How many times do we rush through our day without being aware of the moments? We rush, rush, rush to that next destination, through all the tasks on our to-do list, from one thing to another with barely catching a breath or stopping to notice. We eat without tasting or really enjoying our food. We spend time with our families, but we get distracted with thoughts about work. We go to work and feel guilty because we’re not spending time with the ones we love. We’re constantly in one place but not truly there because we’re thinking of other things.
How many times have you been in the middle of a conversation with someone, but you realized that you completely missed what they said because your mind is off somewhere else? We’re all guilty of it. The key is to become aware of it and to learn to pay attention to the moments of our lives.
I don’t know about you, but it seems like most people I know say that they never seem to have enough time. The truth is we all have the same amount of time. Twenty-four hours in a day or 1440 minutes or 86,400 seconds depending on how you want to look at it. So, why do some of us seem to make the most of our time while others may feel like they are constantly short on time and running late?
The short answer is that it’s all about priorities. Often the things that we say we value the most may not be the things that we focus on in our daily lives. We say that we want to be healthier, to exercise more, to spend more quality time with our families, but we forget to schedule these things into our calendars. And as the saying goes, if it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done—and then we keep saying we’ll do it TOMORROW.
Having been a wellness professional for over twenty years, people often tell me that they know that they should workout and eat better. They will even tell me that it is extremely important to them to be healthy, but when we start to talk about investing some time into themselves, they often change their tune and tell me that they just don’t have time to fit it into their already busy lives. So, if this sounds like you, I invite you to take a little exploration with me.
How do you spend your time?
There are basic things that pretty much happen every day—sleeping, meals, showering or bathing, brushing your teeth… you know the drill.
So, how much time do you spend doing those things? And if your first instinct is to cut yourself short on sleep so that you can get more done, I’d strongly suggest you look somewhere else to find more time. We all need 8 – 9 hours of sleep for health. In fact, when we deprive ourselves of this very essential need, we increase our chance for accidents (automobile and just-plain-bumping into things), weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and so much more. So, the last thing we want to do is deprive ourselves of this valuable commodity for our bodies.
We could go through all of the other basics in our days, but I think the place to start is really in the things we tend not to think about—all those things that start out innocently but end up becoming a time-suck in our day—things like checking email, scrolling through social media, looking at the news, watching YouTube videos, online shopping for that gadget or outfit that we think we can’t live without, etc.
So, what can you do to be more productive, to get the things done that you say you value, and to not always feel like you’re “too busy” to live the life you dream of?
It comes back to those priorities and figuring out WHAT is important to us and the WHY behind it. When we have a crystal-clear picture, it can be easier to focus on those things and not get lost in scrolling through your social media. Making sure that those non-negotiable things not only get on your calendar, but they get done can be tricky at first. Our brains are programmed to want to avoid the “hard” stuff—and working out can seem so much harder to our brains that doing something fun like binge watching Netflix or watching cat videos on YouTube.
Once you have your WHAT and your WHY, write them down a sticky note—heck, use a bunch of sticky notes. Place them where you will see them often: your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, desk at work, steering wheel of your car. These visual reminders help when you feel your motivation lagging.
Then, go to your calendar. You can do this online or on paper, but the benefit of using an online calendar is that you can set up automatic reminders. Look at your week ahead. How many days can you fit in a workout? Do you need to move something else to do this–maybe skip a few Netflix episodes so you can get to bed earlier and fit in a morning workout? If you find it difficult scheduling time for yourself, come back to your WHAT and your WHY again. If your reasons aren’t big enough to get you to start making yourself a priority, maybe you need to go deeper into your WHY. You say you want to lose weight so you can feel better. Why do you want to feel better? To feel better in your clothing? To be more active with your partner? To be able to run and play with your kids? You may need to dig a bit deeper here, but it makes prioritizing yourself so much easier.
Need more guidance? Contact me for a free wellness conversation. I guide people to get off the sidelines and into that next version of themselves.