“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time,
for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
Years ago, I completed a time inventory assessment.
Essentially, it was an in-depth analysis of how I was spending my time.
When I faced the truth of how I was spending my days, I was horrified.
“C’mon Tonya, you’re better than that!”
Considering that I was feeling less than stellar about my life, I shouldn’t have been surprised that how I was spending my time and energy was a direct reflection of the quality of my life. And, let me assure you, my life…. it was not first-class.
I became a snob. A complete and utter TIME snob.
Using my time wisely is one of the highest forms of self-love I can offer myself.
Now, I have very strict guidelines around where and on what I will (and will not) spend time. This runs the gamut from the thoughts I think to the people I hang out with.
Time is our most precious commodity. It is the space in which we create our lives. If I don’t have the time and space to take care of myself and create things that are meaningful to me, what is the use?
If you tell me that you want more joy in your life, but you spend your days obsessing over everything you don’t want, it’s obvious why you’re not feeling joyful.
If you confide that you want to publish a book, but when we look at your day and there’s no writing being done, well, what does that say?
We need time (and energy!) to create a beautiful life.
I have a solid understanding that if I want to create a beautiful life, I need to invest my time in what I value, both energetically and physically.
For example, I spent years and years struggling with my body. I wanted a peaceful relationship with food, so I spent hours each day reading diet books. Trust me, that does not create peace around food or your body.
I have a client who desires to spend more quality time with her children, yet she rushes around in the evenings cleaning the house. How can one deny this clear discrepancy when we look at her desire and the reality of her days side by side?
Can we “create more time”?
Of course not. We all have the same 24 hours a day.
But I have a clever and simple workaround.
The key is in how we choose to use these hours. You see, by avoiding doing things that waste my time, I “re-gain” more time in my life to create, love, enjoy and live a beautiful life.
Want a little help?
Here are 20 things that I have identified in my life that no longer deserve my precious energy:
I deeply hope that my list will inspire you to create your own.
Here it goes……
1. Using my best persuasion tactics in an attempt to change your mind
Tony Robbins asks, “Would you rather be right or happy?” I choose happiness and let people think what they choose. It’s not my job to change someone else’s mind. It’s my job to change my own.
2. Explaining to you the details of “my why” (especially when you didn’t ask)
I no longer explain my life away. Instead of saying, “I need to cancel my appointment because, [insert long explanation here] I’ve learned to simply say, “I need to cancel my appointment.” I don’t have to explain my every move to the world. As long as I know why, no one else needs to.
3. My obsession with getting it “just right”
My motto is “done is better than perfect.” As a recovering perfectionist, I have wasted way too much time trying to dot every “i” and cross every “t” to the point of paralysis. I do my best and move on.
4. Questioning my own ability to do something, say something, be something
Sure, I have moments of self-doubt, but I refuse to indulge in it. I can either waste time spinning in doubt or I can choose to spend that time believing in myself. It truly is a choice.
5. Waiting in long lines so I can be first , so I can gloat in my glory and brag about the cool factor
I don’t care if it is the release date of the latest iPhone, the sale of the century or the hottest ticket on Broadway, nothing is so valuable that I will stand in line for hours when I could be spending time with family and friends, taking action on a dream or relaxing in a bubble bath. Eventually, the lines get shorter, and perhaps that’s when I’ll get in queue.
6. Spending countless hours on Social Media & the Internet so I don’t miss a beat.
I love connecting and being social…in person! While I do enjoy connecting with people online, I refuse to gaze at a computer screen all day peeking into people’s virtual lives or watching cute cat videos. My approach is “in and out,” and I achieve this by scheduling my social media time. If there are blogs, news-sites, websites or authors that I enjoy, I sign up for their newsletter or buy a paper book or read a physical newspaper.
7. Following thru on the obligatory “yes! let’s get together for a coffee!” coffee dates
This one is a hard one for me, because l love connecting with people. But if I said yes to every coffee date invitation, I’d have no time to create things I love. While I love invitations, I simply cannot say yes to everyone. So, I save coffee dates for my closest friends and my daughter.
8. Keeping up with the latest and greatest beauty routines & regimens
While I love dressing up and applying my makeup, I have also discovered that I do not like wasting hours in the bathroom each morning. I have adopted a morning beauty routine that works for me, whether I am at home, going out on the town, or travelling. I’ve also come to believe that less is better, and messy chic is quite en vogue.
9. Fully committing to the impossible job of making sure you like me
It’s not your job to like me. That’s my job. I need to like ME! I’ve come to accept that either you like me or not, and I am 100% okay with that. And what you think of me has nothing to do with me. Trying to convince you otherwise is time I could be spending with people who don’t need to be convinced.
10. Fanning, Caressing & Swaddling my stories from the past
It’s the past. It’s done. And, it’s been perfect. That’s what I choose to believe so I can enjoy today and saunter towards a bright future.
11. Making copious mental lists of all the things I don’t have
In any given moment, I can obsess about what I don’t have or I can wake up to everything that I do. The latter is always the better option. Always.
12. Poking my nose into other people’s drama (even if my seeming intention is to be of service)
When I see crazy coming, I cross to the other side of the street. No time for crazy when you have dreams, goals and experiences you want to create unless crazy is a part of your long term plan.
13. Spending 8.3% of my daily 24 hours inside of a gym
As someone who used to believe that 2 hours in a gym was a badge of honor, I see it now for what it truly was: my obsession with having the perfect body and to get a gold star for “doing the healthy body thing”. A daily walk, a dance break, thirty minutes of lifting weights, a yoga class or anything that gets my body moving in loving ways is good enough for me.
14. Insisting that I must clean before I can get anything done.
While I love a clean, neat home, I know of people who clean to distract themselves from focusing on what they really want. My dream does not include becoming a professional cleaner (not that there is anything wrong with it!), so I choose not to waste my precious life dusting and sweeping.
15. Committing to get better at things that “I should and could get better at” (…but don’t really want to)
I no longer need to figure out everything on my own, or be the best at things cause I am “supposed” to. Technology is not my forte. I’d rather spend my time doing things that I love and am good at than to fiddle away minutes trying to understand how to get all of my technology to integrate and talk to each other. So I’ve found people and hired them to help me. To me, this isn’t lazy. It’s simply accepting the truth about me and my strengths, and knowing that other people have different strengths than me and it’s fine to look to others for support.
16. Preparing Nightly Dinners that look like they belong on the cover of “Bon Appetit“
Just say no to complicated meals. In addition to being a time snob, I am a food snob. I love good, fresh food. I also love to cook. But unless it’s a dinner party or a holiday, I like to keep my meals simple and easy. This way, I have time to curl up afterwards and watch a good film.
17. Placating the negative naysayers in my life
If you can’t believe in my personal dreams, you don’t deserve to be around when they come true. I simply have no time for dream squashers. (note: this is different than those who hold different opinions than me, as classy discussion stimulates my mind, and I love a good mind expanding conversation).
18. Holding Pity Parties for One (with a side of self-loathing)
If you can tell me one good thing that comes out of hating yourself, I will buy you a round trip ticket to Paris. You can’t. And, when I discovered that years ago, I stopped it!
19. Refreshing my email inbox just one more time. And one more time. And one more time
Checking your email 100 times a day is NOT making you more productive. It’s a needless distraction keeping you from focusing on the truly important things. Morning and evening is my routine.
20. Indulging in Trashy things
If I want a beautiful life, I cannot expect to create it by wasting my time on trashy things. How do you define trashy things? It’s an individual’s determination, but you’ll know it because it will make you feel, well, trashy!
And one final time waster: #21.
This one sneaks up on me when I least expect it:
21. Putting myself in the ring with Mike Tyson when I realize that I have wasted time
Last week, I took a spot check inventory and I found myself wasting time on at least 7 out of the 20 listed above. I caught myself (thank God!) and immediately stopped. This is about progress, not perfection m’friend! No self-punishment necessary.
How we choose to spend our time is such an individual thing.
Some of the things I choose not to spend time on may not be a waste to you.
Find what is out of line with what you’re desiring. It is not about where you spend it but how you spend it and why.
If you’re not living the life you deeply desire, you need to take an honest look as to why.
Assessing where you’re spending your time and energy is a great place to start.
It will quickly become crystal clear why you don’t have what you want.
My bet is that you’ve been spending your time in ways that don’t align with how you want to feel, what you crave to create, and what you desire to have.
Want a little help?
Click here to download my free playsheet to help you begin to use your time in a way that creates your most beautiful life.