Last month was my first time missing my own deadline to post a monthly blog since starting my coaching business! When I started my company Cinco Consulting Solutions, I not only wrote weekly blogs, I also sent regular monthly emails to my list. I was on fire. Then the steam receded and the business started moving on inertia, which was great because it meant clients were coming back for more, and I had more referrals than I could handle – and, in theory, no need to keep feeding so much content, for free. But, sadly, the slowing down of my commitment to write and give, eventually ended up back firing. Although, I remain busy, my creative energy is lacking. Well, until now.
When I missed my blog this last month, I saw myself making the same kind of excuses my own clients make: I just don’t have time!
No time? I know well that time is not something we possess – time is the same finite resource we all get, whether we are rich, poor, busy or not, we all get 24 hours a day (if we are lucky enough to be here breathing, alive). So lacking time is in and of itself a false statement. Maybe what I was experiencing was something else. So, here I am writing a blog, still as busy as last month, but somehow able to do this. How? How do I all of sudden created time? What changed?
Simple, I cleaned up my closet.
In essence, creating time is like trying to create space in our tight closets. The fact is, some things will have to go, in order for the more important things to stay. Like cleaning the closet, my search for time meant I had to clean out the non-essential things that took up this important finite resource.
The first step was figuring out where was ‘my’ time going. I remember that many years ago a nutritionist asked me to log my food intake. Before I started, I had ‘certainty’ that I was well below the calorie amount she was asking me to eat everyday. Then, I started adding the calories on paper: the spoon or two of olive oil that I used on my salad dressings, the slice of cheese I snacked between meals, the orange juice and void la! My calorie intake was, in fact, higher than I had assumed. Writing down calories gave me an insight that was invaluable in my search to eat healthier and lighter. With time, is no different. How much time do we spend checking emails? How much time do we spend on social-media (and ouch, this one was a shockingly high number for me!)? etc, etc, etc. Log your time, and see where you are truly spending this resource.
Many activities that are new in my schedule, like nursing are non negotiable to me. This is time I consider well-spent. I did notice however, that while nursing I was using that time on social-media, specifically Facebook. And, that time was not worth spending. So I made a simple switch, to use that time to either stay present with my daughter, and experience that moment fully, OR read a book that helped spring my creative juices and motivation back. I deleted Facebook from my phone, and all other social media, and instead have made a healthy transition to something more nourishing to my soul.
I also noticed how often I checked my emails. I checked it so frequently, I was shocked when I looked at my time-log. Was checking emails that frequently so necessary? Of course, not. And, on and on I started replacing these with better things, and my creative energy is back on, 100%.
Finally, I also added back on physical activities that I had let go because I was ‘too busy’ to do them. I added them back at a reduced scale – instead of jogging for 1 hour, I can go run the Santa Monica stairs, for 30 minutes; instead of going to the gym and lifting and biking, like I used to, I bike to Pilates and get that all done in less time.
I am sharing this for two reasons:
- I am obviously not perfect at everything I teach: I have my clients log their time because I experienced the power of doing so in my life. But doing it once is never enough. We have to keep coming back to the basics over and over, whenever life presents us with new, and challenging experiences that require our focus, and true intention.
- I hear complaints about life-balance way too often. Yes, I still believe that your life, cannot be separate from work. Both are one and the same. But, how you choose to manage your activities in both will create a feeling of balance, or lack of. Try logging your time, starting the day with things that truly fill your heart with joy, and cutting down on unnecessary ‘extras’ that may just be there out of habit, rather than real need.
- Using your precious finite resource, of time, doing what you love, is the best ingredient to increase your creativity, motivation, and joy.
To a balanced and creative life!
xo – Karen