making space for gratitude can completely shift your approach to time management.
Plenty of research has been done about the power of gratitude and its positive effect on mental health and brain function. Gratitude changes your mindset. It primes you for positivity. Haven’t we all experienced this in our own lives? Think about a time when you’ve felt powerfully grateful. Maybe you or someone you love had a health scare. When you found out that everything was okay, didn’t everything seem brighter and lighter? Didn’t work suddenly seem easier to manage and more pleasurable?
Practicing gratitude isn’t just about celebrating the big things like clean medical tests. Making space for gratitude every day could create a shift in the way you approach time management and productivity.
Specifically, there are two things I want to suggest about using gratitude for improving your time management.
First, could you use gratitude to trigger a reset when you’re overwhelmed and don’t know what to do next? When you’re running through your to-do list and scrambling to do three things at once—stop and close your eyes, or grab a notebook and pen. Make a list of five to 10 things you’re grateful for in that moment. You’re giving your brain a break. You’re shifting your perspective to see through a positive lens instead of a negative one. When you turn back to work, it may be easier to prioritize what needs to happen next.
Second, I also want to suggest using gratitude as a reframing technique when you’re struggling with work tasks. Changing your perspective on these tasks may help you see them as things you get to do, instead of things you have to do.
- “This project is so boring…” becomes “I’m grateful that I’ll be moving on to an interesting project next week.”
- “I’m frustrated by trying to balance work with getting my kid to stay focused on remote school” becomes “I’m grateful that my kid is safe here at home and that we’re getting this extra time together.”
- “The report I’m working on is confusing…” becomes “I’m grateful that I have a team I can check in with about what this report means.”
- “I’m annoyed that my meeting got pushed back at the last second” becomes “I’m grateful to now have the time to go grab a snack and take a walk around the block.”
I want to be clear, being intentional about practicing gratitude doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to be frustrated, irritated, angry or bored during your work day. You can be grateful about everything that’s going well, and still be bothered when things don’t go so well.
Using gratitude as a quick perspective shift is just one of the many tools you can keep in your time management toolbox.
I’ll be sharing an essential time management tool in my upcoming masterclass, Weekly Planning That Works, Even in Times of Uncertainty. I know that this year certainly didn’t go according to plan. Next year, wouldn’t it be a relief to feel like you’re in control of your plan and your time management—no matter what life throws at you?
Join me on January 14th for this FREE masterclass! More details coming soon…email [email protected] if you want to make sure you get the details.
Until the next time—I’m grateful you’re here!