This week I attended a staff retreat where I took part in a workshop titled, “My Plate’s Already Full!” I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, although the description talked a bit about finding a work/life balance which appealed to me. One of the biggest things I took away from this workshop was that we can live our lives by a compass, or allow the clock to control us. This means, I can choose how to use my time, so that it doesn’t control me.
So often, what happens is I feel like I simply don’t have enough time to accomplish everything I’d like to accomplish. One of the quotes in the presentation was:
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr.
When I first read this, I felt kind of flippant about it. Of course I have the same amount of time each day as those people, but they were extraordinary. The truth is, while they all accomplished extraordinary things, and certainly lead inspiring lives, everyone gets 24 hours each day. We each get to choose how we spend those hours.
While I’m being honest with myself, I waste a lot of time every day. Some of it is wasted sleeping in, some of it is wasted surfing the internet, some of it is wasted watching television, or reading. I’m not saying all of those things are completely without value, and doing things I enjoy like sleeping in, or watching television, isn’t ALWAYS a waste of time. But, when I find myself whining (usually internally) that I simply don’t have the time or energy to run, or workout, or write every day, or be more social, I need to remind myself that all of life is a balance of choices.
Yes, I could sleep in, or I could go to bed an hour earlier, and wake up an hour earlier and get in a workout. I know I’ll actually end up feeling better about it once it’s done, but peeling myself out of bed feels insurmountable. I could watch an hour of television, or I could read more and possibly reach my goal of reading 75 books this year. Currently, I’m six books behind schedule. I could spend hours surfing the internet, or I could spend some of that time sitting down and writing.
One of my goals for next year is going to be planning and spending my time more productively. I will spend some solid time thinking about my big time goals (passing the last section of the TCRG exam, actually participating in NaNoWrimo, reading 100 books, taking the English section of the CLEP test so I’ll have junior standing at school) and of course other things yet to be determined. Then, I’ll spend some time thinking about the ways I can budget my time to ensure I’m always working toward those goals. Another take away from the workshop was that – asking yourself the question when you feel like you haven’t got enough time, “is what I’m doing in line with helping me reach my goals?” Obviously, not everything I do will be a forward momentum event, but when I find myself feeling overwhelmed, or crunched for time, revisiting that question can help keep me focused on the big picture.
What are you thinking about as we get closer to the new year?