By: Stephanie Camins, LPC
Have you ever found yourself saying things like, “I meant to send that message, buy those flowers, make that date, schedule that trip, etc”. Followed by, “but I ran out of time.”
We can’t prioritize our relationships without first prioritizing the time it takes to nurture them. Improving your relationship with time gives you the time to improve your relationships with people.
Time is a limited resource. It is, in fact, our most valuable resource. We become consumed with finding more time. In fact, time management is the subject of thousands of self-help books. Bad news, you can’t make more minutes magically appear. The good news, is you can make the minutes you have count.
Awareness comes first. For one week keep track of how you spend your time. Note how much time seems to get away from you. How often do you lose track of time and wind up at the end of the day not having done what you intended to do? Are those things aligned with your highest priorities?
Time is a commodity. Be mindful of what you fill it with. Using mindfulness, you can focus your awareness on where your time goes. Awareness of your present use of time gives you the insight you need to reallocate this resource. Ask yourself, how do the things I fill my time with serve what is most important to me?
- Determine what is most important to you. What do you value most?
- Evaluate your use of time. Are you spending your time on what is truly important to you?
- Reset your priorities, reset your clock. Prioritize your time for what is most meaningful to you. Do the things you “have to do” efficiently and maintain a schedule that reflects what you value. Maintaining a schedule allows you to organize your time to reflect your values.
- Be grateful for even the “have to’s”. Yes, be grateful you have dishes to wash, in the home you are washing them in, with a body able to wash them and the food that made them dirty in the first place! Gratitude frees negative energy, giving you back the time you spend procrastinating those things you don’t want to do.
- Be disciplined with your use of time. It is your most valuable resource. Treat it as such.
Change Your Thinking
Managing time isn’t only about what you spend your time doing. It is also about what you spend your time thinking. How much time do you spend ruminating about, complaining about, shaming, blaming, or otherwise deprecating yourself and others?
Thoughts consume time and energy. Be mindful about how much time goes to negative thoughts. Changing the way you think is easier said than done, I get it. How do I stop thinking so negatively is one of the most common questions I am asked. You DO have control of your thoughts. You can change the way you think in the same way you change any behavior. Remember, time is your most valuable resource. Don’t waste it circling around in a negative thought spiral. Practice replacing your negative thoughts with a more positive or neutral statement.
Managing your time involves what you do and what you think about. Align these with what is most important to you.