Let us say that a jar represents your week, which consists of 10,080 hours, and you are constantly filling it with activities of different values and importance to you. One such activity which we all agree on as mandatory for wellbeing and health is sleeping. So let’s say, you spend three thousand of 10,080 hours sleeping. What about the rest?
Which of all your ‘wants’ do you want to direct your available time to?
Remember, your jar gets filled with your activities whether you actively choose to fill it or not. If you don’t know your priorities, then your jar is going to fill quickly with all the urgent things, plus, all other activities that you habitually do without thinking.
Time is not manageable! There is no such thing as time management. It’s a ridiculous concept since time will not let itself be managed. Activities can be managed, but, time can not. Managing activities is done by knowing your priorities and making strategic decisions – again and again and again.
When it’s time to do the important thing – perhaps, it is the long term strategic activity you planned, or perhaps it is something you have promised to do for someone close and important to you, your spouse, your kid or perhaps an aging parent with no means of doing it themselves – there is no room left in the jar.
They have put all trust in you and waited patiently. The deadline is now here and you need to complete it, but, you have already consumed the 10,080 hours of your week with less important priorities.
So, how do you prefer to manage your weeks? Do you want to create your weeks by default? Or by design?
How do you prefer to create your life – by default? Or by design?
As my mother got the diagnosis of aggressive pancreatic cancer in 2009, I made a decision to devote my attention and time to her so that she should be able to live at home for as long as she wanted, regardless of illness, as long as I could handle it myself. I made that decision out of my core values – strong family bonds and support are essential to me, my husband and my kids.
Even though she lived far longer and much better than the doctors anticipated, she eventually deteriorated and died this spring. I supported her up to the bittersweet end. Yes, I was not able to devote as much time into the recently-started business as I wanted and needed, but, it was not an economic decision, it was based on other values.
The consequence of putting that big stone in first, representing my decision to tend to my elderly mum, was that all the other things had to fit the little space that was left. I had to figure out how to serve my clients from home instead of going to them and so forth. I also had to teach my kids to take more responsibility and help both my mum and myself to a larger extent. More importantly, I asked for my husband’s support where needed.
Even though I had to postpone other interesting goals, I can think about that time with love and pride now. I had followed my heart, knew my innermost important priorities and made a strategic decision.