There are two types of people in the world: those who are excited already for the holiday season (this is me) and those who have no idea Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. And while this is a discussion for year-round, we seem to get ourselves in a particularly big pickle this time of year when we throw around our time, energy, and money as if they are perpetually renewable resources. So, it seems prudent that we have this chat now.
Time, Energy & Money
At different seasons of our lives, we may have more or less of each of these categories, or place a higher premium on one over another. For example, for a period of my life, I had less time and more money, so it made sense for me to pay for services that gave me time back in my day, like landscaping or cleaning my home. It also always seems as if there is one of these that never has a surplus because we are really good about spending more than we have in that category. For me, that has always been energy. I have a knack for spending energy in ways that don’t suit me because I think that I “should” or I made a commitment. For the first time in my life this year, I have repeatedly slashed my To-Do lists and time commitments by cutting anything that wasn’t a “Hell Yes.” It’s not to say that things don’t slip back in or preferences don’t change, so this process is repeated frequently.
I know, you may be thinking that some of us don’t always have a choice and have to do things we don’t want to do. Yes, of course. But I would contest your thinking on this and invite you to view it from the lens that nearly everything is a choice. Sometimes they are hard ones but they are, in fact, choices. And when you recognize that the crap you don’t want to do is in fact a choice you are consciously making to do anyways, it doesn’t seem like such martyrdom anymore.
I am issuing a challenge from now to the end of year. Find ways to make conscious decisions about how you will spend your time, energy and money. This may mean planning and budgeting, or perhaps even just pausing to make a conscious decision before automatically committing yes to anything in the moment. If you reserved two hours for doing this mental cleanup, what would be the payoff be energy and joy? I am willing to bet, WORTH IT.
Ways to Get Started
If you need some help getting started cleaning up how you spend your time, energy, and money through the end of the year, here are some ideas:
- Make a list of things to stop doing. I mean clubs, organizations, or other recurring commitments that you just keep doing even though they no longer bring you joy. Make room for something you love. Even if you love watching Love Actually (again) on the couch. No judgement here.
- Identify three things that you would normally trudge through in November and December, and make your plan to kindly decline them this year. Usually go to five holiday parties? Pick three. Feel the need to pack the weekends with activities? Plan for down time and don’t let anyone steal it.
- Spend even as little as one hour planning how you will spend your money. How much will you donate? How much will you spend on gifts or experiences? If you only have $100 to donate, pick your organizations and how much, and cross it off your list of things to think about or spend on for the rest of the year.
- Write down three things that give you energy, and three things that drain your energy. Plan more of the good stuff, and less of the soul-sucking things. The awareness alone will be a fascinating discovery.
- Bonus! Keep track of the changes you made to how you spend your time, energy, and money, and review it afterward. How did it feel to you? Who else noticed? How do you want to spend your resources going forward?
The permission to take control of how you spend your time, energy, and money this year might be the best gift you’ve given yourself for a long time. You may have just solved your New Year’s resolution while you were at it too..
About the author:
Katie Rasoul is the Chief Awesome Officer for Team Awesome, a leadership coaching and culture consulting firm. Find out more by visiting www.teamawesomecoaching.com or join the Team Awesome Community for awesomeness coming straight to your inbox. Follow Team Awesome on Facebook and Twitter.