September 21, 2019   2:04am
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Getting Time on your Side

According to our “What’s Next” expert Cindy, “We are how we spend our time.” Discover how you are spending yours; how you prefer to spend it; and what you can do to “live differently” this year.

I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions for all the obvious reasons. They seem contrived; after all, January 1st is just the day after December 31st. My natural bias is to see them as an indictment of what I didn’t do last year vs. an opportunity for change. And then there’s the tried and true excuse – since I never keep them, why bother setting them?

But this year I find myself thinking about time and how it really isn’t my friend any more. Let’s face it, at this point in our lives, we have less than more of it. So, I have decided it is friggin’ time to “show up differently” for myself this year. In the words of my dear friend and executive coach, the time is now to “live out loud with courage, candor and conviction.”

Our behavior, concerns, and outlook are shaped by the way we spend our time. Try the following exercise* to discover how you’re spending yours; how you prefer to be spending it; and what you can do to “live differently” this year:

1. Inventory how much time you spend now in each of the following five general activity buckets:

  • Personal – How you care for yourself
  • Couple – The nurture, fun, intimacy, conflict you have with a significant other or best friend
  • Family/Friendships – The relationships and responsibilities related to caring for children, parents and close friends
  • Social Connections – Your involvement in community organizations and activities
  • Work – Your job, career or volunteer efforts

Make a list of what you do each week and apply it to these five categories. Assume you are awake and involved for 100 hours per week. Use percentages and make sure they total 100%.

2. Make a second column for how you WANT to invest your time in preferred activities in the next chapter of your life. Use the same activity buckets and apply the same 100 hours per week methodology. Your list might look something like this (of course, it’s your list so make the columns whatever is meaningful to you):

Column #1 Column #2
How I Spend My Time How I Want to Spend My Time

Activity % Activity %
Personal 05 Personal 15

Couple 05 Couple 10

Family 30 Family 25

Social 10 Social 10

Work 50 Work 40

 

3. Contrast Column #1 and Column #2. What do you want more of? Less of?

4. Identify and COMMIT to at least two scheduling changes which are within your control in order to move you closer to column #2. (You may not be able to stop showing up for work; but you can stop cleaning up your teenager’s bedroom and reallocate that time for a weekly manicure …)

Making incremental adjustments in how you prioritize your time will feel good. It may even breed more change. So, go for it. Live out loud. If not now, when?

NOTE:
In the coming weeks, I’ll share some additional tools that have helped propel me at various points over the past few years while I reckon with “what’s next.” (Honestly, on any given day, a tool may seem enlightened or stupid to me. I keep them in my bag of tricks because on enlightened days, they help get me back on track as master of my own destiny)

 

* From Life Launch: A Passionate Guide to the Rest of Your Life by Frederic M. Hudson and Pamela D. McLean

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2 Comments
kirby says: January 10th, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Cindy — can’t we get a few more than 100 hours in a given week? Please write a column about how to survive successfully on less sleep.

bonnie says: March 6th, 2008 at 9:20 am

funny to read this today- yesterday I decided to take a leave of absence from teaching a course- I had surgery just a week ago and as I plan my recuperation and return to responsibilities I came to a realization, that although I had become adept at managing what is a full plate- full time job, relationship, parenting and helping to care for my mother- I wasn’t enjoying my life enough. There was no enough time left for nuturing and developing frienships-so, I will earn a little less, but gain 10 hours a week. I want to excerise more, stay connected- and not make excuses because I don’t have the time!

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