Well, we’ve made it to January, the month immediately following the bank account-draining, waistband-straining holiday season, which is traditionally reserved for making resolutions to spend less, eat better, and, well, generally get your shit together. Except that by now—at nearly the mid-way point—a lot of people have already given up on their pretty pledges.
Why is that? I’m guessing for most, it’s because the prospect of getting their sh*t together seems too enormous to contemplate. There are too many problems to solve—money woes and tight pants, yes, but also career conundrums and relationship struggles and the odd helping of existential dread. Where does one even begin? It’s much easier to just stay put on the sofa and bid yourself better luck next year, right?
Getting (and keeping) your shit together is actually not that hard. I do it every day and I still have time to watch Netflix and write kicky blog posts. Everyone’s shit is different, of course—and it ranges from small shit to tough shit to really deep shit on any given day—but the trick is to treat it all exactly the same way.
For example, I’ve gotten my sh*t together in the last two years to write two books; pack up and move out of a New York apartment; and build a house in a foreign country (and move there). But I’ve also devoted more time to pleasure reading, managed my panic disorder, sent a bunch of thank-you notes, and gone to the dentist, like, four times. Some of that is small and some of it is tough and/or deep, but it’s all do-able, especially when you break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. For example, “Learn Spanish” becomes “Spend fifteen minutes a day conjugating one new verb.” And “Pack the house” becomes “Pack the kitchen. Then the bedroom. Then the living room, and so on until it’s done.”
That’s the thing—you don’t get your sh*t together, lose twenty-five pounds, fix your relationship, or learn to speak a new language all at once just because it’s “that time of year.” You do it with concerted effort, over time. Every day, all year long, in small, manageable chunks.
That’s the biggest takeaway from my new book, Get Your Shit Together. Other choice bits include:
Turn your to-do list into a “must-do” list: Look at your overwhelming to-do list, identify the things that must get done today, and do only those. Save the rest until tomorrow.
Access the Power of Negative Thinking: Sometimes, getting mad is the fastest route toward getting sh*t done. Instead of sitting around playing Woe is me about your nasty boss or your dead-end job, channel that energy into a search for something better.
Time management is the root of all that is good and right in the world: If you want to get your sh*t together, you must learn to manage your time properly. It’s non-negotiable.
“Me time” is a right, not a privilege. Once you get a handle on time management, treat your down time like you treat your other tasks. Schedule it in and make it happen. You deserve it.
Use my What/Why Method for setting goals: having a hard time zeroing in on what, exactly, you need to do to get your shit together? Ask yourself these two questions: What’s wrong with my life? Why? The answer will lead you to your goal.