What is the one thing that every person on this earth often bemoans the lack of? If you guessed money, you would be wrong. If you guessed happiness, you would also be wrong.
The one thing that (almost) every person on this earth (regardless of race, creed or colour) lacks and wishes that they had more of is of course ‘Time’. If I had $1 for each time that I have heard someone say “Where has the year gone?”, “Time moves so much more quickly these days” or “I wish I had more hours in the day” then I wouldn’t be counting pennies today.
Interestingly, yesterday I was working on my book which will contain a collection of my 500+ blogs posts from the past 18 months when I came across this post from 2013 in which I speak about this very thing. And as if to reinforce the relevance of its importance, this week’s makeover tip from Cheryl Richardson deals with Time also. There is a message from the universe in there I’m sure.
However, this is not about me but about what Cheryl recommends for improving our life one week at a time.
In the book, she asks the question “What do you actually spend your time each week in doing”?
Now many of us work and that accounts for a large percentage of time. Cheryl suggests that approximately 55 hours each week is spent commuting, getting ready for, worrying about and actually working. That is about 1/3 of the 168 hours contained within each week.
Now if you sleep a good 8 hours each night (as is recommended) then you can subtract another 56 hours from that total leaving us with 57 hours left in which to do our housework and chores, grocery shopping, parenting, exercising, running errands, paying bills, volunteering and pursuing recreational outlets. It’s little wonder that we feel as if there are never enough hours in the day.
However, there is one thing we always forget. We are in charge of our lives and we are the ones who decide what is important and not important in our daily routines. To this end, Cheryl suggests making an “Absolute Yes” list.
This list will contain the top 5 priorities for the next 3-6 months. These are the things that need to be taken care of and made time for.
Once you have a list of the things that you have to schedule time for, then it becomes easier to say ‘no’ to the things that aren’t necessary and take your time away from that which is important to your life at this point in time.
An “Absolute Yes” list will allow you to remember your priorities.
So this week’s challenge is to create and “Absolute Yes” list for our lives.
To do this, you will need to set aside an hour or so (schedule it if you have to). Taking your journal (or notepad) and pen break the page into headings entitled Relationships, Family, Community, Work, Emotional and Physical Health, Finances and any others you might like to add.
Now ponder the following two questions:
- What needs my attention at this time in my life? and
- What do I need to let go of?
Don’t censor your answers. No answer is wrong.
After you have done this exercise, prioritise what you have written into what is most important right now to what can wait a little longer.
Then take your top 5 answers and write them out on a card that you have labelled “Absolute Yes” list. Keep this card with you and read it often. Place copies beside your bathroom mirror or in your work diary if you wish.
Once you have done this, your challenge then becomes saying ‘no’ to things that will take away from using your time in the way in which you wish to e.g. if you are asked by a colleague to help them with a project at work yet you have a deadline of your own, then graciously decline.
Cheryl advocates learning to say ‘no’ with grace and love in order to protect your gift of time. If saying no is difficult for you (and you wouldn’t be on your own there) then remember the following things:
- Your self-care is always a valid excuse
- You don’t need to over-explain or defend your actions. Just tell the simple truth.
- Doing things out of guilt and obligation is not doing things out of love.
In closing this chapter Cheryl says:
So, the next time someone asks you to do something that you’d rather not do, simply smile and tell them that you’re not available.