Things that rob us of time and energy…one of the most common topics that come up in coaching! I often assess my own use of time as my ‘endless energy’ now has a definitive end-which is about 9 pm every evening! I’ve also learned over the years that I can’t manage time-time is what it is. I can only manage myself within the time I have. External demands will always be there. If we are alive, we can count on this! What happens in our external environment we have very little control over.
What we do have control over is what we believe about those external demands. For instance, if I believe that I have to be available 24/7 to serve and keep my customers, well I won’t have much of a life! That belief is robbing me of time and energy. I can choose to let go of that belief and create a new one: I believe I can best serve my customer when I’m physically and emotionally healthy. This belief is aligned with something I value (health) and makes it easier for me to design my life to match this new belief.
I like to call our Values and Beliefs our OS-operating system. Values speak to what is core to us, what is really important. Beliefs come from the meaning we make of our experience, or we inherit them or are taught them through different groups we’re a part of. We can change our beliefs if they no longer serve what we want for ourselves. So if you feel robbed of your time and energy, start asking yourself, “what belief am I operating under and what value am I not honoring by giving my time and energy to this?”
Here are a few common ‘beliefs’ that rob us of our time and energy.
I believe I have to say yes, especially to my stakeholders, partner, kids, volunteer organization, whew! If we say yes to everything outside of us, we are saying no to us. We overextend. We act as if we’re kids that have been let loose in a candy store. Sure it is fun to grab hold of and eat all the candy you can, but we all know what we will be cleaning up if there is not stopping point! We just cannot be all, have all.
Antidote: Try on a new belief — I believe if I say no to ____________ then I will have more time and energy for what is really important to me. Learn the word NO, or a variation of it. Having the ability to say no to saying yes to everything is empowering. In order to say no, try prioritizing according to your values. Get in the habit of asking this question: If I say yes to this, what am I willing to say no to. This is a great way to keep you from overextending.
I believe I can do 10 things at once and that will make me more effective with my time. Much research has shown that multitasking actually robs us of time and energy. To be honest, I still buy into the belief that when I have more on my plate I get more done because I can multitask. Sure I can do a lot at the same time but it really does cause an internal stress that translates into lack of energy. I am in the process of changing this old belief system.
Antidote: Practice presence and mindful-tasking. Being mindful of the present task I am working on is a challenge for me because I really do want to do 3 things at once. However I am already experiencing a shift in bringing tasks to completion. Turn off your notifications, your email, step away from the phone! Present Mindful-tasking. Try it for a while. You won’t be disappointed.
I believe it is a selfish waste of time to spend time on myself when so many others need me.
Who hasn’t fallen into this trap at one point or another in their lives? Self care, self nurturing, self love, translated into selfishness. Perhaps you were taught to serve, serve, serve and in that serving there wasn’t time to honor and care for your life. Or maybe we were taught through our own life experiences that we were not worth caring for. This is one area where I have seen deep pain in the human experience. It is our inability to be okay with self-care and self-giving that we set ourselves up for lack of energy and time. We age more quickly and we limit what our bodies can do for us. Our bodies, our minds, our spirits need to be fueled, need to be taken care of the same way we take care of others, our homes, our cars, our jobs, etc. So how do we turn this belief system around when it may be deeply ingrained?
Antidote: First, create a new belief: I believe when I take care of myself, I have more life to give, and that the giving is selfless because my needs are met. This was the belief I tried on and then I began the work of designing my schedule first around my self care knowing that then my serving would be more selfless. What I’m discovering is I have just as much time as before but much more energy! It has taken some getting use to in prioritizing my self-care…..a work in progress, however I will say that changing my belief about self-care has had the greatest impact on my life.
Remember, your operating system is your values and beliefs. Becoming aware of your beliefs and if your beliefs are supporting you and what you value will help you to make empowered choices of how to use your time and energy.