“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Thoreau
Exchanging life for a thing.
I want to spend my time wisely. I don’t want to waste it. I want to spend my time on things that return life to me.
A measure of joy, happiness, fulfillment, peace, tenderness, and love. Memories and moments.
My oldest son got his driver’s license this past week. It was an amazing and exciting day…a rite of passage and we are so proud of this small but big thing in his life. I cried a few tears getting ready to go to the DMV. Just yesterday he wouldn’t let go of my hand while standing on a tiny little hill as we played “king of the mountain.” He was a baby and I was his world. Today he is full of his own life and as each new day dawns, we prepare and love him towards it. We rejoice in the present days but the memories are so tender they tend to slip down my cheeks every now and then…
Time marches on and I want to make as much of it as possible.
There never seems to be enough time for the things we want and love when there are things we need and must do instead. Focusing my energy and learning to use my time wisely helps me to be present in the moment and grateful for this snippet of time I am in.
1. Set a timer
I set a time limit for certain chores. Writing this blog post for example….If I don’t complete it within the next 20 minutes, I’ll put it aside and work on it another day. If I peck away at the keys for too long, I tend to start to wander and get lost looking for links and interesting articles and then before you know it I’m on pinterest researching how to re-do my attic and it’s 6:00pm.
2. Learn to say no.
This was by far the hardest time management skill I had to learn. I said yes to so many things over the years that I secretly dreaded. I don’t like to disappoint others and this led to the anxiety-inducing thoughts of “I have to say yes to everything so I can avoid conflict.” This is no way to live. It feels like a perpetual prison of people-pleasing. As a free-lancer, many project opportunities are presented as “hey this is great exposure, can you do this for me for free?” The reality was that these “free” projects took just as much time (if not more) as paid projects and they devalued the most precious commodity we have: time.
There is always a time for charitable actions. There are organizations and causes we love where we can happily spend our time and talent. Altruism is so incredibly life-giving. The difference is when a freelancer is approached and expected to donate time, our gift and choice to offer help is taken from us and becomes a burden instead.
3. Stop multi-tasking.
This has been key for me to discipline myself to finish tasks. Everyone has so much life thrown at them everyday. It’s a lot to juggle, isn’t it? Much has been written about the power of multi-tasking and how it can help gear us towards a more productive life. My question is what kind of life is it that makes us do 10 things at once? A super stressed out life, that’s what!
In my day-to-day, I have to be very careful to focus on one thing and be aware of what I am doing. If I don’t, I am off chasing a white rabbit before you can say Wonderland.
I’ve mentioned before my love for legal pads and pencils and writing down my to-do’s and checking off my finished tasks. What I really want to be doing is painting, creating, and spending time with my family but bills and deadlines and the business side of art must happen too. When I stop multi-tasking, my time is better managed, I can check off those boxes, and focus my attention on my family and my art.
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Do you have any time-management tips you’d love to share? Please feel free to email me or comment below!
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