Another day goes by. Sure you’ve checked everything off your list but besides accomplishing a mountain of chores, tasks, errands and responsibilities, did you have any fun?
I find that so often, fun is the last of our priorities. We look at joy, fun and fulfillment as things we get to experience only after we’ve taken care of everything and everyone else. Have you noticed that by that time, we’re typically too exhausted to do much of anything at all? I call this is a case of yes and no confusion.
Yes and no confusion is when we say “yes” to all of the chores, tasks and obligations which take us away from what we may really need, leaving us to say “no” to the things that bring us joy, passion and purpose. That’s a case of yes and no confusion.
- You may have had every intention of taking that afternoon nap but that volunteer project you said yes to needs to get done and this is the only time you have to do it. Saying yes to the project leaves you saying no to the nap.
- You wanted to say yes to a Saturday at the beach but all of those busy workdays left the weekend for nothing but chores. Saying yes to weekend chores leaves you saying no to the beach.
I’m not saying to neglect any responsibilities at all, what I am saying is that more closely monitoring how your time is spent may leave you more time for what matters most.
Try these strategies to help you use your priorities to get more of your time back:
- Assess how you’re spending your time. If it means writing down everything you do each day, do it. We all get the same 24 hours each day. How much of that time do you spend on things that aren’t important to you?
- How much time do you spend watching TV or scrolling your social media accounts? After each activity, note how much time you spent and more importantly, if it’s led to anything that’s moving you closer to the body, health, lifestyle, relationships, joy, work, freedom or anything else it is you want.
- You’ll likely find that you spend a lot of your time doing things that offer you very little in return. Be honest about those things and find a way to reduce how much time you’re spending.
- Prioritize the priorities. If you take a moment, it’s easy to come up with the things that are important to you. And remember, urgent things aren’t the same as important things. Consider the things you absolutely cannot do without.
- This list is most effective if it has around five or less things. If it grows much longer, you’ll find that you start to add urgent things, or things that are important to others but not so much to you.
- Once the list is completed, commit to making time each day for these things.
- Is your relationship with your family important? Spend more time with them. Listen to their concerns and joys. Gain wisdom and fulfillment from those interactions.
- Is your health a priority? Spend time pre-planning, shopping and enjoying healthy meals.
- Balance your lifestyle. Is your lifestyle balanced between the right amount of work, health, exercise, sleep, self-care, connection, free time, personal development, or anything else that’s important to you? Choose the categories that are non-negotiable and designate time (even if it’s a little bit) to each. Choosing what’s most important and making it a priority ensures that all important areas get the attention they need; even if it’s only a few minutes each day.
- Quiet your inner critic. This is crucial for making your life more fulfilling. It’s time to talk back to our inner critic who relentlessly chatters in our ears. Thinking it knows what’s best for us, it often speaks through negative thoughts, anger, doubt, insecurity, and fear. Tame that critical voice by deciding that if you wouldn’t say it to someone else, you’re no longer allowed to say it to yourself.
- Come up with something kinder to say instead and replace the kinder phrase where you’d typically use the more critical one.
- It’s virtually impossible to lead a rewarding and fulfilling life if you’re filled with anger, bitterness or resentment.
- Can you work towards making peace with your past? Is forgiveness (or self-forgiveness) an option that would set you free?) If forgiveness is a stretch, can you move towards acceptance for something you can’t change? Is envy of others really letting you know that you can play a bigger game if you wanted to? Working through these thoughts will allow for them to slowly release. As they do, joy and fulfillment may just be what’s been waiting to be uncovered.
It’s time to end yes and no confusion so we get the right word out at the right time. By starting to say no to that additional request, urge to scroll your social media account or watch that extra show, you can say yes to so much more.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute