Evaluating your life to identify your priorities can be intimidating.
Likewise, admitting how you spend the bulk of your time can be revealing--in both positive and negative ways.
Do you feel you don't have enough hours in the day with which to get everything done you'd like? Many people feel this way--few know what to do to combat this feeling. Some professions, think lawyers and accountants, must account for the work they do every 5-15 minutes. Imagine if you needed to keep track of how you spent your minutes. What might you find? How many moments did Facebook or Twitter consume today? Any television images your mind will never be able to erase? What about negative thoughts or pointless arguments? Although I deem it a fabulous planning tool, I have to admit that both Ben Franklin and Jay Gatsby would be ashamed at how many hours I've spent on Pinterest.
Over that last few years, I have changed how I use my free time significantly. Because we've found wellness to be one of the main priorities in our lives, and something important for a healthy marriage and life together, my husband and I take a 30-45 minute walk each night or a nighttime bike ride. By doing this, we spend time together, laugh, get out of the house, and stay active. This did not develop overnight, but was a product of evaluating our priorities, our values, and our expectations. (As well as his tireless research of topics such as layering and personal outdoor safety...)
The point is not to make you feel bad about how you spend your time. The point is to examine whether how you spend your time currently is how you intend to spend your time in the future. Each day presents new blessings and new challenges. There is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself on the internet, napping, or taking a daily bubble bath. If you like the choices you make, then you don't have to change them. And some days (/ weeks/ months) are more challenging than others (like the month that Chipotle Knew Our Order), so don't be too hard on yourself if you need a little extra help! If you truly feel you don't have time for something you believe to be important, however, the only option is to make time for that activity/ practice. Taking the time to make the time for priorities you want to have in your life, as hard as it may be, is valuable and beneficial.
What do I wish I had time to do?
What are hobbies/ interests/ goals that I've allowed to slip away?
Are these enough of a priority to bring back into my life?
If I were to make changes to any part of my day, what might be "on the chopping block"?
What is one small change I can make today to bring something more productive or more in line with my priorities into practice?
Remember, depriving yourself of the joys in life is not necessarily going to lead to happiness and contentment. Don't give up everything you love just to say you've done so.
If you are mindful of how you spend your time, you will feel more at ease with the life you've created, allowing you to be more present for what really matters.
What ways have you found to be particularly helpful in achieving this prioritizing or evaluating your time?
Photo taken at the University of Mary Washington
in Fredericksburg, VA
Labels: Go Ahead--Try It!, Life, Mind & Body