Time is that one thing that we spend without thinking about it. We rarely think about how much we're spending, on what, or even why sometimes. Yet, time rules our lives more than anything else, and we need to learn how to spend it wisely, just as we need to learn how to spend our money wisely.
Imagine you have $24 a day, and wish to spend every penny in that day. What would you spend it on? Some would say "well, I need to put aside a certain amount to save", but in this scenario, you MUST spend the entire $24 in a day. There is no saving any of it, only losing it or wasting it. How careful of that $24 spend would you be? What would you spend that $24 on?
Everyone will have different answers, and there are no rights or wrongs, just perspective, and introspection. I recently read an article where the author, and entrepreneur, spent 30 hours per week running a successful business. 30 hours! That's less than most peoples' 40+ hour week at their jobs! But how? How did the author do that? By making a list of priorities when it comes to spending time. Sounds simple right? HA! But, it can be done, and needs to be done, in order to create a life full of meaning, connections, joy, peace, happiness and the list goes on.
Our days are filled with time that is spent doing something. If we were to figure out what we spend time on, and what we'd like to spend time on, we could come up with graphs and charts and we could see where we need to tighten our spending, or spend more in other areas. There are certain basic requirements, like sleep, that should be considered "fixed" time costs. In this category we would add work, and to work we could add commute time, since we know how long it takes to get to work, and home. Each of us will have a "fixed" amount of time, depending on our needs, and of course, everyone will be different.
I'm going to use sleep as the only "fixed" time in my schedule, and work on spending the rest of my time wisely. This is an exercise in self care. We talk about #selfcare all the time, and include examples of it such as: taking a day off, taking a bubble bath, sitting quietly with a book and a cup of tea, spending time with family, friends and loved ones, skin care routines, bed time routines, workouts, slowing down, carving out "me time", etc. etc. But we rarely talk about how we spend time when we talk about #selfcare yet it is so critical to self care and well-being.
The easiest way to carve out time is to say no. No, I can't meet up with you tonight for drinks after work. No, I can't stay later. No, I can't take on another project. No, I can't stay up late. No.
By saying no you are being selfish, which is fine. It's ok to be selfish about yourself, and your time. You can't save time, or get it back but you can decide whether or not you want to spend it on certain activities. Saying no is the simplest and most effective way to exhibit and practice self care. But it has to start with how you have allotted time for certain things. We are creatures of habit, and know how much time is spent in any activity. For example, I know that I'll spend at least 2 hours a day taking my dog for walks or to the dog park for her to socialize with her friends and get the exercise she desperately needs. I also know that I'll try to spend at least an hour a day reading the news, or a book, or an article. So, how do I allot the rest of my hours?
I'll do it by assigning a set number of hours for certain things, starting with what I consider a priority. This is where everyone is very different. And, by practicing self discipline...something I really need to work on, I'll admit that openly.
Work - is it a priority? Well, of course it is, if you want to pay bills, save for the future, enjoy comforts, eat, have basic necessities, and so forth and so on. But is it REALLY a priority? Should it be the first priority? Again, everyone will answer this question differently, and will decide for themselves if work is the number one priority. If you have a job with set hours, then you know where you are spending that amount of time. But some of us don't have set hours, or even set schedules, so we need to plan around this kind of fluctuating work structure. And we do it by setting aside a certain number of hours a day to work, be it marketing, posting to social media, planning, and being at the physical location of our work, or by being present online, if that's our business model. So, if I am to set myself to work 30 hours a week, which is 5 hours a day, I'll need to really focus and discipline myself to work, without distraction, on a project, like this blog, and then allow myself to use the rest of my time for other things, like family, health, and doing enjoyable activities like going for a bike ride (either my bicycle or motorcycle), taking in a movie, going out for dinner, meeting up with friends, or getting my wild and rampant garden under control! Even when I allot time for these activities, I have to remain disciplined. Going out for dinner is such an enjoyable experience, especially now with so many constraints on dining in restaurants, that I need to stay on task...enjoying dinner out. I need to put the phone down, not answer emails or questions, not respond to texts from tribe members or others, and be in the moment of having dinner out.
In today's world of instant communication it's really hard to put that phone down. I know this. I'm looking at my phone at an alarming amount of time every day, and I'm working on "no phone time zones". Such as dinner. Especially if it's dinner out. Or, when having coffee with a friend, or visiting someone I care about and miss, or after a certain hour..no phone time zones. It sounds so easy...but we have a desire to know, and to connect, and to be heard or seen, validated in our ideologies, share our experiences with other like-minded people, or just because it has become an addiction. And it has.
I'm not going to go into statistics about the time spent on devices by age group or demographic. I don't need to, none of us do, because we are all aware of how much time we spend scrolling through feeds, posting to social media, texting people all day long, or distracting ourselves with games, or shopping, or videos of baby otters eating something (they are SOOOOO incredibly cute!), or whatever it is that we are doing on our phones all day long. Have you ever lost or misplaced your phone? The near-panic is an indication of just how attached to our phones we really are. It's like going to the mall with a toddler, and losing them. Panic. Absolute panic until they are found...same thing with our phones. So, I carve out time for phone use, and say no to frivolous time spent scrolling through social media and whatnot.
For some of us, the cellphone is money. That's how some people make a living, but it still shouldn't be the center of how we spend our time. Really getting a good grip on how much time is spent on the cellphone can free up more time to do things that don't involve technology or social media. I'm a work in progress.
#selfcareSunday is something that you'll see all over social media. Today, I really wanted to talk about saying no, and how it's critical to self care. Planning time spent on daily activities is something I'm not quite good at...yet. But I've started with my mornings spent with a coffee and reading through the news. Something I actually enjoy doing. I used to start my day with work tasks, and then getting busy with the day and getting things done, saving only the end of the day for my own time spent on doing things I enjoy, or that thing called "me time". Rather than giving myself the crumbs of me, at the end of the day when I'm exhausted, I've decided to start the day with "me time". Not taking care of anything or anyone else, just nursing my coffee and catching up on world events. I say no to emails, texts, communications and whatnot that are work related. Then, after my allotted time of "me time", I say no to distractions, like another round of solitaire, or celebrity news that I really have no interest in, or scrolling through social media. I'm getting really good at this last one! I couldn't tell you what my husband posted to Facebook only because I'm not scrolling through Facebook at all. Same goes with other social media platforms. I have no idea what people have posted to their pages, only because I have allotted a certain amount of time, and how I spend that time, on social media. This one act of saying no to constant scrolling through social media has really created more time to spend on other priorities, like actually TALKING to someone, or getting another task, like laundry, done.
I do still follow accounts, and comment on posts, and like and share, but only when I feel it's relevant to me, my followers, or the account that I'm following. So, if you've noticed that I'm spending less time on social media, it's by choice. I prioritize other things now, and it's really helping me with staying on task, and getting things done, and having more time to spend in other areas of my life. And to me, this is self care.
Well, I've used up my allotted time for creating this blog post. I know it sounds contrary to what I've been saying about spending time on technology, but I did allot this time, set it aside and planned it, and now it's time to move onto other things that I feel are priorities...like that garden. Managing my time and saying no have been the most important things I've learned this week about #selfcare. What are YOUR priorities when it comes to spending time? How do YOU manage your time? How do YOU spend it? What tips and tricks would you like to share? We encourage your input and insight. Feel free to comment!
Stay happy and healthy my beautiful tribe.