You don’t have time.
How often do you say or think those words? If you’re like most women, you say or think them a lot. Because they’re complete truth.
It’s a good bet you’re command central for your life. At home, you’re chief organizer, calendar-keeper, house manager and caretaker. You handle the big stuff like kids and financial management. You also handle the little details (the ones that keep life functioning) like groceries, errands and meals. There are a million of those little suckers, aren’t there?
Professionally you carry a similar load. If you work in an office, you do your share to support your team. If you have your own business, the whole shebang is on you. (Deep breath. You got this.) Then there’s your community. You’re involved. You support your friends and the organizations, teams, and schools that make up your life. It’s a lot. You’re busy.
Good for you.
This isn’t gonna be one of those blogs where I tell you to stop being busy, or ask you to take a break from doing things to support the people you care about. I want you to keep busily supporting away. You’re a born nurturer. Fighting that instinct, or making yourself wrong for having it, is futile. (You can argue with nature if you feel like it, but she’ll win every time.)
You’re supposed to nurture, and there’s nothing wrong with being busy. We just want to make sure you’re busy with the right stuff. You CAN take care of the people and things that matter to you, and still have spots left in your calendar for other stuff that matters too. I’ll teach you how in this week’s episode of GrooveTV. (Press PLAY already. Let’s show that calendar of yours a little love, shall we?)
Step 1 – Get clear about what matters.
Your time is a valuable commodity. It’s also finite. Once you spend a minute it’s gone. Forever. (It’s kinda like money. Once you spend a dollar, it’s spent, right?) It’s just like that with moments.
We want to make sure you have something to show for the time you put in each day. (Because we both know you’re putting it in!) This precious resource needs to be invested in stuff that matters, not frittered away on stuff that doesn’t. To make that happen, we use priorities.
A priority is something that requires your time and attention for your life to function (think paying bills or reporting to work) or something that fulfills you (think spending time with family or taking care of your body).
Let’s make it personal. Write down the top 5-7 priorities in your life. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before. Just take a shot. What categories of things matter most to you, or require real estate in your calendar for your life to function? I’ve shared my list below as an example.
- My Self (spiritual connection, self care, health, fitness, growth)
- Career and business
- Financial abundance
- Friends and community
- Home management
Don’t make this a bigger deal than it needs to be. Your list can (and will) change. It’s flexible. That said, there are two wrong ways to do this.
- Wrong Way #1: Not to do it.
- Wrong Way#1: Not putting yourself on your own list.
Notice that I not only made my own list, I made it to the top spot. Nobody is happy if mama isn’t happy. You have to take care of yourself if you want your life to work. This is a non-negotiable. Make yourself a priority.
Got your list? Awesome. We’re gonna use it in the next step.
Step 2 – Do a calendar audit.
Get out your calendar. Look at either last week or the week you’re in, and answer two questions.
- How many of your priority items made it into your calendar? (Good for you! These are keepers.)
- How many items made it into your calendar, but they’re not your priorities? Make a list called not-my-priority. (We’ll use it in step 3.)
The first time you do this exercise, it can be shocking. It’s common to find that you’ve been spending a ton of time on things that didn’t make your priority list. No guilt or shame here. We all have a little pleaser deep within us. She can get us into trouble when we let her play unsupervised. Let’s bring some supervision back into the mix, shall we? ☺
Time to roll your sleeves up. You knew this part was coming, didn’t you? ☺
Step 3 – Start swapping.
A good recipe for resentment and bitterness is a calendar packed full of stuff that doesn’t matter to you. Bitterness bites. Let’s take a different approach. Time to enter the truth zone.
You have to stop spending time on non-priority items.
There is no other way to make time for what matters to you. You must remove some of what doesn’t.
This part is super-simple, and supremely hard. It’s simple, in that it’s obvious when something has to go. It’s supremely hard because you’re going to have to start saying no.
Take your not-my-priority list from step 2, and start swapping. Replace one non-priority item with one priority item each week. Just one. That’s small enough to get you started, but big enough to have major life impact.
I’m gonna level with you. Initially, this is gonna to be hard. You’re going to disappoint a few people. It’s inevitable. You’re going to be uncomfortable. (Because disappointing people is uncomfortable.)
You must grow comfortable with being uncomfortable.
In addition to your weekly swap, start using your priorities as a true north of sorts. Refer to them before you commit your time moving forward. Remember, you’re investing here. You want to be discerning, and use your moments for good.
From now on, when someone asks you for help or invites you to do something, refer to your priority list. If the request supports a priority, go for it. If it doesn’t, backbone-up my sister. And say no.
You can. It’s important. When you use your time for what matters, the quality of your life changes. It evolves. You’re still busy. You even get overwhelmed at times. But you’re dealing with stuff you’ve decided matters. That makes all the difference. It puts you on purpose. And that is a beautiful way to live.
That’s it for the week. Please remember that I never want you to blindly take my word for anything. Only you know what’s right for you. (I just happen to have a few coaching tools that can help you get closer to that wisdom.) Give this week’s advice a test-drive. Once you do, let me know how it goes. I love hearing from you! There are three ways for us to interact.
- Comment in the comments section below.
- Chat with me on Instagram or Facebook.
- Email me if you have something more private you’d like to ask. My personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m the only one reading your messages, and it’s always me answering them.
I’m here for your empowerment. If you haven’t already joined my community, please do it at my website (www.kimberlyfulcher.com). I’ll send you a free coaching video and blog every Wednesday, and we’ll get your groove back together.
Until we meet again, know that life is happening for you.
And you got this!