How many times did you have your heart set on doing something exciting for yourself only to have it cancelled last minute? Do you find yourself negotiating with people to be able to do something that is important for you? How do you choose what non negotiables are important for success?
Many people spend time and energy trying to fit good habits into their calendar only to have them overbooked by others. We hear so many women saying they’d take more time for themselves if they, eh, had more time.
But we all have 24 hours in the day and when we can’t fit everything in, we must choose what actions or activities are really important for our own well being and success.
By defining your ‘non-negotiables’ you will save time and energy as you’ll stop negotiating each time you want to take a break, go for a run or spend an evening reading a book that will help you take your career to the next level.
Non-negotiables are daily, weekly, monthly or yearly habits and actions. They are light and repeatable and will bring huge benefits to your career and life in the long term.
The idea of ‘non-negotiables’ is just that. Don’t negotiate.
Or rather, negotiate once and then have it settled for the unforeseeable future. Let’s take an example.
Would you like to have some me-time in the mornings to get your day started with clarity and intention? If you live with other people or have a family this may not always be so straightforward as other people get in the way. Even if you live alone it’s easy to get distracted with everything that’s going on around you.
If you want to set some time aside for yourself in the morning you can make it a non-negotiable. First decide how many mornings this would be. It’s always best to set realistic targets so let’s take just one morning a week.
The first person you need to negotiate with is yourself.
This might sounds obvious but how often did you talk yourself out of doing something that would actually be really good for you?
We all do this, and it’s totally human. (And that’s why we need to set these non-negotiables.) Choose a day and a time. Are you going to wake up a little early for this? Then remind yourself of your why.
Think ahead and name the objections that you are going to have. How are you going to try to negotiate yourself out of your own choices? Write all of this down in your journal.
If you live with others, it’s time to negotiate with them next.
Ask the people around you when would be the best time for you to do this on a regular basis. Explain your ‘why’ and ask them to commit to protecting your time.
Put the time slot in your calendar (and in the calendars of those who need to protect your time) and then HONOUR yourself to keep your own appointments. Would you cancel an appointment with your best friend or with your boss? Of course not! This is the level of commitment you need to have to your non-negotiables.
Choose what non negotiables are important for success by asking questions like:
- What are the pillars that keep you healthy?
- What are the pillars that keep you grounded?
- What are the pillars that keep you believing in yourself?
- What are the pillars that keep you excited about your work?
- What are the pillars that help you keep energised?
One of my non-negotiables is riding a horse. On Wednesday mornings I go to the yard, come hell or high water. I don’t move it because of client meetings (there’s always another time available). I don’t skip it because someone wants a call with me, I don’t change this habit for anything!
My husband knows my schedule. He knows I need the car on Wednesday mornings. He knows what time I leave. My team knows this is what I do on Wednesdays. They don’t assume I’m available. I know to plan my work around this and set realistic expectations for myself on Wednesdays.
You can use non-negotiables for anything you like. You can set a 5 minute non-negotiable tea moment after each successful creative period. You can set a half a day non-negotiable trip to the ocean each Sunday morning because being by the sea makes you happy. A two hour period in the beginning of the day when you are not available for meetings or email? Yes, this can be achieved but you have to work with others to achieve it. You can even set a non-negotiable for a girls weekend trip to somewhere fun or a non-negotiable date-night every second week with your partner. (Whatever it is that you want!)
Remember. When you are choosing what non negotiables are important for success you only negotiate it ONCE. For instance for date night, have a babysitter booked for the next six times in one go. Now it’s in the diary, the babysitter knows, and the restaurant is booked. You are done.