Too often we take the easy way...
When we always put responding to other people's needs above meeting our own.
When we pay attention to what is flashy around us instead of what is deep and true and genuine inside of us.
When we give our time to whomever most demands it versus who truly cares about us.
The "easy way" keeps us comfortable in the moment.
But it frustrates us in the long term because in the end, we're not doing what's most important and meaningful to ourselves. Don't get me wrong--I do believe in authentic service and in caring for others--but when you always put yourself last, you can end up bitter and resentful and burnt out.
Here are some tips on how you can put yourself first in your life and work:
Create Rituals: For the important, but not urgent, activities, create regular rituals that direct you toward investing your time in your priorities. For instance, you could develop a set prayer or mindfulness routine that you do every morning as soon as you wake up. Or you could set aside Saturday mornings to go to the grocery store and stock up on healthy foods. Or you could have a shut-down routine that you do 30 minutes before you leave work to review the day and put everything in order.
Invest in Yourself First: There will always be more meetings to attend, more client work to complete, more questions to answer, etc. But there will not always be more time to do what's in your best interest whether it be making sales calls, working on a writing project, or getting to sleep on time. If you're used to responding to people's needs, you need to learn to be a bit more "selfish" about your time. That could look like blocking out the morning to only work on projects that matter most to you or setting a curfew for yourself so that you're home well before you need to go to bed.
Wait a Minute: Unless you work in an emergency medical environment, seconds, minutes and even hours often don't make a huge difference in the well being and safety of those around you. When someone asks you for something, wrap up what you're working on and then get back to them. Or send them a message acknowledging that you received their message and letting them know when you can attend to their request. This approach will leave you with fewer loose ends and a great increase in efficiency due to the fact that you're not having to come back to tasks and get back into the rhythm of working on them.
As you look forward to the spring season, think about how you can step out of the cycle of responsiveness and move into a place of investing in what matters most to you.
To your brilliance!
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."~Robert Frost
About Real Life E®
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E® a time coaching and training company that empowers individuals to achieve more success with less stress through an exclusive Schedule Makeover™ time coaching process. Real Life E® also increases employee productivity, satisfaction and work/life balance through training programs. Get her best time tips at: ScheduleMakeover.com.
McGraw Hill just published Elizabeth's first book: The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success With Less Stress
Elizabeth has appeared in Inc magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes and on NBC and is a monthly contributor to 99U.com blog on productivity for creative professionals. She was selected as one of the Top 25 Amazing Women of 2010 by Stiletto Woman and as a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Mashable, and many other media outlets.
Elizabeth's time coaching clients have the opportunity to go through her exclusive Schedule Makeover™ life transformation process through phone coaching and custom action guides or in-person training.