Ever hear (or think) these statements?
“I’d really like to get out of my office and talk to our employees, but I just don’t have time.”
“It would be great to get together and reconnect, but I don’t know where I’ll find the time.”
“We should do more fun things as a couple. But with our schedules, there’s no time.”
“I know I should start going to the gym. I’ve got to free up some time.”
Aren’t you glad your name isn’t Time? It would be a demanding and thankless role. Most people want more of you everyday, yet they blame you for all of their incompletions, inefficiencies, lack of production, lack of happiness, and broken relationships.
“I just don’t have enough Time.” It’s more common than the common cold.
Quite frankly, I think time is an easy, societally accepted, BS excuse. I fall into the trap of using it sometimes. What about you?
So, if you use time as an excuse, here are your challenges (should you choose to accept them) – only two things and they won’t take much of your time:
1. prioritization of what you do with your time, and
2. ensuring what you do creates happiness.
1. Prioritization – aligning your activities with your values.
In other words, what’s most important to you? In her transformational e-book, “Creating the Life You Truly Desire: A New Approach to Goal Setting,” Theresia LaRocque has a series of powerful exercises to help you identify and clarify your most important values, and set goals based upon those values. Here’s a really short version.
I invite you to grab a coffee, some high-tech instruments (paper and pen), and write a list of what is most important to you. Examples: family, work, money, physical health, mental health, relationships, research/learning, recreation, community, etc.
Put a check mark beside six or eight that are most important to you. As you ponder on those, you’ll likely find that they are only a “means” to an “end” – to something that is deeper and even more important. What are those ends values for you? i.e. Family is a means to what deeper value? Work is a means to what deeper value?
I invite you to make another list, and it could be 10 to 20 values. Examples: achievement, affection, balance, environment, contribution, love, fun, recognition, security, connection, spirituality, etc.
Rank each of these on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not important, and 10 being extremely important to you.
Now I invite you to choose 3 that are the most important to you.
When you think about the activities and tasks you do, which ones align with 1 or more of those values? And how do you feel when you are doing (or have done) those activities?
2. Creating happiness – planning your activities to align with those values – at least most of the time.
You might be thinking, “But I hate my work and it doesn’t leave much time for things that are most important.” In very extreme cases, a change of career may be appropriate.
To experience happiness in our activities, it requires a choice of attitude and a loving approach to relationships.
I really don’t want to take the time to change oil, rotate tires, or clean our vehicles. I don’t want to take the time to write marketing material, make phone calls, or update our websites. I don’t want to take the time to dispose of garbage, mow grass (or shovel snow), or clean toilets. But those are tasks that allow us to live comfortably, and allow us to help others enhance their lives through the work we do. So, I choose to see the value and I decide to enjoy them. And I know I’m far more effective and productive when I make that choice.
Where in your life, can you choose a more positive attitude toward your tasks?
I invite you to think about some upcoming tasks that may not be your favourites. We all have them. Imagine what it can feel like by choosing to see the benefit you are creating for yourself and others. In your positive state of mind, how can you make your contribution the most valuable and effective?
It’s an easy choice that doesn’t take much time.
And how can you approach your relationships with yourself and others in loving way, in every thought, word, and interaction, regardless of the task?
In the work Carol and I do with corporations, and the coaching we do with individuals and couples, we have never seen or heard of a problem that was anything more than a relationship problem at its core.
Sure, there can be mechanical and technical challenges, yet the most effective resolution is always based in healthy, loving relationships.
Relationships may seem complex, yet the foundational choice is very simple – love rather than not-love. Yes, even in a work environment. Love includes attributes like: kindness, compassion, trust, and respect. I believe we need to make love an integral part of everything we do.
It’s an easy choice that doesn’t take much time.
You and I have exactly the same amount of time each day. I don’t know about you, but from here on, I’m choosing to do just 2 things with my time: 1) prioritize what I do with my time, and 2) experience happiness in everything I do.