Recently, my husband Keith and I ran out of trash bags. The next day, I went to the grocery store, and what do you think was the one item on my list I missed? Of course…trash bags.
So, for about two or three days, I was making due with smaller sacks, but mostly, I just allowed our recycling bin to pile up and eventually to spill over. I literally was stepping over empty apple sauce containers to get to the laundry! Simple tasks seemed difficult. Our rooms were seemingly becoming smaller! My trash cans were growing full as I sought to utilize every square inch of space remaining in each little white “tall” kitchen bag. At some point, I think I started to smell something. Ew.
Thankfully, this didn’t last very long. It was just long enough to be uncomfortable and to be quite thankful when the new trash bags arrived. Keith swung by the store on the way home from work, and we quickly removed all of the excess trash and recycling that had uncomfortably accrued. Wow! What a contrast. I felt like I could move more freely in my own home.
This experience caused me to reflect on the importance of constantly and intentionally removing things from our lives. When we don’t, even for a moment, “life” begins to build up and we start to feel crowded. Our schedules are packed. We bounce from activity to activity. Our actions become inefficient. It takes more steps to do a simple task.
Do you have a process to regularly remove things from your calendar?
It sounds funny, doesn’t it? We usually say, “I am going to put that on my calendar,” not “I am going to take that off of my calendar.”
This week, as you take time to think time, consider, “What items do I need to remove from my life?” “As I have drifted, what has crept its way onto my schedule and into my life?”
Here are a few easy ways to get started with this:
- Clarify what is important to you. Identify your top priorities for this season. You can use our Rosebush tool or simply create a graph, web, or list. When you have clarity on what is important to you, it is a LOT easier to let go of actions that do not support these priorities.
- When you are evaluating the lesser important things, ask yourself if they fall into the following categories. If they fall into these categories, you may do well to make the tough call to purge them from your life. Are they…
- Obsolete. Something is obsolete if it served a great purpose in the past, but those goals are no longer relevant.
- Unproductive. Something is unproductive if it produces some results but not with the “bang for your buck” that you really need to reach your goals.
- Good, but not the best. Some things are genuinely good, but not the best. There is only so much of us to go around, so we must choose carefully and wisely.
- Double check your calendar to see if you have removed enough. While you may think that you have been ruthless with your tough calls, the truth may be that you need to go back and double your effort to cut some more.
- Place your top priorities in your routines.
- Evaluate what habits you can develop that support your goals.
- Schedule your chosen activities.
- And take a good look.
- Did you leave enough free space to absorb the curve balls that life brings?
- Did you remember to include margin for maintaining health, balance, and relationships?
- Do your scheduled actions support your most important priorities?
Good job! You have officially done the hard work of making tough calls that will free your life for what is most important to you!
The only thing left is to look ahead and decide how to regularly evaluate your priorities and purge what does not support them. If you already use our Think Time journal-planner, you are doing this on a yearly, quarterly, monthly, and weekly basis in our seamless dream, decide, do, and review process. The habit of constantly prioritizing and purging is becoming second nature. As we like to say at Think Time, “We are the only planner that encourages you to cross things off your to-do list before you do them–simply because they are not the most important.”
If you do not yet have a Think Time journal-planner, you can buy one today or you can schedule reminders in your current planner to incorporate this practice into your more intentionally lived life as you take time to think time.
Because..your time is your life and it matters.
These are my thoughts… What are yours?
Please share in the comments below!
Christine M. Wilson, LPC
Co-Founder, Think Time
Think Time Life Leadership System
Use your whole brain to plan your whole life.
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