Something to nibble on: “It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” –Steve Jobs
How we spend our time matters
Time is one of the few resources we can’t replenish or get back. Even Cher can’t turn back time. No matter how exciting and vivid – or unclear and uncertain – your future seems right now, you don’t have a guarantee of how many days you’ll have to live it out. Are you making every day count, now?
Looking at the end of the road doesn’t have to be a daily practice, but it is useful to see what are common regrets from others before they die. These are from a few blogs I follow and they all have the same answers. The Huffington Post, medium.com, No Sidebar, etc… all say these are the top 5 regrets most people have before they die.
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
The trap: we spend so much time and put so much attention on what we’re doing we forget that we’re human beings.
I took a program back in 2013; it was the study of what it meant to be human, and this is exactly what they talk about. The being part of being human. I bring this up because most of us focus on our measurable goals for the future, but forget about the most important ones: the non-measurable ways we interact in the world.
I thought it was important to mention the end because I know my brain usually can only handle planning or looking a few months to a year out. I remember when I was in a coaching session and my coach asked me where I wanted to be in 10 and then 20 years and I was like, how the fuck should I know?! I barely know what I want to do this year…
My point is, don’t feel pressured to look way far out in the future; and, keep in mind that looking back from the end can create some different perspectives. Do any of the five points above sound like a regret you might have down the road?
I mentioned last month that our non-measurable areas can, actually, be measured — in a way. We can’t see how strong our relationships are, but we can see what areas we spend our time on. This is where your calendar or a landing page will come in handy. I invite you to dig into how you want to spend your time along with who you want to be. How you “feed” your time into the areas you’d really like to put your attention into will give you a clearer idea around how much time you have left.
There are several common mistakes we make around scheduling or taking on new things. We say yes before we actually know if we’ll have the time to do it. We “do” things for others first, and then are too tired to feed ourselves (resulting in exhaustion and sometimes bitterness). We schedule life but have no idea what’s too much because we’ve never captured it to really look. And, we think everything we put on our list for 2020 has to happen all at once, right now! …without realizing that the brain goes to overload quickly (we will go over how to minimize that later).
My approach is to START with those non-measurable areas that we often brush past or gloss over. I suggest starting with a brainstorm in these areas; if you’d like to get them in your calendar already, go nuts!
What will you do in the next year (or quarter, or season) for your…
- Recovery: sleep, time away to reflect, filling your cup
- Self-care: investing in your body, mind, soul
- Time off: Evenings? Weekends? Holidays?
- Breaks: mental breaks, lunch breaks, time away for your inner 2-year-old
- Travel: for work, play, vacation, bucket list
- Play time: things you love just because you love them
Whether you schedule these non-measurables or not, I invite you to pay attention to them when they’re happening. Let them be an important part of your experience, rather than something squeezed in ‘when you can.’ And remember to be kind to yourself; any time we try on a new way to be in the world it can take time to fully integrate this into our lives.