6 New Ways to Respect Your Own Time (and Honor Your Life)
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
-Mary Oliver, The Summer Day
Those last two lines of Mary Oliver’s poem are classic. But how often have you seen the first two lines?
When I read the widely quoted lines alone — they speak to me about dreams, authenticity, action and cherishing our uniqueness.
But when all four lines are coupled together, I clearly hear —
“There’s only so much time!”
Limited time. Precious time. Time that is up to me to us to use wisely, to use wildly.
Working with my Elevate Mastermind women over the course of a year has given me intimate knowledge that what we do on a day-by-day basis makes up our weeks, and our weeks make up our months, and our months make up the years of our lives.
There’s no getting around it.
Our day-to-day is our life.
I’m not being blunt to scare you or spread shame, but to shake you up a bit. When you think back to what you did today or yesterday or this weekend, are those days representative of the desires you hold for your life? Are they snapshots of the kind of woman you want to be? Are they examples of the kind of life you want to live?
Honey, what I want you to hear is this —
Honor your time as if your life depended on it.
‘Cause it does.
And here’s a few ways to do just that…
6 Ways to Honor your Time
1. Accept the Season of Life You’re In.
If you’ve seen me lately, you’ve probably heard me utter “season of life” with air quotes when answering the question, “How are you, Molly?”
I’m not going out for wild nights very often, because I’m up with Max at 6:30 am and I’m 7 months pregnant with crazy sciatica pain. There are tiny balls, marker scribbles, stuffed animals and board books all over my house. I’m not launching new programs because my work time is committed to fulfilling the wonderfulness I’ve already created/sold. I’m not putting a lot of effort into marketing, because I’m learning to balance my desire to grow my business with my desire to be a present mama, wife, friend, and woman.
Right now I’m a work-at-home mama in the midst of buying a fixer upper beach home with an active almost 2 year old, another on the way, and a thriving business. This exhausting time of diapers and Itsy Bitsy Spider and answering emails 2 weeks late and signing escrow papers and writing blog posts in 20 minutes chunks between coaching calls is my season of life.
I chose it.
And I want to be here!
Your season of life may be single girl out on the town who can only afford party dresses at H&M and uses your ridiculous Match responses as fodder for your blog. Awesome. Don’t waste your time coveting snugly nights in with a husband and adorable toddlers. Or pine for Helmut Lang dresses, table service and minimums of Veuve to be ordered.
Accepting the season of life you’re in doesn’t mean you won’t ever move to the next one…
It just means it’s not your current reality, so stop wishing things were different.
Live it up where you are.
2. Stop Doing Stuff You Don’t Care About Just Because You Think You Should.
I’m pretty sure my friend Nicole said this to me once and it totally stuck.
Whether it’s a clean house, posting pictures to Facebook, putting make up on, baking adorable cupcakes, getting married, running a marathon, going to concerts, walking in heels or eating paleo –you don’t have to enjoy something or devote yourself to learning something just because everyone else is doing it.
No need to waste your precious time worrying that you’re missing out on something magical. You’ll never have time for everything, so just make damn sure you actually WANT to be doing what you’re doing.
Stop overcommitting your mental space and your actual time to things that feel like shoulds.
Concentrate on the electrifying wants instead.
And yes, a lot of the time this means letting go of unfinished projects, invested money, and old dreams that you’ve outgrown. It’s okay — your life is a series of changing wants. It’s your job to tune in and honor where you’re at.
3. Don’t Make Things a Bigger Deal than They Really Are.
Making endless to do lists, shuffling your mail from pile to pile to pile, not calling the dentist to schedule your cleaning, avoiding taking that stack of stuff to the Goodwill…
Sometimes we spend more time whining /worrying/wallowing about what we have to do than simply taking care of it.
This rule is simple.
Just do it.
4. Choose to Connect Where it Matters to You.
Our social and professional circles are ever widening in today’s world — between social media, frequent job changes, less permanence in the places we choose to live — many of us have dozens of people we might consider close friends in the world by the time we are 30. We might not live near any of them, or have any single person whose home we could drop by unannounced in our neighborhood, but we’ve got many, many friends to keep tabs on.
In some ways our living our lives online make it easier.
I know what your baby looks like. I know that you just changed jobs. I know that he finally put a ring on it.
What I don’t know is how you feel about it deep down — what sacrifices have you made? Who’s got your heart in their hands? How do you feel when that tiny human snuggles up under your chin?
There are a lot of reactions to superficial interconnectedness: spreading ourselves too thin trying to be a best friend to everyone, isolating in real life while actively engaging online, refusing to engage at all.
There is no right way to do it to feel connected and maintain strong relationships, but start by thinking about who you truly care about and how to give them the most of your limited attention.
5. Narrow Down Your Choices.
Did you know that having less choice makes us happier?
This was one of the driving forces in moving our family to a small town 3.5 hours from LA and 3.5 hours from SF. Here there are 4 nice restaurants for date night, 3 yoga studios to choose from, 2 nearby beaches to swim at, 1 natural hair salon, and unfortunately for us — zero good mexican restaurants.
Are we bored? Nope.
We find enough novelty in our lives through travel and creative, fulfilling work.
Are we satisfied with our choices? Yes!
We’re not constantly thinking about what we didn’t choose or didn’t get experience or if we could have made a better decision.
You can always change your mind or your routine when you get bored or feel constrained but consciously limiting your shopping color palette, the amount of time you spend comparison shopping, or the places you take your kid to lunch will free up brain power for better use!
6. Embrace Your Need for Downtime.
Getting shit done feels awesome, especially when the “To Do List” is a true reflection of what you want to be doing with your life. But getting shit done at the expense of self care or connection or rest is a slippery slope. You have worth as a woman that is not connected to you de-cluttering your closet, staying at work the latest, or hammering out everything last item on your list.
We cannot value our worth based on productivity or we’ll be inextricably linked to doing, not being.
And sometimes we need to just simply be.
Say it out loud — I am choosing to watch this TV show. I am choosing to nap. I am choosing to putter around on the internet. I am choosing to sit on my balcony, drink wine and people watch. I am choosing to take a walk. I am choosing to play blocks with my kid.
We all need downtime to comfort or care for ourselves.
Give up the guilt and you’ll be able to truly enjoy it.
There you have it, my amazing Tribe!
6 new ways to honor your time, in service of honoring your precious life.
Be deliberate with each day, wild one, and the rest will follow.