By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
“If it’s a priority, you will find the time for it.”
That, DreamChasers, sums up the tough love of time and priorities. The first time I read this phrase and really stopped to evaluate how it was playing out in my life was a #gamechanger. I not only identified as being busy but also thrived on it; I wore that busy badge with honor! This reality check clearly illustrated that my priorities and time were not in alignment; I was creating busyness and chaos in all the wrong areas for the sake of being busy. Yikes!
We create the busy and chaotic lives we are living to the point that our schedule starts running our lives! Who can relate? And, if we stop to really evaluate where all that time is going, there’s a good chance we are giving away some of that time to things that aren’t priorities. The good news is choice got you into this mess, and choice combined with a good strategy can get you out of it! It is time to treat time with the respect that an irreplaceable, non-refillable, limited commodity deserves.
It doesn’t have to be hard. The key is identifying your priorities, scheduling your time into these areas, and letting go of the things that do not align with your priorities. That last one might sound hard; I can relate. I, myself, suffer from FOMO, Fear of Missing Out. Here’s the secret to making letting go easier; if your priorities are identified and top of mind, it is easy to let go.
Ready for a simple strategy to do this? Here it comes the 5 Roles Life Hack…
Step 1: Look at where you are spending your time. Sort each activity by roles like mom, wife, friend, daughter, colleague, coach. Under each role, make a notation of how much time you are spending for each role. For example, if you are coaching your kid’s basketball team, you likely have several practices and games per week; all of this time would count under this role. This will give you a gut check of where you spend your time and how much.
Step 2: Are there any roles missing? Add these to your list.
Step 3: Pick the 5 roles that are the most important to you. This does not mean the 5 roles that you are spending the most time on in this moment; this is the key to determining a priority and a time taker. We only have so much time and energy to give into what we do; spreading ourselves too thin means we are not giving our best to anything. This will require some thought, and, perhaps, some hard choices.
Step 4: Align your schedule with your 5 roles. Literally, you will schedule time into your calendar reflecting these 5 roles. Why schedule? Because scheduling things into your calendar creates protected time and increases the chances you will follow through. It may help to break down how you plan to spend your time for each role. For example, if being a mother is a top role, you may have daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly goals. Set reminders in your calendar to make sure you are on track with these goals; I recommend Sundays to plan the week as well as the 1st and 15th of each month.
Step 5: Say no and let it go. Doesn’t align with your 5 roles? Say no and let it go. This might take practice. And, yes, some of your commitments might require you to find someone to take over for you. One thing to keep in mind; some of these roles may literally be for a season. For example, coaching a basketball team or training for a marathon literally has a finite start and finish. As that role is completed, you can take on a different role in its place.
Have you realized what these 5 roles are? They are your priorities!
Aligning your priorities with your time and effort makes it easier to say no and let go of things that are not a priority; you will be living a life of intention, purpose, and fulfillment. You will be living your best yes, and, in turn, your best life! As you get better at this alignment of priority and time, the feeling of busy and chaos will lessen because you are back in control! Then, something magical happens! Pieces of unclaimed time will appear. This is when you might choose to take on another role into your life, but choose wisely, DreamChasers!
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.