by Catherine Pratt
Your life's priorities are whatever you spend time doing.
Think about what things you do in an average day. What are you doing with your time? Whether you realize it or not, those activities are your priorities.
Most of us never even think about what we spend our time doing.
We get up, we go to work, we come home at the end of the day. We’re
just going through the motions never really thinking about what we do or
how we do it or even why we do it.
So, if you come home at night and flop down on the couch and watch tv until you go to bed, those 5 hours or so you just spent watching tv are one of your life priorities.
If you spent 8 hours working at a job you hate, that job is still your priority. If this is fine with you then you’re doing okay. But if you spend time wishing you had a more fulfilling job or even something as simple as more time to read or learn to paint, then it’s time to think about your life priorities.
Think about why you’re doing something
Think about all the things you spend your time doing on an average day or even on the weekend. Why do you do those things? Are they really life priorities or do you just do them because that’s what you’ve always done? Also, do you always do something that’s taking a lot of your time without even realizing it? For example, do you come home and instantly flip on the tv? It takes time and concentration for that tv to be on even if you just have it on as background noise. Think about why you do that thing. Is it because you’re tired or just because you’ve gotten yourself in a rut without even realizing it? Is there something you could be doing that would make you happier?
Think about how you’re doing something
Is there a better way of doing the things you’ve decided are life priorities? For example, do you find that your entire weekend is spent running errands, cleaning and cooking? Buying groceries has to be done so that you don’t go hungry but are there better ways of accomplishing that chore. For example:
Could you get the groceries during the week on the way home from work? Could you go after dinner one night when the stores are probably less crowded and it would be faster to get done anyway? Is there a grocery store near where you work? Could you get groceries on your lunch hour? Could your spouse pick up some items when he's out running errands so that there’s less for you to buy? Or, even better, could you take turns buying the weekly groceries? By thinking of more efficient ways to do things, you’ve just suddenly freed up your valuable time. By getting groceries during the week you’ve just given yourself more time on the weekend to do something you want to do and all you’ve done is change how you accomplished one of your other life priorities.
Are there things you want to do?
Would you like to have more time just for you or spend with your kids? To just read a book or go for a walk or anything. It's important to take the time and consider what things you want to do or see or accomplish in your life.
It's easy to get caught up in the rush just to accomplish all your daily life activities and to not really consider what you want to do or have in your life. Once you know what you want then you can take the steps to achieve it.
One of the things I chose to be one of my life priorities was this web site. I wanted to write and publish my writing on my own web site. Never seemed to have the time or the energy when I came home from work. Weekends seemed to always be spent cleaning, cooking, laundry and various other life errands. I decided that if this web site was going to be one of my life priorities then I needed to think about what I was doing with my time and how I could change it. It seemed a waste to me to be spending so much time just cooking and cleaning. It was also not a rewarding way to spend my weekend. I would rather spend time re-charging from the weekend than getting myself more tired running errands. So, I decided I wanted more time on the weekend to do things for me. I had to look at what I was spending my time on.
Laundry could easily be changed to a different day. I now put it on before I go to work and put it in the dryer when I get home from work. Instantly a couple of hours are now freed up on the weekend.
I used to cook my lunches on the weekend, freeze them, and eat them during the week. It took a lot of time. Now, I put a crock pot on during a weekday, we eat that for dinner, as well as I take the leftovers for lunch or freeze it. Now, I’ve not only saved time on the weekend by not having to make as many lunches, I’ve freed up my evenings more because dinner is already made when I get home from work.
It’s all a matter of paying attention to our daily routine and figuring out whether it’s the best use of our time or not.
Are there any things you’ve tried that seem to work for you? Let me know using the Contact Us form and I’ll publish your ideas here.
Action expresses priorities - Mahatma Gandhi