Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to do the things you want to do?
Like you don’t have enough time to make something important happen?
These are some very common beliefs we can hold. Often, they seem more like observations than thoughts we are choosing to believe.
But, at the end of the day, they are thoughts we are choosing to believe.
They are our perception of reality in that moment.
And they are excuses. Ideas that tend to have very little substance behind them when we actually take a look at them.
Still, these thoughts can leave us feeling like we need a make-over when it comes to how we prioritize our time…and perhaps confused about what that even means or where to even start.
In this post, I’d like to walk you through some exercises I do with my clients to help them increase clarity and follow-through when it comes to their priorities.
The first thing you want to do is keep a time journal.
Write down everything that you actually do with your day. The more detailed, the better.
This is a really powerful exercise, because most of us have an idea – a story we tell ourselves – about what we do with our time every day – and then there is the REALITY of what we actually do with our time every day – and those are usually two very different things.
Do this exercise of keeping a time journal for at least one day – the more detailed, the better. If you’d like to get a really good snapshot of your life, you can do this exercise for a full week.
Once you have that time journal, the next exercise is to write down what your priorities are.
The most common question that comes up here is, “Do I write down my priorities the way they are now? Or do I write down my priorities the way I wish they were?”
This is a really important distinction!
And, you’re going to do both.
First, write down what your priorities are right now, based on how you spend your time. And then, write down how you would like your priorities to be when it comes to how you spend your time.
Once you have completed both of these exercises, you will have three lists…
1) The reality of what your day is,
2) What you think your priorities are, and
3) What you want your priorities to be.
Know that all three of these lists won’t match up.
Now what you want to do is look at WHY.
This is the most important question you can ask yourself!!
Why is your day looking the way it is?
Why is your week looking the way it is?
Why are you making the choices that you’re making?
Why are your current priorities lined up the way they are?
Why is that different that what you want your priorities to be?
What we typically notice happening is that we aren’t spending time with the priorities we want the most.
Maybe we want our health and taking care of ourselves to be our number one priority. But then, when we look at how we’re spending our day – and there is nothing there. And yet we want that to be our #1 priority! That’s powerful to see.
Maybe we want our family or spirituality/relationship with God to be our second priority. And yet, when we look at how we spend our time – it’s either happening by default or perhaps even non-existent.
And this goes on and on when it comes to whatever we want our priorities to be vs. what is actually going on in our lives.
And this is so powerful, because what it means when this is happening is that we are letting life happen to us instead of creating our lives on purpose based on the map of our priorities.
Now, once we see all of this, it can be very tempting to all of a sudden want to reorganize our lives and say, “Okay! I need to start living according to my priorities now!!”
Don’t be in a hurry to do that.
There’s no rush.
Seek first to understand why it is the way it is now.
What are the thoughts – the belief system – underneath it all that is causing you to live your life your life in this way?
When we have this understanding, then we can look at why we want our priorities to be different than they are.
Once we understand the underlying causes for both of these, the we can start making those shifts. And, we can shift from that place of being really consciously aware of the thinking behind it – rather than trying to take a bunch of action steps to get there.
In the beginning, we just want to change the thought processes driving the feelings and the actions, and then from there we can take action from that space.
What thoughts and beliefs are driving the way you currently spend your time?