• My Secret for “Making Time”

    August 23, 2019 | Julie Moore
  • I’ve been told I make a really good German Chocolate Cake! Three layers of cake and rich coconut pecan frosting, all from scratch. Delicious! I also make lists. To-do lists, grocery lists, Netflix watchlists. Lists of countries to see, restaurants to try, languages to learn; I’m good at making lists. I used to make macrame plant hangers; I abandoned that craft long ago (in the 70s???) but lately I’ve been itching to revisit it (let me know if you want one!). 

    Yes, I can make things. But there’s one thing I cannot make: Time.

    Recently I thought, ‘I need to make more time to read.’ Wouldn’t that be wonderful! If I could make Time, I’d wrap it up and give it to friends on birthdays, stuff into stockings at Christmas, and hand out pretty little bottles of it to my patients. And of course, I’d gift myself a bunch, too. 

    Unfortunately I can’t make Time. Time is one of those finite, scarce resources. I have what I have. And, as with any valuable, scarce resource, I do my best to make conscious choices about what I do with it. 

    Choices that are made consciously reflect our priorities and values. We each make thousands of decisions every day; do I go to spin class before work, can I add another project to my team’s schedule, should I join book club? When we make choices about our time without being mindful of our priorities, we risk feeling like we’ve wasted time. We feel busy but still unfulfilled.

    Lately I’ve focused a lot on being cognizant about how I spend my time. It hasn’t been easy; saying ‘no’ can be difficult. But saying ‘no’ now and then has enabled me to say ‘yes’ to the important people in my life. And it has opened up time for things that recharge and fulfill me…like reading!  Maybe I can make Time after all!

    Here are four tips to help you make time choices with consciousness

    • The Priority Lens. I have a personal priority list; I call it ‘Julie’s Big 5’. At a glance it’s short and simple, but its significance is immense. This is the lens through which I view my decisions about time. When things are crazy and my time is scarce, checking in with my priorities gives me the courage and motivation to say ‘no’ to some opportunities so that I can say ‘yes’ to others. 
    • The Tomorrow Test. Sometimes I commit to things months in advance without much thought. Inevitably, when the time comes and I have a lot of stuff going on, I wonder why I have this not-so-important thing on my schedule. To guard against this, I’ve started using the Tomorrow Test. When I have an opportunity that is weeks or months down the road, I ask myself ‘would I say yes if this was happening tomorrow?’ If the answer is yes, then it’s likely important and aligned with my priorities. If the answer is no, then I graciously decline or wait until later to decide. 
    • An appointment with myself. It’s usually the routine things that fall through the cracks when my life gets overloaded. Workouts, quick check-ins with family and friends, ‘me’ time at the end of the day. These are too important to fall by the wayside; without them, my physical and emotional health suffers (my health happens to be pretty high on Julie’s Big 5).  That’s why I make appointments with myself. If you look at my calendar, you’ll find appointments for my favorite yoga classes, weekend bike rides, and my Sunday call with Mom & Dad. And now you’ll even find appointments for reading time! 
    • Ban the ‘b’ word. Lately I’ve avoided the ‘busy’ word. I hear it all the time, ‘I’m too busy to…’. ‘It’s another busy day.’ This subconscious response is too easy; it doesn’t hold me accountable for my choices. Instead, I get specific about how I spend my time, who I spend it with, how I feel about it. When I stopped accepting a general feeling of being busy, I became more aware…more conscious of my time. 

    Fall is a great time to commit/recommit to personal goals. I hope these tips help you commit to choosing with consciousness and finding fulfillment in how your spend your time.  

    If physical and emotional wellness is also one of your goals, ‘make time’ to see what acupuncture can do. And for a quick reset, watch for one of our new Happy ‘Half’ Hour Wellness Break events. We’ll be offering 30-minute seasonal reset treatments and healthy snacks (designed by Let’s Get Real R.D.). Learn more and reserve your spot.