In 30 minutes, you can declutter a few cabinets. In 30 minutes, you can walk 1-1/2 to two miles. You can lose yourself in a novel, or play two board games with your children in 30 minutes. In 30 minutes, you can make three to four phone calls. You can watch a sitcom, or idly search several websites in 30 minutes. In less than 30 minutes, our nation was rocked and a record was set by one man at Virginia Tech. In less than 30 minutes, a doctor can deliver life changing news. In a split second, accidents happen that forever take our loved ones from us.
Sorry for the shock factor, but I want you to understand that time stands still for no one, and we all have 24 hours in a day. Take eight hours away for sleeping, and we are left with 16 hours. So, are you spending your time in this precious life exactly the way you want to?
Know Yourself and Your Priorities
Go ahead. Make a list of your priorities. Maybe your list might look something like this:
Examine Your Current Life
Now that you know your priorities, take a very close look at your current life. Does everything you do support your priorities? Get out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Label the first column "Say Yes To" and label the second column "Say No To." Think about the way you are spending your time. What activities are you choosing to engage in that neglect your priorities?
Perhaps you are immersed in volunteer work that drains you. Maybe you have a daily 90 minute commute that makes you angry. List all of the things in your life that you want to say no to. Again, scan those priorities, and ask yourself what you want to be doing with your time. List all of the choices and activities you currently say yes to (that support your priorities). Add in those items you are not currently doing, but want to say yes to. Exercise regularly. Establish a weekly date night with my husband. Find a new job that I am passionate about. Organize my home.
Spend Your Time Wisely
Design your life and use your time so that all your priorities are honored. Eliminate everything that is not aligned with what's important to you. Put a plan in place to start adding the important activities. Every time you are faced with a decision to do something, stop, and think about your priorities before you make a choice. If the choice supports your priorities, jump in with two feet! Take your toe out of the "water of unimportant activities and decisions."
Seek Balance, Not Perfection
I can hear it now, "I don't have time to do all the things I want to do." Yes you do. You have 16 hours in a day, 112 hours in a week, 480 hours in a month, and 5,840 hours in a year to do whatever you want. "But I have to work so I actually have half of that time." Hopefully your work supports your priorities and you are passionate about what you are doing. Everyone chooses how they are going to spend their time.
If you don't like how you spend your time, then choose differently. Get creative with your time and make a way to do the things you want to do. Find the right balance for your life. Things don't have to be perfect, just enjoyable. That's when "attitude" comes in to take over. When you are feeling grumpy because you "have to" do something that supports your priorities, remind yourself why it's important to you. Part of loving our family sometimes means we need to do laundry, console a crazed child, or sweep up crumbs from the floor for the 100th time. Taking care of ourselves may mean we say no to our family, and yes to a 30 minute workout. Seeking financial stability may require us to temporarily stop spending money.
These choices may not always be easy, but they're always important if they support our priorities. So make this your new motto - I will make time to do the things that support my priorities, and I will choose to love every minute of my life.