Have you ever done that, said yes when you meant no? Yes, of course you have. You’re human! I’ve had the experience many times, mostly because I’m a recovering people pleaser, but also because I don’t ask enough questions before I answer an enthusiastic “YES!” And that is something I want to redirect. I want to give myself the gift of my own time. Especially time to check in with myself to ask three very important questions:
- “Do I want to do this?”
This is a key question, because it’s important to do things we want to do, not just things we think we should do. And I believe not wanting to do something is a good enough reason for passing.
- “Is this in alignment with my vision?” Clarity around what I want takes – again – time, but it’s so important to getting where I want to go and not getting distracted away from my vision.
- “Is this my Higher Power’s will for me? Will it help the planet etc.?”
If it doesn’t seem like it’s in my Higher Power’s will for me -- i.e. I have to jump through too many hoops, bend myself into a pretzel or go against my values – then the answer should probably be no.
If you struggle with wasting time, or spending too much time on things you really don’t want to be doing, I wanted to share a few tips that I use to make my time really count.
- Your Day Starts The Night Before
Over the years, I have found that having a few things in place the night before can save me so much time. I have a wonderful tool called a Passion Planner that is fantastic for not only helping me keep a record of my time, but also for showing me how to plan (something I have never been really good at until now). The Passion Planner also helps me Mind Map projects, which is taking a blank piece of paper, writing your project in the center of the page, and drawing lines from the center with steps you need to take (i.e. time of completion, cost, people involved etc…) written on those lines. You can find out more at www.mindmapping.com. In fact, I recorded two CDs this past year because I Mind Mapped the projects. It's really pretty fun.
- Get Up Early
I know this one is obvious, but for artists -- for this artist, anyway -- getting up early was a challenge until I had a child. I’ve been up so early in the last 25 years I may have lost my status in the Sleep ’Til Noon Productions Company that I was President of till I was 30. More gets done when I get up early – plain and simple!
I know this one might annoy you, because it annoys me. You may say you absolutely don’t have the time the time to meditate, but I promise you, you will be amazed at the time you can create by slowing down and being present. There are so many methods of meditation, but a good way to start is to just focus on your breath, and come back to thinking “breathe in, breathe out” when you become distracted. You will find yourself being present to and for your life more and more. Also, you’re going to get lots of great ideas you won’t remember, (trust me on this one) so keep a pen and notebook and/or voice recorder handy when your meditation is over.
- Write It Down, Write It Down, And WRITE IT DOWN
OK, so this is one of the things I’m working on. I have discovered that if I am just willing to take the time to write down the ideas, wishes, dreams, goals and visions I have, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, I am amazed by how many things come to fruition. There is power in writing things down.
- Get More Rest
Before the invention of the electric light bulb, our ancestors slept 12 hours a night. After Thomas Edison’s gift, people slept six to eight hours. And today, with all the technology in our lives, people are getting only four to six hours of sleep a night. It is wreaking havoc on our lives and our psyches. And I believe one of the reasons we aren’t dreaming is because we have 24/7 television (“Tell-A-Vision”) available to us. As long as I’m watching TV, the image maker between my ears is out of a job. Oh, and as soon as you put your pen and notebook at your bedside you will start dreaming again. (See #4)
- Do Morning Pages
Fans of The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, know about doing morning pages, which means to write three pages of unedited, stream of consciousness writing every morning to get the “gunk” out. At a page and a half you’ll hit pay dirt and be amazed at what can come through.
So, there you have it my friends. As we prepare for spring, and the hard work that is most likely ahead of us just to be good citizens of the planet, take time for yourself. Say no when you need to so you have space for to say yes to something wonderful!