Choosing how you spend your time

I used to think that I always had too much to do.  I would look at my To-Do List and all I could think was that there was no way there were enough hours in the day to get all of that done.  That kind of thinking then led to feeling constantly overwhelmed and, if you’ve never paid attention to what you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed, allow me to tell you that more often than not, it’s a whole lot of nothing except maybe watching Netflix.  So there I was with a mile long to-do list and absolutely no motivation to actually accomplish anything on it.

Today, I actually have even more things on my list than I used to and I’m powering through them with very little drama.  How did I get here?  Well, the first thing I did was take my original list and really look at the things that were on it.  You see our time is finite.  No one gets 25 hours in a day.  That means that each hour has value.  As I looked at my list, I realized that there were a lot of things on there that I really didn’t want to do.  I had all kinds of stories about why I “should” do them and why they needed to be done.  I just wasn’t really passionate about them.  Do you know what I did?  I gave myself permission to take them off my list!

There is nothing in this life that you NEED to do.  Let that sink in for a moment.  If you’re like me, your initial response to that statement is to come up with a list of tasks that are essential for you, but the truth is that you don’t have to do any of those things.  Of course, the consequence of that decision may not lead to the life you want.  The crux of that statement, though, is that this is all about the life you want.  Do you want to live in a clean house?  If so, then you probably want to set aside time to clean or maybe like me you’d rather work an extra shift so you can pay someone else to clean for you.  When you realize that the things on your to-do list are all optional, you can start to be much more intentional about how you spend your time.  Do you want to have a lot of quality time with your family?  Is that on your to-do list?

Now some of you are wondering what I did with all of the things I took off my to-do list.  Interestingly, I just let them go.  I realized that they were never going to be things that I wanted to spend my valuable hours doing.  I wiped my slate clean and I asked myself what I really wanted my life to look like. Then I built my schedule and obligations around that vision.  Don’t worry, I still work a little over full-time doing night shifts in the emergency department.  It turns out I really love the life that affords me and now I show up for work with so much more appreciation for it because I know it’s something I consciously chose to spend my time doing.  I’d love to help you do the same.