Are These Balls Important?
As usual, the blog topic this week was well-timed, though ironic. I am juggling more than I usually would this weekend and seeing that my performance is sliding. I am about 5 hours late in when I would normally have submitted my post. Why? Because of life. Well planned out, my weekends take on a usual flow that allows me to accomplish what I need and have some time to add in fun and the unplanned.
This weekend my husband is away so I am single parenting. Super excitingly, but also a new addition to my weekend, is my website is starting to become a reality and I am having to put in thought into answering questions about the design and the feel. Then add in that I am delivering a workshop on Huna healing for children next weekend that needs tweaking and had hopes that it would all be buttoned down for rehearsal. The weather is also unseasonably warm so I’ve been spending more time engaging with the outdoors and spending time with my kids. The batch cooking is out the window, the laundry—well, I managed one load but I can honestly say I am not freaking out.
Now, had this been me a few years ago, it would be a different story. Sweating, screaming at the kids, chest pains. So what’s my secret? Pick the one that works best: “Priorities“, “So what’s” or “F’s to give“. I have a finite amount of time. So, if I look at it from a resource perspective I want to get selective about how I am spending those hours.
I recently read Neil Pasricha’s book The Happiness Equation. One of the things he talks in his book is about “3 time buckets”. Whether you are Oprah, Richard Branson or any other person you admire, we all have 168 hours per week. To be healthy we need 8 hours of sleep per week so there is 1 bucket (1/3 of your week). Next, assume that you work and 8 hours per day plus commute to work and take in the time you spend outside of work thinking about work, another bucket is full, (56 hours). So now you have 56 hours left in your week. How will you spend it?
That was super eye-opening to me. Think about it. That’s the self-care bucket, the time you spend with your kids, life partner, friends, family—maybe add in a sport and spirituality—and that 56 hours gets eaten up quickly. For me, add in blogging, a side healing business, and that time is virtually gone. So then how do I prioritize these things I want in my life?
Another book reference that has helped me recently is Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Effective People. Full disclosure, I haven’t read the entire book. One of the gems he’s offered, however, is called “The Funeral Exercise”. Plan your funeral. Who’s there? What do they say about you? What do you want them to say about you? If you don’t like what is being said about you it’s an opportunity to make changes. Like Ebeneezer Scrooge, it’s a chance to make new choices.
This exercise was so incredibly sobering. The very harsh reality of a workaholic for a company that is not mine. The company wouldn’t be at my funeral. In fact, my job would likely be posted before my funeral even happened. I know I would want my friends and family to say, “She was there to help, her smile lit up the room, she lived life in the present moment, she gave the best hugs.” So then, with that in mind, I ask myself, is this important? Will this get me closer to my goal of helping people full-time? Will it get me better time with my kids?
I don’t want bugs in my kitchen, so yes, a certain amount of clean is important but if the dishes air dry in the drying rack in the sink I am ok with that. If the bed isn’t made with all the decorative pillows I am ok with that. Giving only 100% at work, I am ok with it. I wouldn’t want to be hovering around, having not yet crossed over with people telling stories such as, “Oh man, you could eat off her floor it was so clean (please don’t try this at my house!),” or “She worked the longest hours at her job.”
So, as we head into the faster pace of autumn and I start to add more things for juggling I ask myself, “Is this ball important? Is this worthy of one of my 56 hours?” Family and friends, yes. Offering a healing practice to support others, yes. Maintaining health for me and my family, yes. Learning and building new skills to incorporate into healing (mine and others), yes. Things like a perfect house, or immaculate nails, or binge-watching tv, while fun, are things that I consciously choose to put to the bottom of my priority list.
The beauty in this approach is that I am in control of my 56 hours so if at any moment I want any of those things, I just shift the week’s priorities to fit them in. The best thing about this is that perfect doesn’t come into play. There is no room for perfect, whatever that illusion is. So the pressure is gone because I have focused my hours on building what’s important to me and the people most important to me. It also makes saying “No” easier. My hours are accounted for. It’s impossible to add anything else in at this moment.
And with that. It’s time now to focus on quality time with the kids. I wish you a week that is filled with things that make your heart sing.