If I were to ask you what the most important things in your life are… what would you say?
Probably your family, your spouse, hopefully yourself, maybe your spirituality, right?
But if I were to ask you how you spend most of your time/energy, what would you say?
Seriously… where do you spend most of your time?
Are the two categories aligned? Or even close?
Yeah… you aren’t alone. Quite a few years ago, I had an epiphany. I was working my ass off for a company that truly monopolized much of my time and energy. I was super caught up in the urgency of my work and all the demands. After a near burn-out and quarter-life crisis, I made a huge realization.
I realized that many of us cater to everything in our lives based off of how urgent it is presented to us.
You may have heard the phrase “The Tyranny of the Urgent”. What does that mean? Well, simply stated, it means that we naturally tend to the things in our lives that present themselves as urgent or as an emergency, as I like to call it. And what usually seems urgent? Probably shit that doesn’t really fall under “one of the most important things in my life” category, right? Oftentimes it’s work, obligations, other people’s urgency… bottom line is, we are constantly spending time and energy on things that aren’t really an emergency. In fact, it may be the exact opposite… shit that doesn’t even deserve our time and energy… it’s just wrapped up in a package that screams, “Take care of me first!! I’m an emergency!! I’m sooooo urgent!!”
So, let’s say you are working yourself to the bone, for your job that feels like a constant emergency and you get a call that your child or spouse has been in an accident. You would drop work immediately, right? Why? Because now your family is the emergency. Or maybe you are wrapped up in a volunteer program that monopolizes your time and all of a sudden your partner expresses they are on the way out of the relationship. Now your marriage/relationship has become the emergency, right? So here’s what I’m pointing to: why does it take emergency status to wake us up and actually allocate our time and energy to the things in our life that we would actually claim are the most important things to us? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? We’ve all heard the old adage… no one on their deathbed says “I wish I worked more.” They say, “Damn. I wish I was there for my kid more“ or “I wish I showed up in my marriage” or “I wish I took better care of myself.”
So, how does this apply to your own life?
Let’s get really clear on all this, shall we? Take out a piece of paper and write out the 4-5 things that you would say are THE MOST IMPORTANT things to you in your life. The things that you live and breathe for. For many, the things that you would actually die for. What are those things? Ok, so right next to that column, I want you to start thinking about how you spend your time/energy on an average day and write next to those things a percentage… a percentage of your time/energy you spend on these “most important” things. Now, still thinking about your average day, list out all the other shit that gets most of your personal resource. What are the percentages there? What’s out of alignment?
This small exercise can be hugely eye-opening. Now, I’m not saying quit your job and play with your kids all day. I understand that there is a bit of a give and take here, but I’m guessing that there is somewhere you could actually give a bit more of yourself to the shit that you actually really care about.
Ok, one more little exercise before I leave you to re-appropriate your time. Still looking at your average day, is there anything that monopolizes your time that you really don’t even like? Anything that you are taking on that you resent? Anything you are saying “yes” to simply out of obligation? What would your life look like if you only said “yes” to stuff that lit you up? Alright, so stop right now with “but, Amy, I can’t…” I’m not interested in can’t. It’s actually won’t. Start substituting “won’t” for “can’t” because that is what you are really saying.
Now, leave that all behind and look at what you CAN do.
What’s one small step you CAN take to better allocate your time and energy to shit that actually really matters to you? One place where you could say “no”? One thing you don’t want to do that you can eliminate? One way you can focus on the shit that really matters? What have you been treating as an emergency that really isn’t? What if you treated your happiness as the emergency?
Or, you could always just stay the same. [wah, wah]
Get. Fucking. On it.
P.S. **Oh, and I currently have 2 spots open for my one-on-one coaching program. Find out more details here.
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