Be the CEO of Your Life

Dr. Nancy Irwin

Ever heard the expression: “If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person?” How is it that the busiest people get the most done? What highly effective people do is allow themselves to be “controlled” by their trusted support systems and their datebooks.

Many high-level executives have no idea what they are doing from one day to the next. They walk in the office and ask their assistants what is on the agenda for the day. They are essentially told what they are doing and when. Of course, they have veto power. That is the beauty of a valuable assistant and support staff. The word “executive” means one who executes, accomplishes, performs. Are you able to carry out all the action steps to attain your goals? If not, it may just be that you don’t have the proper support staff or tools to aid you in what radio talk show host/author/speaker Greg Smith calls “GSD” – – – Getting Stuff Done!

If you don’t have an assistant or a company of 100 employees you can delegate tasks to, allow your Blackberry, Day Planner, or calendar to be your personal assistant. One suggestion: If you want a big life, get a big datebook/calendar. Some people have dainty, Barbie Doll sized calendars. Live large! Also, pick a color or fabric or texture that you like. If you have a beautiful datebook, you create a beautiful life.

Try “Living in Domains.” It is a simple time management system that you can easily implement and be the CEO of your life. I was trained in it years ago and have been using ever since because it has allowed me to create enough time I need for what is most important to me.

Part 1: Make a list of all the activities you do in a typical week: work, health/fitness, relationship time, social life, grocery shopping, church, chores, etc. There are 168 hours per week. In a perfect world, how many hours do you want to spend sleeping? Working? Exercising? Going to class? Meetings? Spending time with family/friends? Watching TV? Most of us budget our money but fail to budget our time. And there never seems to be enough of either, does there? This system will show how much time we all waste and how to make the most of it, and actually have more leisure time.

After you’ve accounted for all the hours per week you choose to invest in sleep, relationships, health/fitness, parenting, socializing, working, chores, errands, commuting, etc., all the remaining hours are yours for fun, relaxation, vegging, or perhaps for a new hobby…writing that book or taking that scuba diving class. The first time I budgeted my time in this fashion, I was shocked that I had over 48 hours of wasted time! That is two whole days! Imagine what one can do with an extra two days a week. I started seeing that I unconsciously wasted hours a day with TV shows I didn’t care about, playing on the Internet, and the like. When I started rationing those activities, I immediately created plenty of time to write the book I’d said I didn’t have enough time to write.

Part 2: Choose a color to correspond to each domain of your life (i.e, work is red, health is blue, family is green, leisure is purple, spirituality is pink, etc.) and then take your calendar and mark in the exact hours you wish to invest in each area for the next week. I.e., work is 9-5 Monday through Friday, so draw a red box around those hours. Then draw a blue box around the block of times you plan to exercise that week. Then draw a green box around the hours you spend with your family. And so on. Consolidate your waking hours into general domains and color code them and design your week and your life! Give yourself a few weeks to tweak it and see what works and what does not.

When you write things down, you are giving your subconscious instructions. Don’t you always show up for your DDS appointments when you have them written in your datebook? Hair appointment? Job interview? Well, here is a sure-fire technique for showing up for self. When you write down everything that is important to your life in your calendar, you make it happen. You are psychologically geared up for it. Of course emergencies will come up from time to time, but you re-design.

The beauty of Living in Domains is threefold. (1) You can see at a glance what is not functioning or productive ……not enough family time, too much leisure, etc. (2) It is guilt-free living. You are not worried about exercising when you are at your volunteer job because you have planned it and can completely engage in the selfless community service. You’re not worried about work when you are with your mate because you have already accounted for enough hours for work and now you can “shift gears” into the romantic domain. (3) You are in control of your time and make it work for you. You put yourself in the driver’s seat of your life, rather than bouncing around in the back, driven by “fate.” I’ve yet to see anyone not find more time to do what they want as a result of this technique.

If there is something you want to do more of (work out), choose a color you love. If there is something you want to do less of (TV), choose your least favorite color. We tend to be drawn toward what we like and move away from what we don’t. A simple self-hypnotic suggestion!

You deserve to live your life by your own design to the absolute fullest. Now whip out your datebook, magic markers, and execute!

Nancy Irwin is hypnotherapist in private practice in West Los Angeles. She is also the author of YOU-TURN: Changing Direction in Midlife ( or