Someone recently asked for ideas of time savers. The question came to three of us on a panel of women professionals at an industry-networking event. I looked to my co-speakers to get us started so I would have more time to think of something inspiring and clever to say. All three of us were stumped. Quick, next question please!
The question really got me thinking, though. What is good time saving advice?
Time, and your daily capacity to do, is a limited, finite resource. We all have access to unlimited creativity and energy, and yet as a practical matter we run out of time. So the question is whether you are spending time on activities that are truly aligned to your values and priorities. And, are you letting everything else go?
Only you know where to find time savers in your life. Here are some ideas to contemplate if you’re ready to let go of some of the busy-ness of doing.
1. Focus on priorities. July 2001, I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep one night. My husband is to my left, my 2-year old daughter in the middle (yes, we had the family bed), and I was pregnant with my youngest. I was asking for insight into how I should serve others, and I heard a voice outside of my being. It was a soft voice, androgynous, coming from behind my head and it rose up to the corner of the bedroom ceiling. The voice said, among other things, that I am to focus on my work and my family. It was a life-altering moment for me; it literally brought me to tears. My two priorities are my work and my family, and that’s it. If you were to focus your priorities on only two or three things, what would those be?
2. Set boundaries. Many of us are not clear with others and ourselves about our boundaries in areas big and small. Many years ago, I decided one of my boundaries is that I don’t travel on Sundays for business, and I would never ask employees or colleagues to travel on Sundays or holidays. There were a few times I had to hold firm and push back on meeting organizers, and of course there were a few instances where it was unavoidable. But I was clear on what was important to me and I felt good honoring it. What does life look like if you give yourself permission to define appropriate boundaries and stick to them without feeling guilty?
3. Hire help. Yes, it costs money to hire someone to clean and cook, do the books, run errands, and all the other tasks that are painful and time consuming for you to do. But if you hire people to take care of these things, you will most definitely have more time for your values and priorities, and you’re helping create abundance for others through their work. This is one area where I could use some help (no pun intended!). I’ve hired house cleaners over the years, and it gets frustrating – apparently my standard for “clean” is higher than the cleaning company’s. Even so, I must keep looking for the right individual who shares my vision for a clean house. You can do this too! How different would your life be if you had a small team of people to help with the more routine tasks of life?
4. Get healthy. Your first thought might be to focus on your physical body, and of course I’m talking about properly eating, moving, and sleeping. Your health also includes mind and spirit – think of holistic health and wellbeing. You don’t have balance if you’re strong in one of these areas and weak in the others. By finding and maintaining balance holistically, you’ll waste less time dealing with the effects of stress which can be enormous. This is a big one for me any my family. I got serious about what I call “health wealthy” about two years ago and have, over time, eliminated (most days) gluten, dairy and processed sugar. I exercise regularly with varying intensity levels depending on the season. I sleep a solid 8 every night. And you all probably know mentally and spiritually, I meditate daily and journal. And with all that, I still have days where I don’t feel my best, so I’ve learned this area of life is the journey, and not the destination. How would your life begin to change for the better if you had balance and were truly healthy holistically?
5. Forgive others and yourself. I don’t suppose we walk around consciously aware of all the forgiveness we are holding back from others. Whether we are aware of it or not, holding back forgiveness is a waste of time, and it destroys some of our creative energy and love that could otherwise be spent enjoying life and finding peace. Put your seat belts on, folks. This is a big one: forgiveness issues run deep and sometimes it isn’t about forgiving others, it’s about forgiving yourself. Opening up to forgiveness might take you to places in your life you’d rather (try to) forget. But it’s all still there, buried deep in your subconscious or camouflaged by all your busy-ness. Take a deep breath and know that your subconscious mind will not reveal any memory or past hurt that you cannot handle today. From whom in your life are you withholding forgiveness, and what would it feel like if you could forgive and move on?
6. Let everything else go. Identify your priorities, set your boundaries, hire others to take of the chores you don’t want to do, get healthy and offer forgiveness. The 6th tip is to let everything else go. Easier said than done, so start with small stuff. In my world, for example, I’ve let go of having a neatly mowed lawn, we get to it when we do, and no we haven’t hired a neighborhood kid to do it yet! Don’t waste another minute of your precious and finite time on things that don’t matter!
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