As we approach this holiday season, the push to get our attention to buy things picks up speed. This focus always stops me in my tracks. Maybe it is the sheer “volume”, maybe it is fatigue since some merchants put Christmas stuff out beginning in September, or frankly maybe I just don’t care and it doesn’t matter.
Yes, I said I don’t care. The “stuff” doesn’t help me with my wildly important aspirations. We all know the more valuable things in life use a different currency…our time.
We start each day with 24 hours to use as we see fit. And we all get the same amount of time regardless of our age, net worth, or our track record of how well we used the last 24 hours. But have you ever thought of this…each day we all get a “do over” or a fresh start.
I like that, don’t you?
With this clean slate – I think it is important to think about two things:
1) How we allocate it and
2) How we show up when we are using it.
Let’s be clear here – both matter.
I would argue that the most important thing here is to realize you CAN allocate time and secondly that you need to start with an allocation of time for YOU.
Yes, I said you.
If you’re like me, you worry about everyone else first and then yourself. It didn’t matter if it was work, parent, friend, or wife; I always ensured others were supported before me. But here’s the rub…this approach takes you off balance. And when you are off balance, you lose your effectiveness both for you AND everyone else in your life. Not an end goal that works well.
So start with you. Plan time for you and then be disciplined about it. Whether it is time to reflect on the day, time to stay fit, time to enjoy a good book, time to enjoy your favorite hobby or just time to be alone and hear yourself think. Whatever you need to stay recharged and focused.
It took me a while to understand this concept, or maybe I had to learn the hard way. I saw the negative effect on my relationships, my ability to keep all the balls in the air and perform to MY standard and most of all, I saw the effect on my ability to stay renewed.
So now, I force myself to plan time for me. A weekend retreat just for me at the cabin, an open morning to plan the day and review the last week, an afternoon break to do something I wanted to do, or a visit to the spa. It felt selfish at first.
Later I learned it was the missing link. It is the essential ingredient to keep me charged and ready to go. It allows me to fully engage in my life and make a difference. And it’s had a profound effect on my ability to see ahead and to believe “I can.”
However, planning the time is one thing; showing up for it is another.
Remind yourself why you are doing it and plan it so you can be present, not in the middle of a crazy time. Let others know, so they too can hold you accountable and don’t interfere. Otherwise, you will be there, but wishing you were somewhere else. It’s happened to me.
But you need to know; you don’t get credit for the time unless you show up and engage. It takes practice and feels weird as there isn’t a lot to show others. But that isn’t the point.
It’s for you.
And I promise you, that in time, you will learn that you will always leave with a new perspective, a renewed sense of energy and the confidence to focus on those things that matter most to you. That’s how you know and believe me, others will see it too.
Start simple and don’t expect big things. For me, it started by planning a day off work to see or do things that I always said “one day” I would do or taking my birthday off because after all it is our VERY SPECIAL DAY. Both of these I started when I had small children and didn’t want to spend the money for a sitter or take more time away from the family. Then try a long walk, a trip to the spa to get pampered, time to do your favorite things, eventually working towards a weekend retreat.
What’s important is you get started…..it’s guaranteed to make you better and why wouldn’t you want that?
I look forward to hearing what you do to stay recharged and the effect it has had on the JOY in your life.