Sunday, February 25, 2007

zeroing in on priorities

I was going to start talking about physical surroundings, but then I realized there's a bit more I want to mention regarding dreams and good feelings.

Do you know how you spend your day? The following is based on an exercise from Cheryl Richardson's book Take Time For Your Life (

Make a rough list of how you spend the hours of each day. Look back over the past week, and notice how much time you spent on everything that you do, including sleeping.

An average day for me lately, for example, would look like the following:

sleep - 6 hours
food preparation and eating - 1 1/2 hours
bathing and dressing - 1/2 hour
reading - 1 hour
playing Sudoku - 1/2 hour
Alexander training (weekdays) - 3 hours
travel time - 1 hour
errands - 1 hour
napping - 2 hours
phone calls - 2 hours
working at the computer (including e-mail) - 3 1/2 hours

total: 22 hours

(I haven't figured out what I do in those extra two hours. They get used somehow - probably on the computer, writing these blogs!)

Obviously there's some variation in anyone's schedule. One night a week, I have choir rehearsals; some days I don't work at my computer (so much). Sometimes I socialize with friends, and when I have organizing clients I spend time on that, rather than at the computer. This past weekend (when my boyfriend was in town), I spent a lot of time with my boyfriend.

But it can be a very sobering experience to see how your time goes, especially if you don't usually keep track of your extra-curricular activities and all the little things you do with your day when you're not working.

And I'm not advocating that you suddenly start to pencil in "me" time, or anything. (Although that probably wouldn't be a bad idea). I just want you to realize that you have made choices, whether consciously or unconsciously, about how you will spend the precious minutes of your life. And if you don't like the way your life looks right now, you can make new choices that will change it.

What are your priorities? If you make a pie chart of your daily activities (something you can do if you put your list in Excel), does it make you feel good to see that over one third of your day is spent on activities directly related to your work? Do you wish that more time was spent on activities that nourish your life in other ways?

I love working on the computer; I love writing. But I can lose hours online (when I'm researching new business), and I often fall into bed each night jittery and distracted - only to start the next day the same way, as I rush to check my morning e-mail and take up my work where I left off.

I've also noticed that there's no time for yoga in my list above. That make me unhappy. And I would love even more time to read for pleasure.

What's missing from your own life? What changes do you want to see in your schedule? Continue to dream your dreams there...

copyright 2007, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow

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