I am a sports lover – especially basketball and football. In any sports game, from time to time a team will take a time out. A time out is a pause in the action where everyone can take a quick breather …. and think about how the game is going.

It’s the same in life. We can easily become so busy living our life that we don’t take time to STOP … and think about how’s going. Do we know our why? Are we becoming the person we really want to be? Are we heading in the direction we want to be going? If we don’t take a time out, we can tend to drift and our good intentions never become reality. 

One of the most helpful habits I have established for myself is a weekly Time Out. It’s a 60-90 minute appointment with myself. I think it’s one of the best uses of your time you could ever make. 

So what do you do in a weekly time out?

Firstly, it’s a chance to review the next steps you have set for yourself. A goal set and never looked again at is merely a wish. It’s so easy to drift and forget who we want to be and what we want to accomplish. We can easily be distracted and the urgent squeezes out the important. Reflecting on our next steps regularly ensures we stay on track with where we are headed. 

Secondly, it’s an opportunity to review the previous week. Look back over your diary and reflect on what happened – your your relationships, your meetings, your appointments. Gather all your loose ends – messages, emails, tasks, incomplete projects, mail, or anything else in your ‘inbox’. 

Finally, it’s a chance to preview the coming week. What commitments do you already have? Is your time going towards what is important? Do you need to make any changes or get released from previous agreements? What steps could you take towards achieving your goals? Do you have rest and recovery time? Time for self-care and fun?

I’ve been doing this for many years now and would say its one of the best habits for effective living. I have done my weekly Time Out on Fridays some years and on Mondays at other times, but right now I like to do it on Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Find what works for you and how often. Maybe every few days is better for you or once a month. 

Successful people know their priorities and focus their energy on them. They know what is important and they keep ‘first things first’. They use their time wisely and they ensure that urgent things don’t keep them from doing what is really important.

What’s your purpose? What’s your priority? What’s most important? What next steps are you aiming to accomplish? The issue is not whether next year will be busy but what it will be busy with. Lots of activity does not always equal significant accomplishment. A weekly Time Out helps us keep on track. 

Let’s recap our main points:

  1. A regular Time Out is one of the most important life habits. 
  2. Take time to review your next steps on a weekly basis. 
  3. Take time to review your previous week and prepare for the coming week. 
  4. Successful people know their priorities and focus their energy on them.

That’s all for today. Soul Food will be taking a break over the month of January. We’ve done 18 episodes so far. Why not review some of the ones you missed or that were most helpful to you. See you in February!

You can watch a video of this episode on the Soul Food YouTube channel.

For further reading, see Getting Things Done by David Allen, The Essentialist by Greg Kckeown, and First Things First by Stephen Covey.

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