At the beginning of the year, resolutions loom large.
Get a new job,
All of the above…
But whenever you have an addition to your schedule, it’s time to take a look at your days and really understand where you are spending your time.
How will the introduction of new activities support your sense of self? If these activities add to your enjoyment of life, then by all means – move forward! Joy = energy.
If, on the other hand, these new activities burden you and increase your level of martyrdom, choices must be made. If you’ve accepted without reflection, say no. We can’t keep adding without subtracting.
Combining that “new” task with the ordinary demands of family and work, and household chores, it gets a bit harder. Each day becomes fragmented by your calendar and any extra time seems elusive.
Julia was raising her kids as a single mom and completely dependent on her calendar to tell her where she needed to be and when. Everything she did was aligned with their days. She was barely managing her anxiety as she ran from one place to the next in order to keep up with her career and allow her kids to keep up as well. It was only when her children were with their Dad that she able to catch up, only to fall behind a few days later.
She was bleeding money, tired all the time and the kids kept growing! They needed a computer, new clothes, shoes, and sports equipment! She thought it meant she had to work longer hours.
But did it? Did it really mean she had to stay on this ride? Her joy was low, her martyrdom level was high. She wasn’t even connecting with her kids in any meaningful way. She felt it and was sure they did too.
She wanted to understand why she couldn’t keep up and do more; but what she really needed was a few coaching calls to determine what needed to get dumped from her schedule to free her up! Time for swift action.
She spoke to her boss and they agreed she would arrive at work earlier than most and leave at 3:30 to pick up her kids, saving time and money in after-school care. If anything urgent came up she could attend to it from her home while her kids did their homework.
She spoke to her kids about chores and they decided that each day one of them would choose the dance music to get them through “Boring Choring” as they called it, which then became dancing time. They decreased their sports schedule to one sport per “season” giving them more time at home together.
Most importantly, she thrived at work, her kids were happy and their grades went up, and she felt a rush of confidence for having stood her ground on what was best for her.
The only downside for her, truthfully, was that colleagues questioned her leaving the office “early” but she gave up on continually explaining herself. Her joy was high, her martyrdom level was low. Joy = Energy.
There are two more lessons here:
- If something is important to you, take time to act like it’s important. Key word being “ACT.”
- When you place judgment, recognize you have no idea what someone else is juggling.
Back to the question: How is the introduction of a new activity supporting your sense of self?
Answer: When you understand where you are spending your time and know that time supports your sense of self.
Simple, not easy. But after that, everything falls in line.