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The pandemic eliminated a lot of things from our lives in 2020.

So, I would have thought that I had more “time back” than I have had in the 18 years Riverbend has been in existence.

Not so. Interesting.

I am determined to extract a great lesson from this fact, especially as we turn our attention to 2021.

To be vulnerable here, I’m the queen of productivity, and I value getting things done. Checking things off my list brings me JOY. I have a hard time with “wasted” space in life. We are all given a limited time on this planet to impact others’ lives and be our best selves – so sitting around doing “nothing” is hard for me.

With that said, I’m also passionate and dedicated to creating breathing room and strategic white space on my calendar – which I do NOT consider wasted space. Time to purposefully recharge, build relationships, and simply THINK and reflect is vital to growth and positive impact on others.

Margin is something I am continually striving to do better and better at achieving.

I’ve been off my game with this discipline in 2020.

I give myself grace here in that it was an off-year for everyone globally. For one, I have small businesses filled with human souls that needed me to ensure their security – whatever it took and whatever it takes to keep moving forward.

With that said, I would have thought that I would have had more time, especially given that most of us are not traveling, commuting, driving to meetings. Ironically, I find myself more in demand (in demand not busy) than ever this year. Given that not much will change at the start of the new year just because 2020 is behind us, I suggest a new guideline for 2021 – 2 for 1.

If I want to add something to /an already full/*<insert noun here>*/,/two things will have to go! Do we really need so much “stuff” in our lives? And I mean figuratively and literally.

To be clear here, I’m focusing on when our *<noun>*is /already full/. The answer is not to add more or even to do a 1-for-1 swap – because my guess is that you have already added more than you need. 2 for 1 is worth consideration.

Areas to explore applying a 2 for 1 strategy in 2021:

You know the drill. You are asked to attend a meeting.

You look at your calendar. You do not know where you will find the time to attend. Well, on second thought, actually you do; you’ll steal it from workout time, lunchtime, personal time, or your own project/ work time.

Instead, in 2021, when your calendar starts bucking up against those important times that you have carved out, stop before you hit accept.

Reassess before saying yes.
What’s the agenda and the objective. Do YOU need to be the person who attends? If so, what can you eliminate? Better yet, while you are at it, do a purge of other meetings or items on your calendar that you genuinely do not need to attend; instead of looking at your calendar and asking what you should do, ask where you create the most value.

Closets & Drawers
Do you “need” it or do you “want” it? Fundamental distinction.

Before you buy that one more thing, commit to what you are going to donate or throw out. Better yet, eliminate two things before you even go to acquire your one thing.

Why on earth am I talking about your closets and your drawers?

Because clutter increases cortisol, a stress hormone, whether your stress starts at work or home, it impacts your work and your home. And one thing none of us need more of in 2021 is stress.

No/ Yes Ratio
Whether you apply this to work life, family life, or personal life, learning to say no two times more than you say yes can be a life-changer. Most of us tend to be overcommitted at work, volunteer, family, social, hobbies; you name it…

I think we all know this by now – it is just a matter of executing on it. When I googled “Do successful people say no?” almost 3 BILLION (yes, I said billion) results appear.

“No” not only decreases clutter stress that can be found in our full lives, but it also gives us focus on what people, projects, and passions matter most. It gets us moving on our purpose and our best life.

Now it’s your turn….

  • What areas of your life do you need to consider applying 2 for 1?
  • What will the results be of applying 2 for 1 in that area? Why is this important?
  • How will you hold yourself accountable?


Author Doreen Linneman

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