As we approach this holiday season, the push to get our attention to buy things picks up speed. This unrelenting fever always stops me in my tracks. Maybe it is the “volume.” Maybe it is fatigue since some merchants put Christmas stuff out beginning in September, or frankly, maybe it is just because I don’t care.
Yes, I said I don’t care.
This quest for “stuff” doesn’t help me with the wildly important aspirations in my life. Nor does it give me the most valuable currency – our time. And time is the great equalizer. Each day we all get 24 hours to use as we see fit. And we all get the same regardless of our age, our net worth, or our track record of how we used the last 24 hours. Each and every day we get a fresh start. I like that, don’t you?
So here we are on the cusp of the holidays and I think it is important to think about two things…how we allocate our time and how we show up when give it. Both matter.
I would argue that the most important thing is to realize you CAN allocate the time and second, that you need to start with an allocation for you. Yes, I said you. If you are like me, you worry about everyone else’s needs first and then yourself. It takes you off balance and then you lose your effectiveness for you and everyone else. 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 take the time.
However, planning the time is one thing, showing up for it is another. And It took me a while to understand this concept, or maybe I had to learn the hard way. Remind yourself why you are doing it and plan to be present (not in the middle of a crazy time). Let others hold you accountable. Otherwise, you’ll show up, but wish you were somewhere else.
And it’s happened to me. Know this…showing up is not enough. You don’t get credit for the time unless you engage. It takes practice and feels weird as there isn’t a lot to show others. But that isn’t the point. It is for you. And I promise you, that in time, you will learn that you will always leave with a new perspective and a renewed sense of energy for those things that matter. That’s how you know and believe me others can see it too.
So 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.