How do you spend your time?
Do you invest it wisely?
Do your actions reflect what you claim are your core values?
Maintaining focus on the things that matter most to us is not as effortless as you might think. It's easy to take for granted the amount of time available to cultivate all that is important to you.
Before you can assess your time management you need to have a solid understanding of your principals. What are your top priorities and values? Create a list of the top 3-5 things that matter most to you.
My top priorities in order of importance are:
When I take an honest look at how I manage my time I can pinpoint the times where my actions haven't aligned with my values. The time I've spent hours watching TV or on social media instead of engaging with my kids, studying to expand the knowledge and skills necessary to improve and grow my business, or socializing with friends. Choosing to binge on junk instead of making the effort to prepare food that would nourish my body, or staying up late instead of getting a full nights rest which would allow me to feel great and be productive the following day. I have also made the mistake of putting priorities lower on my list of values before those at the top of my list. If your family is what is most important to you working overtime or taking on more responsibility at work are not actions that align with your values.
We often find excuses as to why we aren't able to accomplish the tasks that would move us closer to completing our goals. We claim we "have" to do this thing or attend that event. We take on commitments that keep us busy but don't improve our productivity. Planning, effort, sacrifice, and commitment are necessary to stay in alignment with our core values. While the reward may be great it's not always enjoyable in the moment.
So how do we cut the crap and realign our actions with what is most important to us?
It starts with honest self-reflection.
How are you spending your time? Where are you expending the most energy? Who are you prioritizing? This is not the time for judgement or guilt over past behaviors. This is simply an exercise in evaluating how your time has been spent.
After you have an accurate assessment of what activities you have been prioritizing then begins the tough process of owning our choices and creating solutions.
Finding the answers to these questions will not be easy, but it will be worth it.
Create a plan of action. Start small. Work to change one habit at a time. Eliminate one activity that is a time suck, or fails to support your goals. Once you have this new habit well developed add to it.
You may be able to manage more than one change at a time, but be mindful of how this affects you. If you attempt to massively overhaul your life all at once it’s difficult to sustain long term. If you begin to feel overwhelmed take a few steps back and re-evaluate what is manageable.
It can be difficult to shift your narrative from “I’m busy” to “I’m not choosing to make this a priority”. It can be eye opening when you realize that your excuses are in fact choices. Owning your choices (especially the less than stellar and questionable ones) is never easy on the ego. Accepting that you are largely responsible for how your future will play out is not always an easy pill to swallow.
Failure and mistakes are inevitable, but it’s empowering to know that you have control over the outcome of your future. Hard work and determination practiced daily will lead to great changes and a beautiful future.