I find that many of the women I coach enlist my services because they aren’t living the life that they really want to live. When we begin to look into that together, we often find that their priorities do not match how they spend their actual time. If you are not spending your time and your days according to what’s most important to you, chances are you will end up feeling harried, unsatisfied, and disappointed with your life.
For example, if your number one priority is spending time with your family, but you spend 50+ hours per week at the office, your life does not reflect your priorities. Or, if you highly value spending time in nature, but instead focus a lot of energy and time on social obligations, then you are likely feeling drained and unsatisfied.
Life is busy, and it can be easy for us to lose control of how we spend our time. As women, we have many obligations. Yet, how we spend our time is the essence of our lives. It’s crucially important for us to tap into our inner wisdom to remember our priorities and our values so that we can design our lives around those priorities to feel satisfied and energized.
I recommend the following process to help you align your life with your priorities and your values:
1) Make a list of everything in your life that is important to you. This can include family, spiritual life, career, socializing, hobbies, time in nature, education, exercise, and rest. Get specific with this list. For example, instead of simply listing “friendships”, perhaps list particular individuals or groups of friends that are important to you.
2) Order you list in number of importance to you. This is now your priority list.
3) Now, take a look at the top three items on your list. Star them. Ask yourself: Are these really my top priorities in life, or are some of these items “shoulds” or “obligations”. If there are any shoulds or obligations, re-prioritize so that your top three really connect with you on a heart/soul level. Some questions to ask yourself here are:
- Am I excited about this item?
- How do I feel when I devote time to this item?
- Is there any way I’d rather be spending my time than on this item?
4) Is the majority of your actual time devoted to the top three things on your list? If yes, wonderful! For the rest of us – what are you spending your time doing? If it’s not a top priority item: why are you spending your time on it?
This 4-step process should give you a good idea of how you want to spend your time and how you are actually spending your time. It will also provide you with valuable information about what’s important to you and also why you spend time on things that are not priorities. The next step, which I’ll discuss in a future article, is to begin to make adjustments in your daily schedule to create space for your top priorities in life.