This post is the second of 3 emails we were asked to write for the Wellness Warriors Lifestyle Boot Camp offered by Dr. Jamie Thomure of DuPage Family Wellness. Dr. Jamie first launched a Nutrition Boot Camp in 2017 which Joelle and I have both participated in and seen the benefits! The Wellness Warriors Lifestyle Boot Camp was recently launched to go beyond nutrition into everyday healthy lifestyle choices. We highly recommend checking out these Boot Camp’s along with the many other services being offered at DuPage Family Wellness!
Wellness Warriors Part 2: Time Management
I heard an alarming statistic recently. I’m not going to tell you what it is just yet. You’ll have to read to the end. But it has to do with time! The thing about time is, we all have it, and therefore are responsible to manage it. Every waking moment, or non-waking, can be used productively, efficiently, and moving you toward your goals. Or, it can do the exact opposite. Each day, each moment, you choose. So, how do you choose wisely?
Let’s start by looking at your current time distribution. If you look at your daily time as a pie, which slices are the biggest? Maybe these are categories like family, friends, job, education, and health. Now, what are your smaller slices? Some of these slices might be reading, video games, gardening, travel, social media, grocery shopping, and so on. Take a minute and try and put a percentage to the broad categories your time typically goes toward.
What you’ll discover is that your time distribution reflects what you currently value. If you are in this course (Wellness Warriors Lifestyle Boot Camp), I am assuming that nutrition, or food prep, is probably one of your slices of the pie. If you are allowing only say, 30 minutes or less for food prep every day, this may reveal proper nutrition for your body or your family is less of a value than you think. On the other hand, if an activity ends up being a larger slice than you would like – maybe being on Snapchat and Twitter, for instance – then your values, and therefore your time, are in conflict.
This happens when your current values don’t match up with your actual values. Your current values are what is currently true of your life and time; your pie today. Your actual values reflect what you wish were true of your life and time; your ideal pie.
To discover your real values, it is best to get some hard thoughts in writing that you can use as a road map. Our family did this by first writing down a list of the ideas, goals, or concepts that we most want to hold to as true in our lives. Then, we broke this list down into a few short sentences that summarized the key values and themes. The sentences might start with wording like, “I am…” or, “We must…” or, “I exist to…”. They may also take the form of things you are not, or do not do. What you end up with is a Mission Statement, or simply a statement of your values. The core essentials of who you are and why you exist. A slightly more morbid form of this I recently heard is to sit down and right out what you would want your obituary to say. This is both helpful to think about what you want to be true of your life, but also to examine if how you are currently using your time will amount to where you want to be at the end of your life.
Here are a few thoughts on how knowing your values helps you be a better manager of time:
- Start with the END: Evaluating your overall goals and mission allows you to think about the big picture. You begin by thinking of where you want to be, examine your current habits, activities, and pursuits, and adjust your categories of time to give you the best shot of getting there.
- Gain a FILTER: Whether you’re just getting on the road, or continuing down the path, it is inevitable that roadblocks and distractions will come up. Use your values – your Mission Statement – as a filter, both in the occasional big and everyday small decisions of your life. We are very susceptible to be derailed by the low hanging fruit in front of us. Knowing your values and revisiting them often will keep your whole self focused on what you are setting out to accomplish.
- You CHOOSE: In the end, you choose what you value. No one else sets your trajectory. The sky’s the limit and you have complete freedom to do amazing things with your time!
On that note, let’s go back to that statistic. I heard recently that the average American will spend 9 years of their life watching TV. That’s nearly a decade! I’m not about to say we should all never watch TV again, but when is the last time watching TV left you feeling refreshed and like you were going somewhere with your life? To me this represents that people are focused on the here and now instead of considering the end. TV over-consumption is just one of many examples that shows we are constantly being lured away from any semblance we have of goals and values because we have no filter to decide the best use of our time.
Don’t settle for your biggest slices of your pie going toward what you don’t value. You aren’t bound by your current reality. If anything, let it be motivation toward propelling you where you want to be. Time is a limited gift and resource. Take your decade back and make the most of it!