I hope not…
Do any of us have FREE time? I’ve been thinking about time, time management, and work life balance a lot lately. It’s the holiday season, and December has always been a big month for me. My birthday, Christmas, and New Years Eve all fall in the same month. And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, companies have holiday parties, kiddos have events at school, and before you know it every weekend is filled with activities.
One of the biggest challenges I faced when I started working as a therapist was managing my schedule. I’d see white space when I’d open my calendar app, and when someone wanted an appointment – if the space was blank, they got got the time. Consequently, I was approaching every other commitment in my life this same way.
I got about 6 months under my belt before
I – Burnt – Out.
I crashed, burned, and like the Phoenix I rose again! This time, I was going to tighten up my schedule, uphold better boundaries, and do “all the things.”
- Put myself first.
- Say, “No.”
- Accept that I can’t please everyone.
- Schedule time for play.
I’d love to say that these beautiful strategies worked, and I had more energy than ever…But alas. About 6 months later, I was in the same place.
I got some rest, dug myself out of the whole, and then repeated the cycle in similar ways about 10 more times… Then, the school of life presented me one of it’s greatest teachers – Grief.
There will be point in the future where I’ll share more of that story, but the take away for this conversation is that Grief suddenly was at my door step, and planned to settle in my life for a while. There were, and are still so many lessons that came out of this hard awakening. But the one I’m about to mention may be the most important for me to date:
None of us have Free Time. It is finite, irreplaceable, and our most valued treasure.
No one gets it just because they want it, and I get to chose how to spend it.
Looking at my time as deeply valued, honored, and sacred (because it is) has created dramatic shifts in my life. Of course there are things on my calendar that excite me more than others, but the intentionality I bring to choosing what goes on my calendar has begun a tiny revolution in my life.
Being selfish about how I $pend my time has opened my eyes to how much I was giving away before. Burnout was like living in energetic debt.
As time passes, the easier it can be to slip back to old habits, and that’s okay. There’ll likely never be a philosophy, day planner, or app that will work for every situation or stage in life. But for me, treating my hours and minutes like rare and precious gems has helped me feel more tapped in to my truth, my inner-knowing of what’s best for me.
Here’s a fun excise to see if this thought process work for you:
- Think of something that holds great value to you. It’s helpful if what you choose is a physical item that holds monetary value vs only emotional value. A handbag, watch, car, etc.
- Now, for every appointment/interaction you have for the next 3 days ask yourself,
- Was that a worthy investment?
- Do I feel good after giving that time to that person or project?
Let me know what you discover! The best things in life are shared.