You need to spend every minute of your day doing something productive – that’s what all the gurus say. Every hour you aren’t working towards your goal is “wasted” and time misspent.
That seems like a hell of a way to live, feeling guilty in every moment that isn’t useful.Of course you don’t want to feel like you are wasting your time away. Since you are reading this you’re part of a community of people looking to improve how they feel, move, and perform. At the same time, you’re very aware of your responsibilities and how much energy and time you can reasonably devote to these pursuits.
The last thing you need is to add yet another obligation that drags you down, transforming what should be a positive aim of improving and taking care of yourself into just another duty in a long list of chores. So let’s not do that.
Your time and your reasons are your own. Make them matter to you and worry less about what others think about how you choose to spend it. Ask yourself,
How can I align what I need to do with what I want to do?
Your Time is Yours to Spend
Our time is ours alone to spend.
Though it may not seem that way with the daily grind of work and personal commitments, it’s up to us to choose what we do with ourselves. Feeling burdened and compelled to do things is a slow poison and bound to affect us negatively over the long run.
The quote above from Henry Rollins hits the nail on the head.
We tend to compartmentalize our days. We have work time, family time, exercise time, leisure time, and all other kinds of fill-in-the-blank time, when really it’s all just one thing.
Your life. Your time. Your chance to live and be the way you want to be.
Make Choices, Not Compromises
I have two children (twin boys who are currently 5 and a half) and I’m lucky enough to be home most of the week with them.
When our children were babies, our days were very regimented, so much so that if you name me an hour in the day, I could tell you exactly what we did in that time. The steady routine could be draining but it’s a choice we made to provide structure and stability in our children’s lives. I fit all my other activities and responsibilities around this structure.
That structure, of course, changed as the years went by and we shifted things again. And it will do so again in later years.
It’s our choice and it’s what we want to do.
Others may make different choices in their personal and family lives, but I like to think everyone is trying to do the best they can with what they have.
We run into a problem, though, when our day-in, day-out responsibilities don’t match up with what we want from life. That’s when it’s possible to be resentful and resigned, and before you know you it, you’ll wake up to find yourself having done the same thing you didn’t want to do for the past 10 years.
So how do we keep that from happening?
How to Make Sure Your Responsibilities Reflect What You Want From Life
If you’re in a job you hate, a relationship that’s not working to it’s best potential, or you’re just unhappy with how your responsibilities seem to run your life instead of you handling them, there’s a problem.
It’s more than a little difficult, when you’re in the thick of things, to see a way to make things better – especially when we’re talking about significant and crucial responsibilities – but there are steps you can take to regain control of your life, rather than letting your obligations lead you around.
Step 1 – Analyze How You’re Currently Spending Your Time
Choose one or two days that are pretty typical for you. For those days, write down every single activity you engage in, and if possible, write down a time estimate for each one.
At the end of this step, you’ll have a long list of things you spend your time on during a typical day.
Even if you think you know how you’re spending your time, this exercise may help you see some surprising patterns or activities. Or, it will just reinforce what you already know. In any case, this frank listing of how you spend your time gives you a lot of information about how your life is running and can add clarity to issues that keep popping up again and again.
Step 2 – Identify What Sucks in Your Current Routine
Once you’ve made a list of ways you’re spending your time, you should examine your list and pick out the things that:
- …you hate
- …take up a lot of your time
- …you’re not very good at
- …don’t enhance your life
- …or all of the above
Of course, some of the tasks you identify will not be avoidable. For instance, most people hate washing dishes, but it has to be done. Until you get rich enough to afford help that is…
Some of the tasks, though, may be things you can either get rid of completely or approach in a different way. For now, just identify those things that fit one or all of the criterion above. You may be surprised and you’ll certainly have some things to think about.
Step 3 – Make Your Life as Full of “Hell Yes!” as Possible
“Hell yes!” or “No.”
This is a brutally simple decision tree that we use to work on our choices here at GMB. There are always going to be so many different things pulling at you and so many decisons to make if you let them all build up. At its core this simply means that we should work on only doing things we think are great.
Every day, we’re presented with possible compromises, and often we ask ourselves, “What can it hurt?” But all these decisions that go against what we want from life are just ways to dilute our energy and purpose.
That’s like bleeding to death from 1,000 paper cuts.
So instead of draining your energy on things that don’t jive with who you are and what matters the most to you, ask yourself,
Is this a “Hell Yes!” or a “No”?
It’s a starkly simple question and the answer helps you to start living your life in the “Hell Yes” zone as much as possible, reaping the rewards as you go.
Would you say “Hell yes!” to a stronger, more responsive body? Don’t make this mistake:
One of the biggest mistakes people make starting out is getting so excited saying “Hell yes!” to everything that they never stick with anything long enough to see results.
The fact is you don’t need to learn to train yourself.
We’ve created several proven and accessible programs that will teach you how to get better at using your body for the things that matter to you – building strength, flexibility, and control with clear tutorials and schedules.
Live Your Life to the Fullest
It’s very common for people to feel their lives are run by their responsibilities, that their time is not their own.
In this post we’ve explored the idea that the way you structure your time, the things you prioritize, and the responsibilities you have – these are all a series of choices that you have more control over than you think.
If you’re unhappy with the way your time is being spent, it’s up to you to make as much a positive change as possible.
Remove those things that drag you down and eat up your time, and fill your life with more “Hell Yes!” choices. This is your life. Don’t let it pass you by.
One of the reasons some people struggle with making decisions they believe in is they lack the confidence to do so. In the next article, we’ll take a look at what self-confidence is, and how you can work on building it.