I am an expert time waster. It’s actually a gift. You give me a block of time, even an entire day, and I can accomplish next to nothing through all of it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll look busy. I’ll sit at the computer and keep typing. I’ll keep moving about the house as if there are several projects I’m working on at once. But it’s all an act. A show, if you will.
Perhaps I should take it on the road. Charge admission. Put on several shows a week. Nah, that sounds like too much work.
You’re probably reading this wondering, where exactly does this gift come from because I think I’ve got it, too? In fact, you may think you are even more an expert at this gift than me. I’d challenge you to a time-wasting duel, but that would be a colossal waste of time.
An interesting idea.
Where exactly did the idea come from? And how did it rise to such importance in our life?
Think about it. How much of life is centered around time?
Alarm clocks start us off each day. Schedules dictate how quickly we must leave the house, or when our kids need to move to the next project. We go through the day from one appointment to the next. Checking things off along the way.
We eat according to time. Travel according to time. Sleep according to time. Raise kids according to time. It’s everywhere.
Take a moment and look around you, how many things that tell time do you see? Two, three, more?
Time runs our life.
When asked what you would like more of, you’d probably answer time. Many couples have expressed that one area they would like to improve is quality time in their relationship.
Have you ever spent a week or more away from the tyranny of time?
Where schedules and meals were determined by the sun and your body’s natural rhythms? This often happens while on vacation.
That’s one of the main reasons I love backpacking. You head off into the woods for several days with no time constraints. Life becomes slower. The body’s natural rhythms take over. The important things in life come to the surface.
What if you could live this way every day?
The interesting thing about being time-crunched is that whatever is important to you, you still make time for.
What if we replaced time focus with energy? Instead of looking at the day as a block of time, look at it as a finite amount of energy.
Then ask yourself, where do you spend your energy?
The answer to this question will tell you where your priorities lie.
Do you find that you come home too exhausted to enjoy your family at the end of the day? Work performance may be your priority. Do you find that there isn’t enough time in the day to complete everything on your to-do list? Schedules may be your priority. Have you racked up huge amounts of debt recently? Keeping up appearances to others may be your priority.
You only have so much energy each day for the things in life.
By spreading yourself too thin and being involved in too many things, your energy is dispersed and is of little real use to you or your loved ones. Think back to the times in life when you’ve been in the flow. Focused. All your energy devoted to one thing. What was that like? Cool, huh.
When you live life more in line with your core values, more energy for life is harnessed. If you displace energy on the immediate concerns rather than core priorities, life can be very chaotic and scattered.
In order to reclaim some of your energy, try this:
1. Learn to say no.
Probably the number one way to claim more energy for your priorities is to do away with the draining things in life. Say no from the start when invited to join some group that you are only mildly interested in. That way, you’ll have more energy for the things you really enjoy. Incidentally, this is a great lesson to teach your children. Do they really need to play every sport and be part of every school club?
2. Listen to your gut.
If you are unsure about something going on in life, listen to your gut. It often knows the best answer or course of action to follow. This is a learned skill, but it can serve you well. Those times when you are uneasy about something going on, act on your gut and live more in line with it. The uneasiness is probably due to a misalignment of things in your life.
3. Live passionately.
This is one of my core values. Live with passion. Whatever you choose to do, do it well. Let your self go a bit and let the passion flow to others. Live life out loud! Enjoy life and don’t take it so seriously. None of us are getting out of life alive anyway.
4. Feed off the energy of others.
Your energy honing will feed others. And the best part, you can surround yourself with energy people and feed off theirs as well. That’s the beauty of living in community with other like-minded people. You build each other up and spur each other on to greater things.
Where do you spend your energy? Does this answer the question of where your priorities lie?