It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut and keep ourselves incredibly busy with things that aren’t really that important. And I’m not talking about the obvious things such as TV or social media; rather the things that we feel compelled to do, but which don’t really add value to our lives. So how do you make sure that you work for what counts?
Find what you value
Value can mean various things to people. Relationships with friends and family is valuable. Time with your spouse is valuable. Creating a home that makes you feel safe and comfortable is valuable. Your health is valuable. And building a business or some sort of income stream is valuable.
But, do you know what’s really valuable to you? Unless you understand what’s important to you you’ll find it easy to be distracted! If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like saying ‘no’ to anyone you’ll probably find people really taking advantage of you and your time!
In order to work for what really counts, you need to work on what is valuable to YOU. Not to others.
What are you working towards?
Just as we have to sometimes reign in our spending we need to do the same with our time. The same things we say about money can relate to our time too, like “where’s it all disappearing?”.
It’s a good idea to understand where you currently spend your time & energy. If you don’t understand where you time is going and why you’re so tired at the end of the day then perhaps you should keep a little journal of everything you do during the day.
Start from the time you wake up and keep track of your morning routine, how long you spend at work and when you get home. And then list how long you spend on each of these activities and how much energy it takes from you (low, medium or high)
- kids homework
- cleaning / household chores
- running errands
- playing on your phone (just wasting time)
- extra hours work
- your part-time side-hustle
- time with your partner
Doing this for at least a week should be quite revealing of where you’re spending your time & energy. If you don’t feel that you’re spending your time & energy wisely, then you need to make some changes.
Here are some tips on how to work for what counts and for what matters most.
Start with why
It’s easy to feel that we’re wasting time and not doing the things that matter. It’s slightly harder to know what things really matter to us most. And the hardest is truly understanding why things matter to us and what the value is that we get out of it.
These things aren’t necessarily quantifiable, in other words you cannot count the value or even compare things fairly as emotions, relationships and feelings are hard to explain and to be exact about.
However, spend some time thinking about why things are important to you. Things such as
- having a home to live in
- enjoying your job
- earning lots of money
- creating a future
- living for the moment
- looking “cool”
- driving the right car
- being outdoors
These are really tough questions as we can often contradict ourselves and even be unsure of how we feel about things. That’s ok! The point is simply to think about these important things often.
Life is a journey and understanding yourself is a life-long mission!
Learn to say no
A valuable lesson that I only learnt quite late in life is to simply say ‘no’ to things that don’t really add value to life or to things that aren’t very high on your priority list. If you’re known as someone who likes to help (which is a good thing), you’re often taken advantage of.
So before you next find yourself saying yes to something you don’t actually want to do, learn about the power of saying no.
Set time-box limits to errands
Errands are often important but one can easily get distracted. Minimise the time you spend shopping, driving around, fetching & dropping stuff by doing a few (or all) of these:
- set a time-limit to the task
- create a list of all that needs to be done so that you can be more efficient with your driving
- prioritise your list
- see if you can’t do things online or have them delivered
- say no to unnecessary things
Make YOU a priority
Prioritise yourself and make time for relaxing (without a phone in your hand). Spend time going for a walk or by having some tea in the garden. Just sit quietly with yourself in your room with no distractions.
It’s important to clear your mind and allow yourself to dream a bit, think about your values and priorities and simply to think about your day.
This activity isn’t just for once a month, or should be daily! Why do so much for everyone else and not give any time or space for yourself?
Just try it and see how it goes!
Learn to work for what counts and spend your time and energy on things that matter most!