Think of your day as a blank artist’s canvas. If you go through your day passively accepting whatever other people and circumstances splatter on your canvas, you will more than likely see a mess where art could be.If the mess troubles your sleep, your next new day will begin in a state of fatigue and mild confusion. From such a state, your canvas will be splattered all the more with shapes you don’t like and colors you never chose.
Thinking of your day as a painter’s canvas will allow you to be more conscious of what is happening to you when you flood your mind with nothing but Internet gossip, commercials on the radio, the latest murder trial, your spouse’s criticisms, office politics, and pessimistic musical lyrics.
If you’ll allow yourself to step back far enough to realize and truly see that your daily canvas is filling up with all these negative things, a certain freedom occurs. It’s the freedom to choose something better.
The more conscious we are of our freedom to paint whatever we wanton our canvas, the less we go through life as a victim of circumstances.Many of us aren’t even aware of our own victim status. We read whatever’s on the coffee table, listen to whatever’s on the car radio, eat whatever’s handy, scan whatever’s on the Internet, talk to whom ever calls us on the phone, and watch whatever’s on the television—often too passive to even click the remote control.
We must be aware that we have it in us to change all that. We can paint our day our way. The best time management—or “day-painting”—course I ever took was taught by Dennis Deaton. His seminar’s main point is that we can’t manage time—we can only manage ourselves.“Clear the clutter from your mind,” Deaton says, “and remove the obstacles to greater success.”
While most time management courses feel like courses in engineering, Deaton has captured the spirit of the artist in his teaching. His prescriptions for managing your day all stem from goal-creation and living the visions you create.Wake up and visualize your day as a blank canvas. Ask yourself,“Who’s the artist today? Blind circumstance, or me? If I choose to be the artist, how do I want to paint my day?”