7 Tips to Analyze the Formula of Your Life

Who are you?
You are a sum total of how you spend your seconds, your minutes, your hours, your days.

Improving behavior starts by understanding that formula.

There are few surprises at the end of the year academic and athletic banquets.  As teachers, we see the students who are there early in the morning to work out or stay late to work on a project.  It is interesting, because often it seems students are genuinely surprised at those who “get” all state or “highest  academic achievement.” They think it is “not fair.”

Perhaps they are too close to see the extra hours and time put in by those who accomplished so much. Maybe they were too close to see?

There are few surprises in life.

Who are we?
We are a sum total of how we spend our seconds, our minutes, our hours, our days.

Improving behavior starts by understanding that formula.

LONDON - NOVEMBER 16: In this photo illustrat...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

It is no wonder that Edison invented the light bulb. After all, he created so many ways of NOT inventing the light bulb!  He spend his days immersed in that problem and with the solution dawned a new age of illumination.

The inventions of Edison's life emerged from the formula of how he spent his life. Sometimes we have to not look at the results we are getting at this moment but know that our formula is taking us closer to the pinnacle as we trod upon rocks which lead us in that direction. It was Edison who said:

“Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”

There are few surprises in life.

Who am I?
I am a sum total of how I spend my seconds, my minutes, my hours, my days.

Becoming more.  Being more.  Achieving more begins by understanding that formula.

If I wish to be something different, simply understand the formula of how others who have accomplished that thing spent their lives. How did they use their minutes? If I consistently follow the formula of their lives, it will be no surprise that I will experience similar results. If I also reach into myself and to my Maker to seek out the purpose for my life then I can establish the patterns that will allow me to reach that success.

As I've read Focal Point by Brian Tracy, this is the hard realization that I've come to. 

The things I don't like about myself are the result of ways I've spent my time that are not good. The things that have gone well are also the result of actions – actions I must continue if I wish to get those results.

Take a Hard Look at the Minutes to See the
Destination of Your Life

This summer, I'm looking at my goals – writing them every morning on my mini-planner. I'm logging my time to see how I'm spending it.  Each morning, I'm prioritizing what I am doing based upon the goals and values that are important to me. A clear picture is emerging that I'm spending time on some things that are not important to me that will need to be out of my schedule.

The Waterfall of Life

For life is a bit like this waterfall on Deep Creek that we tubed past last week.  The longer if flows, the harder it is to change the course.

Is this a concession point?
There are also points of concession.  These are the ledges of life, that if you fall over – you cannot go back.  I am still running. I know that at some point if and when I stop, I'll never be able to run again.  Conceding can be permanent and we have to be realists with ourselves to realize if we are yet ready to concede that aspect of our lives. This can also happen in jobs as well – you can reach a point of no return where you have to move on.

7 Tips to Analyze the Formula of Your Life
Here are some suggestions that I've gleaned from Focal Point and several other books that have helped me:

  1. Every evening, write down the things to do the next day WITHOUT priority.

    (I review Toodledo which serves as the place that holds everything on my master list – but I have a daily list WRITTEN DOWN — paper doesn't have to ‘boot up.')

  2. Every morning, write your top 10 goals for your life.

    Rewrite them. Improve them. Look at them. Read them aloud sometimes.

  3. Then, prioritize the task list for the day.

    (The FranklinCovey method words well where high priority has “A”, next “B”, lower “C” and then task order 1,2, 3, 4.)

  4. Start working with the first task and move down.
  5. Log your time.

    I have an appointment list but also have a page where I log how I spend my time each day and then add it up at the end of the day by several categories. 

    For me, it is “fitness”, “learning,” “family,” “money,” “writing,” “cleaning,” “legacy” and “spiritual.” (Legacy includes the things important to me like flat classroom and our conferences that help others.)  This shows me the FORMULA of how I spend my time.

  6. Review your day and make decisions.

    Ask yourself, “If I spend every day like today — what will I be like in 10 years… 20 years.. at the end of my life?  Make decisions about how you need to change and what you need to learn and immediately start reading a book or blog or resource to help you in that area.

  7. Designate Your “Hour of Power”

    Designate an hour for the things that are most important to you. If you can't have an hour… take 10 minutes. It is better than nothing. For me, I have “fitness hour” “learning hour” and “family hour” where I completely focus on that one thing and I start every day reading my Bible. (Brian Tracy calls the first hour of your day your “launching pad.”) No, I don't have the time. But I am looking hard at how I'm wasting my time to “coach myself” into letting some things go and refocusing.

Do I do this? Yes!!
This has been a work in progress for me, however, I will say that because of these seven tips —  today, my children and I have spent time planning a special weekend for my husband.  My son just made homemade peach ice cream (here's the recipe – cut sugar by 1/2 a cup fyi), my youngest son and I had a great time at the grocery store as he shopped for the ingredients for a special meal he is preparing for Kip, my daughter and I laughed together as we looked at a video with her favorite werewolf and vampire. (“Doesn't he wear a shirt?”) This comes from focusing on what is important.  I was still able to get a lot of “work” done as well as some more on that book Julie and I are working on about global collaboration.

When my son made the peach ice cream, he followed a recipe and it made peach ice cream. So, I must seek wise advice from people who've worked through it already to determine the actions to help me succeed. And should there be something I master, I should also share that with others who would like to learn in that area.

You can do it!
This is an encouragement to you… if you're not getting out of life what you want –look at what you're putting in to your life.  We all have the same 24 hours and although we all have different gifts and talents, we all have a purpose.

Perhaps we are surprised at how things turn out because we are too close?  Because we feel we are doing all we can? Because we are giving all we have and have nothing left at the end of the day?

Sometimes we have to pull back and look at the big picture to realize that truly life is a formula and in reality, there are very few surprises. We can see it in the lives of others but have to sit back and look at it in our own.

Don't be surprised… analyze!


Jean Baptist- Paris – Tetris Calendar – http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeanbaptisteparis/3946835760/

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Brian S. Friedlander, Ph.D June 20, 2010 - 3:10 am

Hi Vicki

I enjoyed your recent post about setting personal goals and prioritization. I came across a very interesting piece of software called Goalscape (goalscape.com) to track personal goals. I would be interested in your opinion of it.

Hope to see you at ISTE 2010

Brian S. Friedlander, Ph.D.
AssistiveTek Blog

Skype: assistivetek
Twitter: twitter.com/assistivetek

Anonymous June 20, 2010 - 11:09 am

Thanks for writing such a great post. I mean, they’re always great, but this is something I really needed to read today. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with trying to balance being a mom, a teacher and a writer. This formula really makes sense to me and gives me hope that I can excel in all areas in my life without feeling burned out.

Pam Bennett June 20, 2010 - 8:18 pm

As a new blogger (literally a week ago), your 7 tips was my first reading outside my small world of blog friends. We ARE the sum total of how we choose to spend our days, min, hours, and seconds. Some of the tips I do automatically. However, I need to add reflection/review. A little sigh of a job well done. Thanks for putting so many of my thoughts in writing.

Mitch Self June 23, 2010 - 12:44 am

It sounds like you are doing all the things I (sometimes) tell myself I should do. But I wonder, does the effort to so efficiently use every minute create or relieve stress? Maybe it depends on the person.
I admire both your energy and your accomplishments.

Debbie June 30, 2010 - 4:30 pm

I am a ms literacy coach and am wondering how this applies (or can be adapted) to support teachers as they begin the journey of goal setting and self-reflection. I think I will buy the book.

Comments are closed.

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere