Lately, I’ve been struggling with keeping my life balanced. I’ve been overscheduling myself and let my priorities fall by the wayside. It’s been stressing me out, so I thought hell if it stresses me out I know it stresses you ladies out. Between work, kids, wedding planning, gah… Everything. I needed to get back on the bandwagon of saying yes to my top 5 priorities. At the end of this article, there’s a simple exercise you can do to make time for the most important things in your life so that you can shine, not just in one area of your life, but in ALL areas of your life!
What does your relationship to time look like?
The reality is, I can’t do it all and neither can you. It doesn’t matter how much we like to think we can. We can’t. None of us can. It boils down to asking yourself, what is most important this week? Tomorrow? Today?
To get more done in less time, or to have laser focus on your priorities, you have to consider this- people work perfectly to produce the work they’re getting. This means you’re winning the game you’re playing. And just like you have a relationship to food, your body, and money – you also have a relationship to time.
What does your relationship look like? Are you too busy? Is there never enough time?
This relationship with time can be a bitch, like any of them can, if that’s the game we’re playing to win.
How will I know if I’m playing the wrong game?
Maybe you’re that person playing the game of “I’m so busy!” and you’re winning. You want to go out with your friends, spend more time with the kids, have some alone time. But you’re just so damn busy you can barely breathe. Guess what. You’re winning your game of being too busy.
Even if you manage to create free time for yourself, something will come up that’ll fill it immediately so you can be busy again.
You’re more comfortable being busy than having free time. Or you’re more comfortable being busy than having that girls night out or having that alone time with your person. It’s just easier.
Perhaps you’re the other person playing the game of “there’s never enough time.” In this game, you create situations so you constantly feel behind. I’ve experienced both of these – this is the one that recently showed up.
Monday, I realized I didn’t feel behind. I wasn’t stressing about it for once, omg! I thought there was something wrong like I forgot about something. Nope, just finally caught up. So naturally, I found something else I could barely squeeze in just so I’d feel this lack of time.
Even if I didn’t find that extra something to do, something would most likely go ‘accidentally’ wrong so I can get behind again. Sound familiar?
This is how my cycle has been reeling when it comes to my time with my daughter. I feel so guilty about not having enough ‘quality’ time with her but I’m setting myself up to feel this way. What if I reframed these thoughts of lack?
What if I chose to play a different game? One where I value the time that I have to spend with her and I think of all the other things in my day as stepping stones that lead to my victory in this game?
How do I change the game I’m playing?
Here’s an exercise for you – when it comes to your calendar and how you schedule your time, ask yourself, “what game am I playing, and is it the game I’d like to be playing?”
What if you could play the game of always having time for the most important things in your life, no matter how much is going on around you?
Wouldn’t that be awesome?
How do I make time for the most important things in my life?
If you’re to play that game, of always having time for the most important things in your life no matter how much is going on around you, the FIRST STEP is knowing what the most important things are.
If you could only pick five things that are the most important things in your life, what would they be? Just five.
The most important things in my life are:
- My physical, mental, and emotional health.
- My relationships.
- My financial foundation.
- My career and how I make an impact in the world.
- My creativity.
What are the five most important things in your life right now?
Now that you know your top five priorities in your life right now, the SECOND STEP in always having time for the most important things in your life is to shift the game you’re playing when it comes to your calendar.
Instead of playing the game of honoring other people’s priorities before your own, switch to playing the game of honoring YOUR priorities first.
If you’re currently working with me, you learned about the Hunger Scale in the “How You Eat” session, you started practicing honoring when your stomach says YES and when your stomach says NO.
When your stomach says, yes, you honor that and eat.
When your stomach says, no, you honor that and complete the meal.
What if you were to apply this concept to your calendar and how you schedule your time.
- Am I honoring my hunger and fullness when it comes to my calendar?
- Where am I saying yes, when my gut is saying no?
- Where am I saying no, when my gut is saying yes?
We want to say yes when it comes to our top 5 priorities. What gets in your way? How do you end up saying no to yourself and scheduling other people’s priorities ahead of your own?
Overscheduling ourselves is the same as overeating.
In both cases, we’re not honoring how much we can take in or digest at once.
So how do I make time for what matters to me in life? For what I want in life?
I don’t make time. I make a decision to honor my priorities above all others.
It was hard learning this. Gah! It’s still hard sometimes. And it felt so selfish or like I was being an ass. But I don’t have to be there for all those other people.
I’m not being a good person when I’m putting others first, especially when it’s at my own expense.
We’re actually doing the people we love a disservice by cheating them out of the best version of ourselves and giving them the worn down, irritated version of ourselves. Who wants that? It’d be like going on a date and the other person is exhausted, irritable and falling asleep through the conversation. You just want to shake them and say be like “hello… wake the hell up!”
We want to bring our ‘A ‘game with the people we love. But we can’t do that when we’re overscheduled or exhausted.
In a way, being in a constant state of overworking and overcommitting is playing the game of doing anything and everything to prove that you’re a good person.
Or the game of trying to appear strong and in control and like we can do it all. Almost like it’s another badge of honor. Sort of like that imaginary badge we grant ourselves when we barely sleep.
Are those the games you want to be playing?
To be the best version of yourself you can’t:
- Put everyone’s oxygen mask on before yours.
- Put yourself last on your to-do list, while giving everything you’ve got to everyone else.
The truth is, there isn’t time for everything, but there is time for the most important things.
What do I do now?
Now that you have your top five priorities challenge yourself from today on, to say no to anything else. Try it for a week. See how beautiful and alive you feel. It was hard for me, but once I learned it, it felt so liberating!
If you find yourself feeling guilty, bad or wrong for honoring your no, check and see if you’re worried about what others will think of you.
If you are worried about this, think of it this way. What if you saying no to something that doesn’t serve you is an inspiration to those very people you’re worried about disappointing?
You will have those times when you start to fall back into your old ways and that’s normal and ok. Just notice it. Be curious about it and explore what led to it and if something needs to be tweaked. Maybe your priorities are changing. Just notice without judgment.
Will there be times in life when there are emergencies, and you can’t put yourself first? Absolutely.
These emergencies are a prime reason why it’s so important to put yourself first on a consistent basis – so that when the shit hits the fan, you have the fortitude, strength, and resources to weather the storm.
I challenge you to honor your yes and your no for the next seven days.
- Review the next seven days on your calendar.
- Make a list of the activities scheduled that support your top five priorities. So what are the things on your calendar that are a yes to what’s most important to you?
- Then make a list of activities scheduled that aren’t supporting your top five priorities.
- Choose at least one activity that doesn’t support these priorities, and I want you to cancel it within the next 24 hours.
Now, I want to hear from you.
What’s the activity you’ll cancel?
Leave a comment below and let me know.
Thank you so much for reading and joining the conversation.
I’m truly grateful for your participation,