Everything seems to be ‘High Priority’. The to-do list keeps getting longer and longer. Nothing falls off. All of it needs to be completed yesterday.
The general world I see, through my experiences and the experiences of my cleints, is that there is almost zero down time in our schedules. Whether it is work, school or relationships – there is minimal time allowed for personal attention.
I don’t claim to be an expert on managing all of this. I over book myself and fall short of my desired results regularly – but there are some key differences to how I prioritize my time and personal health vs. how most of the people I interact with do. No matter how packed my schedule is or how many ‘PAST DUE’ items are on my to-do list I keep these priorities in tact:
1. Eat Well
3. Find a rythmn and pace that allows me to be mindful and productive
4. Enjoy the down time – schedule ‘Breathers’
Let’s go into this a little more, starting with ‘Eat Well’. You have to eat. I don’t care how busy you are or how long your list of due items are, you have to eat. This is where you can make THE SINGLE LARGEST impact to your overall health and quality of life. Choose better food. Strive to make each meal healthier. It takes the same amount of time to scramble up some eggs, add an avocado and top it with a little salsa as it does to throw a couple of pop tarts into the toaster. Choose better food.
Exercise – This is CRITICAL if you have a job that requires you to sit for most of your day. Sitting is becoming more and more of a health crisis in the modern world than ever before. The inactivity, poor mobility, improper posture and positioning is causing problems from EVERY health angle you can imagine. Poor metabolism, poor circulation, poor muscle development, increased neck and back pains, improper shoulder and hip alignments… the list goes on. If you have a job that requires you to sit, EXERCISE needs to be at the top of your priority list. You must ‘undo’ the damage you are doing DAILY.
Rythmn – I learned about this through some of the Life Coaching certification work I gained. Rythmn is about finding a pace that you can sustain for the long haul. It requires having routines put into place. Knowing how much time you need to accomplish certain projects or tasks. Allowing yourself time to move from one to the other. Learning how to keep a cadence that does not cause significant stress, but is appropriately productive. For example – wake up, have a good morning routine that allows you time to get ready for the day and eat a good breakfast. Allow time to get out to the car and head to work without having to ‘battle’ traffic or drive like a maniac. Get to work and set up for the day. Enjoy your morning beverage and be mindful of what you are doing. Move from one task to another without rushing. Have a nice lunch without ‘multi-tasking’. Talk to people, look them in the eye. Breathe. Move through the day like this. Finish in the evening with a nice dinner. Have an enjoyable cup of tea as you wind down for the evening. Go to bed feeling relaxed and confident that you will repeat this the next day.
Enjoy the down time – I schedule more ‘flex’ time into my schedule than I actually need. I do this so I have more breathing room around my projects. Sometimes a project will get cancelled or will take significantly less time than I thought. These moments I cherish. They may get filled with a long over due item, but the completion of that project brings great joy. I also make sure I actually schedule the down time/breathers. Lately I have had to schedule ‘Walk the Dogs’ in order to make sure it didn’t feel like Something Else I Have to Do. I love walking the dogs. It helps me get some fresh air, spend quality time with the ‘pack’ and get some exercise. I’ll add my 25# weight vest to combine some additional challenge if it is a particularly busy day, but otherwise it is a great opportuntiy to ‘undo’ the sitting damage I did during the rest of my day. This is also the time to just decompress.
If you properly implement these concepts – you will see some significant changes in your life. The one I monitor regularly is my overall health. How often am I getting sick? It has been well over a year since I had any kind of illness or need to cash in a Sick Day. There will be days that I dont feel 100% – sure. These days I slow my Rythmn down and improve my Eat Well focuses. I skip the workouts and make sure the casual dog walk happens. The ‘To-Do’ list is even lower priority. By doing this, I generally only need the one day to bounce back – the next day, I am right back into my normal Rythmn. If you ignore these signs and push through with 100% effort, you will burnout. When this happens, every wheel on the cart falls off. It can take days if not weeks to recover. Think about the loss of productivity in this situation.
Personally, I don’t have time to get sick. There are too many things I WANT to do. It’s not so much a matter of having things I ‘Have to do’ – I choose to do them. I have reasons why I want to do them. They are all optional. I know this. My scuedule is booked because I enjoy everything on it. But if I want to keep doing all of it, I need to make sure my priorities are right.
Keep to my Rythmn
Enjoy the Down Time