How are you, gorgeous? I have been dying to write to you this week! I have so many ideas to bounce off you. Seriously, are you ready? Do you have a cup of tea or a latte or something? Get comfy so we can figure out how to make our lives even more awesome by Prioritizing the People we adore. A few weeks ago, I asked you about your favorite people, do you remember? Okay, now it is time to pull out your list of faves and create a plan for making them a priority. If you already do this, then fabulous, you are excused to go on your date with your hubby or girls’ night out, or whatever else you have planned. But, if you are like me, and your best laid plans for putting your besties, kiddos and family at the top of your long to-do list don’t always pan out, then listen up… I know it is easy to slip into the habit of taking people for granted. I also know sometimes the most important members of our lives seem to get whatever is leftover of our energy after a long day at work, running errands, cleaning house and all the other tasks that fill a day.
While some of life’s hecticness is unavoidable, much of the busyness comes down to taking a time out and doing a priority check (literally). If the connections in your life make you happy, if you want to foster those relationships and keep them healthy, if you want to get picky about who you hang out with, then I have a handy list of life tweaks to allow more time for the people who matter most.
I will get into removing toxic relationships from your life more in a future habit, but let us just say that clearing away the clutter is step one. How much more time and energy would you have for the people you love, the people who energize, support and inspire you, if you freed yourself from commitment and relationships that don’t serve you? If you are spending your time with someone or doing something purely out of obligation, ask yourself why. If it is possible to eliminate this time/energy drain altogether? Then DO IT. If not, can you at least reduce it to a minimum? Can you phase it out? Not sign up to take it on again in the future? What can you do protect your happiness and time? It might be as easy as deciding that you no longer care what others think of you. Don’t stay stuck in an unhappy experience just for the sake of appearances. Remember, we are into self-love here, girl. You are too valuable to waste yourself on people and situations that don’t deserve your attention.
Actually, seriously, make a list of all your awesome people. If you want to get really clear, make the list in order of priority, or at least levels of priority so you can be realistic about how much time you can really devote these relationships. Remember, spreading yourself too thin probably won’t leave you or anyone else feeling super fulfilled. That said, feel free to list people who you adore, but haven’t seen in forever, if you want to make an effort to include them in your posse, now is the time.
Hopefully by now, you are rocking your morning and night routines (I know you are), and since those routines incorporate a lot of your healthy body action steps (sleep, healthy diet, vitamins, exercise, etc.) I’m sure your energy level is totally improving. So, now that you are structuring your days on purpose, managing your health and energy and creating routines you are going to find that there is already More Time in the day. When you aren’t oversleeping, or stumbling around trying to figure out what to wear, you can get through your morning so much faster. What could you do with that extra time? Send an email? Make a call? Set up a Skype date with a friend? Write a card or a note?
If you still feel like you don’t have enough time, try what productivity experts recommend and actually log your time. Get a cute time tracker and figure out where your time is going and where you could be spending it more efficiently. Respect your time and make it work for you. This doesn’t mean you can’t take a break and goof off, but when you do surf the web or window shop at the mall, remember that it is a choice. That isn’t bad thing, but if you burn time that way, own it rather than telling yourself you are “too busy” to hang out with friends and family. It is just as easy to take a break from your task list by writing to your mom or video calling a college friend as it is to watch videos of a dog barking “I love you” on YouTube, etc.
I sound so bossy, don’t I? But really, if you stay late at work because you are swamped with projects it might be time to ask yourself a few questions. Now, you don’t have to fess up right now, but the first question would be, am I working efficiently and using my time wisely? If the answer is ‘no’, could you find ways to get in, get your work done and get out of the office within typical business hours? Could you get to work earlier and get some uninterrupted time to focus on your priority tasks and leave earlier? Some companies have a culture of staying at work late, but often those people get to work late as well. If these are the rules for you, and you don’t see them changing, could you use your mornings to connect with the people you love? Do you have to get in early and leave late or could you pick one OR the other? You might be someone who is genuinely working extremely long hours either because you have been given too much work or because you have accepted too much work. If you can reduce your workload by getting your organization to hire more staff or delegate tasks more evenly, that is fantastic. If that isn’t do-able, why not? Is it because you don’t want to ask? You don’t want to look like you can’t handle it? No worries, I get it, but again, this job is a CHOICE. It is not the only job in the world. If you love it, can’t change it, won’t change it, either way, in the end you have chosen to make it a greater priority than other things in your life. That is not a judgement, it just might be worth acknowledging so you know where things stand. Sometimes we get so used to living a certain way, that we forget we can change it if we want to.
It really is okay to say “No”. Whether it is taking on more work to impress the boss (see #4) or juggling PTA, leading the Brownie Troop and being President of your local “fill in the blank” Society, sometimes it is just too much. You might have started off saying “Yes” for a variety of reason…maybe you wanted to make more money, meet new people, give back to your community or bond with your child. These are all awesome reasons to get involved. It is just that, sometimes things snowball and opportunities that were meant to be rewarding and meaningful become draining obligations. If you are too tired to take your kiddo to the park because you were up all night making flyer for the PTA meeting, it might be time to make a few tweaks to your schedule. This isn’t to say that these obligations aren’t important, they totally are! But, it might be time to look at how many of them you pack into a week. If you or your kids have a different lesson, practice or meeting every night it might be pretty hard to squeeze in time to really talk, play, laugh and enjoy the cast of characters that make up your world. For me, it is hard to say “no”, especially when I think something is fun, exciting or a great opportunity. I often get caught up in believing I have to do it all right now because I might never get the chance again. But, as I get older, I have started to realize that the thinner I spread myself the less connected I feel to the people I most want to spend my time with. You know what I mean?
Okay, I have lots more to say Are you surprised? I know you aren’t. LOL
But the second half of this list will have to wait until next week because, um, you and I have dates to go on, hugs to give and people we have to get to. Go on, scoot!
Love to you and yours.