Thursday, July 12, 2012

Busy for busy-sakes

If you are busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest, you should read this recent opinion piece in the New York Times titled The Busy Trap. I'm sure to some, if we don't have our noses to the grindstone 24/7, we're wasting away our lives. I disagree. I highly doubt we were put on this earth to work non-stop, over book ourselves and view vacations as a threat to our employment--sadly some people fear if they go on vacation, and the office can get by without them they might lose their jobs.

I'm no expert on time management. I can waste away a chunk of time as much as the next person, but I do think I have a pretty good grasp on having balance in my life. Enough time for friends and family, enough to pursue my interests, and enough get the daily doings done. Yeah, I should be a bit more productive in some areas of my life, but this is a journey. From personal observations, here are a few thoughts on how to slow down and enjoy the ride.

Your money or your life. If you focus all your waking--and sleepless nights--on work, maybe it's time to find a new job, or at least a I'm-out-of-here-if-things-don't-change talk with the boss. No job is going to love you back or provide enough money to make up for lost time with friends and family. No one dies wishing they had spent more time on at the office.  I know of people who choose to work less hours so they have time for, well, life! And they seem happier for the fact.

Which leads me to the next tip. Budget your money and time. In the past, my husband and I worked at cubicle jobs around the clock. And you know what we did with our extra earnings? We squandered a lot of it away on things we thought we "deserved" because our jobs sucked so much happy juice out of us. Now we make less, but enjoy life more. We aren't into stuff, more into experiences. It can be hard to reverse your lifestyle to get by on less income, but the rewards are worth it. Honest!

Tune out. TVs and computers are pulling us in so many directions, it's hard to find a healthy path. And they can be addictive. The US Parks Service is even installing wifi in national parks because people are demanding it. So sad. And did you know that watching TV at the gym reduces the effectiveness of your workout? Yep. Distractions take your mind off the true task at hand. Try designating your non-work computer time to a certain time of the day. Even set a timer to remind you to log off. We got rid of our TV and haven't missed it. . . well I do catch an occasional Antiques Road Show on the laptop though;-)

Just be. This is hard for most of us, but try just resting quietly. You could meditate, you could try stretching or putting your feet up and reading a book--for fun--not work, or even taking a nap. All have positive health benefits.

Learn to say no. I have friends who are much bigger, beautiful social butterflies than I am. I run out of personality on some days and just want to chill at home. But you know what? Some times they've confessed to me, that they would like to too, but feel compelled to accept every invitation that comes along. It's OK to say no. I had a fellow trainer friend who designated Wednesdays off. Yep, no clients, no appointments, nothing. It was her day to relish whatever her little heart desired. It was a big leap, but eventually her friends and clients "got it" and respected her for it.

Just what do you do all day? I talked about this last year. Click here to see my 24-Hour Clock, a little tool I use with clients to help them determine when's a good time to incorporate their exercise routine. They fill it out with their daily routine for a visual representation of their day. It helps them manage time better so they can work smarter not harder to get things done.

Anyway, that's my two cents for the day. What about you? How do you manage your time so you have time for what counts? I look forward to your input, but for now, it's time for me to log off myself!



Kate said...

Great points! We have friends who are scheduled weeks and weeks out for everything. Even just having a simple dinner requires "reservations" with them a month ahead of time. I wonder when their me time is?

trainer, crafter, kristin said...

Hey Kate,
I'd bet that whatever is taking them away from hanging with you is not nearly as fun. We kind of give up on friends like that after a while.

Today I ran into a friend who's been out of town for months. Instead of saying, "we need to get together some time." We just picked a time for tomorrow to meet for coffee and catch up. Yay!

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