As I finished my April project, I had no idea what I was going to do for May. I feel like each year, there’s a culmination of events that somehow make it so I fall off my schedule. And then once I get off the schedule, I just can’t ever get back on. Days accumulate and I fall more and more behind and then I just feel like there’s no more point. Eventually the drive comes back but I can never catch back up on my projects. This point usually comes around June when the kids are out on summer break, I go home, and then come back to a lot of jetlag and just don’t feel like being on schedule anymore.
This year, the breaking point came much much earlier. (I hope this is not an indication of the new normal). On mid-March, we got David’s middle school results (which were wonderful) and then I just never blogged again. There was a flurry of activity right after and then I went to Zurich for work and I came back and I’ve been really sick for the last few weeks. I am still not back to 100% and there are around 3,478 things I am now behind on, not to mention an event at the kids’ school just about every other day now that school is almost over.
Sooo…. None of this is actually about my prompt. Let me get to that. When I was in Zurich, Ali’s April prompt for One Little Word, came out. For April, she had something around putting reminders to connect with your word and to answer a question around “what does it mean to …” so I decided that it would be my prompt for May. I made up 20 cards, all of which said “choose” on them and then filled out a card throughout the month. I will do my best to share them with some words and maybe that can help me get back into blogging this month, too.
There are not in order. But here’s the first one:
The card says: you get to choose how to use your time. Choosing to do one thing also means choosing not to something else. Be conscious of what you are not choosing by making the choice to spend your time this way.
This is something I remind myself again and again. It’s something that I think we all sort of know to be true but it’s one of those things like eating well, exercising, or flossing that we know but don’t do as often as we should.
In the last few months, I haven’t been so good at thinking about where my time is going and how well I am spending it. Especially in the last few weeks as I’ve been sick and spending a lot of time on the couch. It’s one thing to rest and sleep when I am sick but it’s another to watch TV and just make the time pass. I understand that sometimes it’s an necessary evil and my body was telling me I need to rest. But one of the things I know is that when I use my time unwisely, I often regret so very much when I look back. This is one of the main reasons I try so hard to organize my day and why I work so well when I’ve scheduled my tasks for the week.
I also know that the minutes I spend not being with my kids, not being with my family, not being with my husband, are all minutes that will not come back. Minutes I spend not taking care of my body will also not come back. Each of these decisions are small and inconsequential on their own, but they add up. Just like eating one piece of chocolate is not a big deal but eating 1,000 little pieces of chocolate adds up.
[As a side note, I was listening to Gretchen Rubin's Habits book this weekend. I've only managed to get through the intro but one of the things she said struck me. She said that something becomes a habit when we do it without thinking. Like brushing my teeth or putting my seatbelt on when I get in the car. I don't think about these acts at all. And if I am going to do things without thinking, I'd like them to be healthier choices. I'd like to know that the time I spend unconsciously is spent on things that are good for me. ]
When I think of what choosing means, this is one of the top ones that comes up for me. Years ago, I taught a class on spending your time called Reclaiming My Time and it was all about paying attention to where your time is going. Figuring out where you want it to go, tracking where it does go, and reconciling the two. It is one of the most powerful exercises one can do. Especially if you’re one of those people who always claims to have no free time. We all have so much more free time than we think we do.
Choosing means remembering to be specific and purposeful with my time. It’s time for me to reclaim my time and to be specific about what I want to do and, just as importantly, what I don’t want to do. It’s time to pick up the pieces I’ve been dropping on the floor for a few months.
Choosing Means is a Monthly Project for May 2016. You can read more about my projects for 2016 here.