Everyone has the same 24 hours each day. How are you spending yours?
Our time is incredibly valuable. We can choose to spend it having coffee with a friend, chilling out in yoga class, or catching up on the lastest episode of Game of Thrones. By why is it that most of the time, we are playing catch-up instead of doing what we love? Filling our schedules with appointments, meetings and deadlines.
Of course, some of our obligations are unavoidable, but everything is a choice. How you choose to spend your hours each day is a personal decision. Sometimes the decision is a tough one, but it’s always a choice.
Getting back to basics
Over the last few years as I have transitioned from full-time work, to motherhood, to a combination of the two, I have found myself going through various periods where I felt like my time was no longer mine.
I felt like external circumstances were dictating how my day would go about. I had to be at my desk at a certain time, or the baby needed to be fed at a certain time. I had appointments to make, commitments to keep. Sometimes I wondered how on earth I was going to fit it all in.
But when I get overwhelmed by my schedule, I always have to come back to the simple truth: I have a choice. I can choose whether or not to accept the invitation to that networking event, or to the baby shower or the mom & baby swim class. I can choose which events will enrich my life and which ones can I let go of.
Sometimes this means letting go of something that I thought I wanted. Sometimes this means making a sacrifice. Something this means dealing with the feeling that I am missing out. But in the end, I trust that I am making the right choice and putting what matters most at the top of the list.
Putting your needs first
Often when we feel that we have no choice, it’s because we are putting others’ needs before our own. We’ll disappoint our friends if we don’t make the birthday party, or we’ll miss out on a potential new client if we don’t attend the meeting. But if we are feeling stressed and unhappy, we are missing out on life.
We are better mothers, employees, partners when we are feeling emotionally and physically nourished. We are able to be present for our loved ones when we’re not rushing off to our next appointment.
I know that the thought of doing less seems almost impossible and often unwelcome. I struggle with these exact feelings. How can doing less actually make me feel more fulfilled? What will I be missing out on? Will I be disappointing friends, family, co-workers?
But something magical happens every time I begin to make the choice to clear my schedule. Every time I consciously remove an event or obligation, I start feeling lighter. I feel the space start to surround me. I feel content and relaxed. I am able to enjoy the little things—the regular, every day moments—these moments become fond memories. I am present in everyday life, and I am better equipped to make choices that will create the life I want for myself and my family.
There will always be times when obligations seem to take over your life despite your best intentions. Sometimes, sacrificing your sacred time is necessary in order to be there for a close friend, or to accomplish a goal. It’s up to you to choose what you value and give away your time when you feel that it’s important. It’s a constant reviewing and editing of your commitments in order to create the life that works for you.
But when you choose to live life on your own terms, there is no greater feeling.
Michelle Kirsch is a marketing clarity coach + copywriter at MichelleKirsch.com. Michelle helps small business owners go from stuck, confused or overwhelmed with their marketing, to clear & confident in their strategy.