We Can Make The World A Brighter Place

Life is busy, and it probably always will be. I don’t know about you, but when life gets busy, I kind of duck my head, focus on my own little world, and get done what I need to get done. There is nothing wrong with that, and sometimes that is all we can handle for that moment. I find, though, that if we stay in this mode for too long, we will start to feel something is missing. The feeling of contributing to the world around us, the desire to do what we can to make our world a brighter place. All it takes is a small gesture.

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I have found myself in the mode of focusing on myself lately. Much of it has been necessary to get though some work stuff. I have even gotten to the point where the idea of helping other people annoyed me and felt very inconvenient. I don’t like to admit that, but it’s real. I do know, deep down, that I like to help others, it makes them feel good and that good feeling comes back to me. My baby step this coming week to live my best is to get back into the attitude of contributing to other people’s lives in whatever small way I can.

This is going to require me to:

Change my attitude. My attitude has been all about me. Again, that is not all bad. It is important to prioritize ourselves. But I want to enter my day asking myself “what can I do for others today?” Asking and answering that question changes my attitude from solely being about me and brings others into the picture.

Add it to my planner. Because this is a habit that I have gotten out of, it is going to require some effort to make it a habit again. I need the reminder each day to ask “what can I do for others today?” and that reminder for me will go into my planner. This way I will not forget.

Remind myself. Once the busyness of the day starts, I can tend to forget these important things. I have to find a way to remind myself. That might be a post-it note or it might be setting a reminder on my phone. I am not sure what I am going to use yet, but I know I will need a reminder.

Do it and keep doing it. I believe contributing positively to those around us is an important component of living our best life. The more we do it, and keep doing it, the easier it will be. It will become a positive habit in our lives. We can think about it all day, but it is doing it that makes the difference.

Do you feel like you have been focused on yourself a lot lately? Is it time to refocus on the habit of contributing to others? What does that look like for you and how are you going to make it happen? Don’t forget, one small step at a time. We can all do amazing things, one baby step at a time!

Here’s to taking care of ourselves, and contributing to other to make our world a brighter place to live!

I Can’t Catch Up!

Do you ever feel like you cannot get everything done that you want to get done? There is simply not enough time in a day to fit everything in. The questions I have been asking myself is “How do I live my best when I always feel behind?”

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One day this week I was feeling particularly blah. Life overall was good, so I did not understand what was making me feel so stale. I think through writing, so I decided to pick up my journal and start writing. The issue behind the way I was feeling became instantly clear. I was frustrated because even though I had done so much, I was still behind. The areas that I was behind in were nagging at me. I instantly asked myself, what can I do about this that is within my control?

Believe it or not, I started with taking a deep breath and resting for a little bit. That kind of sounds like a backward approach to getting things done, in fact you are probably thinking “Jen, you need to do less resting and more doing!” I’m sure that is true at times, but for the most part, resting a little allows me to gain more motivation and productivity in the long run.

As I thought about what I could do better to stay focused and get more done in my life, I realized I needed a new system of organization. Some areas of my life have changed, and since those changes, I had not found a good system to help me stay on task and focused. I have been jumping from here to there and finding myself getting into reactionary mode instead of being on top of things and intentional.

I needed a new system, so I bought a new planner. I have been following a blog for quite some time of a gentleman that helps people who want to write and publish books. In addition, he shares a lot about productivity and prioritizing. I knew my way of thinking fell in line with his, so I invested in purchasing his planner. I talked to a good friend about what I was doing and she said that she really needed a new system as well to help her get focused. She went out and found a planner that she loved.

A new system, or planner in my case, helps me by:

    • Listing the top three things that I want to stay focused on each day. This helps me stay focused on what is most important and not get buried in everything else.
    • Staying on top of all of the tasks that need to get done and prioritizing their importance. One nice thing about this is, if I have a few minutes, I can look at my list and take care of something small off of my list. I can take care of the things that are most pressing and feel a sense of relief when they are done.
    • Creating a realistic game plan for each day. (Don’t forget to plan a little margin in too!)
    • Writing down any notes that are important for me to take away from the day.

Implementation of any system takes a little investment of time each day, but I feel it is well worth the investment in the long run. I am excited about getting back into the routine of using a system to keep me organized and focused on what is most important. I hope I can be more intentional about my time and feel less “under the gun”  and behind each day.

If you have no idea where to start with a system or planner, take a look at your local office supply store or browse the office supply aisle at your favorite place to shop. Start with something that is visually appealing to you and go from there. Over time you will find what works for you and what does not. I have even created my own throughout the years.

Long story short, creating systems are a great way to get our most important things done, stay focused, feel less behind and work towards living our best life.

How Do We Create Margin?

Last week I started a two-part blog post on the importance of clearing “space” in our lives, a.k.a. creating margin. If you have not had a chance to read that post, I ask you to pause, jump to last week’s post, and read that before you continue. This will make much more sense if you do.

Okay, I’m glad you are back! Now to answer the question “HOW do we create margin in our lives?”

margin ideas

One thing I asked you to do at the end of last week’s post was to think about this concept of margin each day and increase your awareness of it in your life. Awareness is a vital first step in any important change we want to make in our lives. This past week I became aware of how little mental margin I had in my days. I was brain fried every single day after work. I need more mental margin. What areas did you become aware of? Where could you use more margin?

Next, we all need to ask the questions, “is margin important to me?” If it is not, having me or anyone else encourage you to prioritize it is not going to be enough. All of the changes or improvements you want to make in your life need to be done because you genuinely want to, not because others say you should. Now it might be important to then ask “should gaining margin be a priority to me?” If you find that it would benefit you and your loved ones, maybe learn more about it and it’s benefits. Learning about it may bring you to a place where it becomes important to you.

Once you have identified the areas you need more margin, and you have decided it is important to you, ask the question “What one area is most important for me to gain margin in?” This is an important question for the overachiever out there who get excited and want to change everything at once. Start with one area. Once you have gained margin in that area, you can always tackle another area. As I mentioned above, I am starting this week with trying to add more mental margin in my days. What area do you want to start with? Mental margin? Physical margin? Margin in your schedule? Margin at work? Whatever you decide, start with one.

Next ask “what is within my control to change to add margin and make the upcoming week better?” Part of the reason why I felt so overloaded mentally this past week was because I was having to juggle my job as well as learn my co-worker’s job while she is on vacation for two weeks. My hope is that this coming week will be a little bit easier since there will be less of a learning curve, but I also need to chill out a little bit more than I did last week. I allowed myself to get worked up and focused much of my attention on how HARD it was going to be. This week I am going to try to allow for more mental margin by relaxing and not worrying as much. What is within your control to change?

Another important  thing to ask ourselves is “what can I delegate?” This is hard for many of us to do, but it is worth it! You know, we do not have to delegate big major things, giving away small things can add some time and space to our lives. I had a co-worker ask if she could help me in any way. One day, as I was wrapping up my day and planning out my next day, I wrote her name by a number of tasks that I could delegate to her. One task that I gave her only took about 15 minutes, but that was 15 minutes that freed me up. It felt good to mark the item, that I did not even do, off of my ‘to do” list. Take a look around and see what you can delegate.

And finally, focus on baby steps. Ask yourself today “what small steps can I take to create margin in my day and in my life?” My small baby step for this next week is to read a particular book every morning that helps me keep a positive and “can do” attitude. For me, this helps me keep the right perspective and not sweat the small stuff. What is your baby step for this upcoming week?

Gaining and keeping margin in our lives is an ongoing process, but one that is worth every bit of effort. Yes, there are time when life gets particularly busy, but those times need to be short-term. We simply cannot live our best if we are run ragged. It’s time to prioritize yourself and gain some margin. Everyone around you will benefit, and so will you!

Here’s to taking control and clearing some space in your life!

Margin.

Defined by Dictionary.com as

  • the space around the printed or written matter on a page.
  • an amount allowed or available beyond what is actually necessary.
  • a border or edge.

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We don’t think much about a margin until we are updating our resume. We decrease the margin as far as possible to fit as much information as possible about ourselves on one page. We also think about margin when we are in school writing a paper, we may increase the margins (and font size) to help us reach our page requirement.  But we don’t tend to think about the concept of margin as it pertains to how we live our life. Life margin is the space that we leave beyond all of the stuff we have to get done. It’s the space we leave beyond all of the things that are necessary. From my time listening to crazy, busy individuals, I hear that there is very little margin left in our days and in our lives in general, but it is incredibly important.

Margin allows space for the unexpected. Something I am trying to work on in my life is to keep a good attitude even when the unexpected happens. I am a planner. When I make a plan, I want things to go just as planned. Well, we all know that is not how life works. I have found that because this is the way I think, I get easily frustrated and I do not want to live a life of frustration. What I am trying to start is to create my plan, but create it with more margin to allow for those inevitable, unexpected challenges in life.

Margin allows space for our mind to recover. This past week and the upcoming week, my co-worker is on a much needed vacation. Therefore, I not only had to make sure my work is getting done, but her workload as well. This is a common situation that we all deal with on a regular basis, especially when a co-worker leaves the company. Not only do you have to cover their work, but you also have to take on the load of training the new person. These situations take away much of the mental margin we have. I know I felt brain fried at the end of each day and had very little to give to the rest of my life. I did not do well with margin last week, so I am going to try to do better this week because my mind, and your mind need a break in order for us to live our best. Yes, there are times we have to push through with little mental margin, but we don’t want to make it an ongoing habit.

Margin allows space for our body to recover. What tends to happen when we go, go, go and go some more? What I see so often is our immune system gets weak and we get sick. Do you realize that wearing ourselves down affects our bodies and our immune system? What breaks my heart even more is when I see wonderful people who are sick still pushing forward because they “should be there” or “can’t miss it” or “it has to get done”. We are not taking care of ourselves and our bodies if we cannot take a break. Building margin into our lives is good for our health.

Margin allows space for calm and intentionality. What is calm and intentionality, right? Calm and intentionality should be listed on the endangered species list because they are almost extinct in our lives today. When we build margin into our lives there is time to sit in the sunshine and take some deep breaths. Margin creates time to get out of reactionary mode and think intentionally about our lives, our relationships, and our future. Calm and intentionality are components of living our best life, but they are likely found in the area of margin in our lives.

If you were me, I would be thinking, “This is great Jen, but how do I do this? How do I create margin in my life?” Well, I am still working on figuring that out myself, but I am going to jump into the “how” in next week’s blog post. In the meantime, your assignment for this week is to think about this concept of margin each day and increase your awareness of it in your life.

Until next week, here’s to keeping some “white space” in our lives, taking some much needed deep breaths and continue to strive to live our best!

Don’t Give up on Your Dreams!

Life is not easy at times, and it doesn’t always play out like we envision it to. Through the years we dream of fun trips, ideal careers, dream homes, and so much more just to find those dreams buried in all of the other “stuff” of life. How do we tap back into our dreams and make them a reality?

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I have a bunch of dreams. I have dreams of becoming a bestselling author, of buying my dream bike and taking week-long trips on rails-to-trails around the U.S. I have dreams of taking a train trip through the mountains of Canada, and so much more. But all of these dreams take work and effort to make them a reality. I don’t know about you, but life can get in the way of my dreams and sometimes they feel like they start to slip away.

Many times our dreams take time to come to fruition. What can we do to ensure that they become a reality?

First, let’s write them down. There is something important about taking the time to pick up a pen and paper or sit down at our computer and put our dreams into words.

Second, it’s important to keep our dreams in front of us. That may mean taking what you wrote down and putting it up in your office or on the refrigerator. I also like to find pictures that represent my dreams and keep them in front of me. I love John and my home, but we have dreams of having a house away from town and in the quiet countryside. I have pictures of my dream house on the desktop of my computer. Just the other morning when I had a few minutes I opened them up and found myself excited about the possibilities.

Third, make sure you share your dreams with the important people in your life; some compromise may need to take place. I have always dreamt of going on a cruise, but John has no desire to do that. It’s funny, many couples that I have talked to about this have one for and one against going on a cruise. I joked for years that I was going to gather all of my friends who wanted to go on a cruise and go, and you never know, I might still do that. But I started to think about trips that both John and I would enjoy and that is when I came up with the idea of taking a train trip through the mountains of Canada. Even my dream of writing a best-selling book will impact my loved ones. It’s important to dream together and stay on the same page.

Forth, don’t allow anyone to discourage or tell you it can’t be done. Sometimes going after our dreams can be lonely. Others do not have the same passion that we have and therefore, may not think it is all that important. Some dreams take a lot of time, effort and investment and others may lose interest along the way or think you can’t do it. My book writing adventures have taken a long time, and they are going to continue to take time. Many people have written off the idea that I am going to accomplish this goal, but I have not. It may take me 5, 10, 15 more years to make it happen, but I am going to keep going.

Lastly, keep taking baby steps forward. A bunch of small baby steps will take you a long way. One of my dear friends is writing a book too. As she moved forward in the process she decided to go back to school. People wonder if she has given up on her dream of writing her book. From the outside there is no evidence of her moving forward, but each class that she completes teaches her amazing things and brings her closer to making her dreams and book a reality. She is taking one small baby step at a time.

What are your dreams? Don’t let anything stop you from dreaming and making your dreams a reality.  Here’s to big dreams and baby steps to make them a reality!

Three Main Ingredients for a Great Life!

What are the ingredients for a great life? I have been asking myself this very question for a number of weeks because I do not feel like I am living my “Best Life” right now. I have started a new job, and with that comes a period of adjustment, a period of time where my old “normal”  is gone and I need to find a new, wonderful “normal” again.

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I think we can all agree that one of the ingredients to living our best life is prioritizing the “most important” people and things. I have been doing pretty well at this the past few weeks with some tweaks here and there, but I have realized it is not enough. I have come to see our “most important” things as the foundation to living our best life. It is essential to build the rest of our life on, but it is not everything.

Next we have the ingredient of what “needs” to get done. This is not always a fun ingredient in life, but the reality is that it exists. John’s and my life were filled will annoyances this past week that “needed” to be dealt with. We received an unexpected medical bill that required some phone calls as well as unplanned check writing. I had a delivery of some liquid laundry soap that decided to break in transit. Is it bad when the box is in a trash bag on your front porch and the bottom feels mushy when you pick it up? In addition to these annoyances, the laundry still needs to get done. We needed to get to the grocery store. Things “need” to get done in our lives, and that is never going to change. What we can do is: recognize it is a part of life, stop fighting the annoyances because they usually win, deal with them as we need to, and try to keep a decent attitude during them. Things will always “need” to be done.

The last ingredient, what I consider the sweet spot, it is when we take time for the things we “want” to do. This is the area I have been lacking in since I have started my new job. I have filled my time with the most important people and things. Check! I have been dealing with what “needs” to be dealt with. Check! But I have not been taking time to do the things that bring added joy to my day. These are the things we feel are selfish because many times they are all about us. Well I am hear to tell you, this is the areas that bring some spice into our lives and is not selfish. I am writing this post on my birthday and even though I have a lot of things that “need” to be done today, I decided to sleep in this morning just because I wanted to. I am going to treat myself to a pedicure here shortly and do a few other things just because I want to. Prioritizing the things we “want” to do is so very important!

We all know that we cannot distill life down to three ingredients, but if we can get these three right with the right attitude, we will be well on our way to living our best life.

Here’s to loving ourselves, loving others and approaching everything else that comes our way with the best attitude we can muster up!

P.S. Below is the link to this month’s “Something To Look Forward To” Calendar! It’s time to start planning some fun stuff for the months to come!

June 2017 STLFT Planning Calendar

Setbacks Happen

Setbacks happen in life. The question is, how can we continue to live our best in the midst of these trying times?

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I am in the midst of another round of back issues. I have had chronic back issues for years. I have made tremendous strides in improving my back strength and mobility. It seems recently though, that every time I make plans to start my triathlon training program, my back flairs up and I am back to square one. Waking up and going to bed with pain every day gets old really quickly and it wears down my positive demeanor. I have had to ask myself, “what can I do to live my best even when I am in a holding pattern?”

  • First, I try not to allow the setback to get too much of my attention. When I have days that I feel sorry for myself and spend the entire day thinking about my pain and how I can hardly walk straight much less train, I find myself miserable. When I have days where I keep the attitude of “it is what it is” and focus on other things, I seem to be a much happier person. This is hard, but focusing on something negative will only make us more negative. Focusing on something good will lighten our spirits quickly.
  • Second, I do what is within my control to make things better. There is a lot that is out of our control when a setback hits, but there is a lot that is within our control as well. If you feel as though you are in a hopeless situation, spend some time reflecting on what you can do and how you can still enjoy life in the midst of this difficult time.
  • Third, I try to come to grips with the fact that setbacks take time to resolve. This is one of the areas that is very tough for me. Waiting for things has been a theme in my life, and because of it, I loath waiting. You would think that because I have had so much experience with it that, I would be used to it by now. Nope, but when I remind myself that these things do take time to get better, and take my advice from above, I do a little better with living my best.
  • Fourth, I stay focused on where I want to be in the future and never stop dreaming. Even though I have not been on my bike for weeks, I still spent some time the other night researching and dreaming about the dream bike I want to buy. It will be weeks before I can get back on my bike and probably years before I can purchase my dream bike, but I am going to keep dreaming about what I want, to keep my spirits up and have a goal to work towards. I will get there one baby step at a time.
  • Fifth, I need to remember that setbacks are a part of life. There is no such things as a life without them. Wouldn’t it be great if we could come to accept this fact and not fight the setbacks when they happen? I am not at this point yet, but I am starting to remind myself of this when things don’t go my way.

Setbacks are inevitable. The approach we take towards them can make a big difference.
Here’s to living our best when life is not ideal.

Swiffer Dust Mop and Paper Plates

Why do we always feel like we have to maintain a state of “perfect” in our lives? Kind of like the image that goes along with this post. We think we should have everything in perfect balance, our bodies should look perfect and there should be a perfect sunset at the end of each day! The idea of that made me giggle, because my life is far from that. There are certain standards we feel we need to live up to, or we are failures. Well, it’s time to take back the control, live our best even if it is not perfect, laugh at ourselves sometimes  and not take ourselves too serious.prefection
I started this past week in a foul mood. Sunday night I found myself mulling over all that I did not get done over the weekend, one of which was catching up on the pile of dishes on my counter. As I sat, slumped over in defeat on my coach, it dawned on me that I needed to remind myself of all of the things that I did accomplish over the weekend. As I did, my mood started to shift and I realized that I had much to be proud of. Suddenly, the pile of dishes on my counter did not seem as much of a big deal. In fact, I ignored them, knowing I would get to them when I had time. Monday morning when I got up, I pulled out a paper plate from the pantry and said to myself, “it is what it is, I’m not going to worry about it!”

I was sharing my experience with a dear friend later that week and as she giggled, she mentioned that a lot of people have a hard time resigning themselves to eating off paper plates and giving in to the dirty dishes. You might not be able to handle eating off of paper plates, but what I want us all to see is that we all need to allow some things to slide every once in a while to keep our sanity.

Walking away from the pile of dishes allowed me to:

  • Focus on the positives, not the negatives. I focused on what I did  get done, and was very proud of myself for what I had accomplished. All of the things I had gotten done fell in line with my “most important” things in life. I celebrated a “win” and did not feel like a failure.
  • Take back control. I was allowing the pile of dishes to control my mood and therefore, my behavior. I took back control and told my dishes I would get to them on my terms, and I did. Tuesday night after dinner I had some extra time to tackle the pile, but I did it on my terms.
  • Remember what is most important. Yes, keeping my home a clean and wonderful place to be is important to me, but there are many things that are more important to me. I prioritized rest over my dishes. I could have stayed up later, but I chose rest. I prioritized relationships over my dishes. I chose to spend time with John and Pebbles over doing the dishes. We are living a successful life if we give our best to those people and things that are most important.
  • Not take myself too seriously. Along with the dishes, I had a number of “mishaps” that reminded me to laugh and not take myself so seriously. I had a spelling faux pas at work that made me giggle. The same day I struggled to use a Swiffer dust mop to clean the floors at work, only to find out that the reason it was not working well was because I had not put a dust pad on it. I could only imagine what was going through the head of my co-worker. At the end of the day I could hardly wait to video message a friend of mine who I knew would have a good laugh with me.

Paper plates or Swiffer dust mops, life is too short to allow these things to control our time and our mood. As we go through our days, let’s give ourselves some grace. Let’s say yes to what is most important, take control over what is less important and not be afraid to laugh at ourselves when we are less than perfect.
Here’s to laughing a lot, living our best and having great people to share it with!

You Did Great Today!

I spend a lot of time writing about the things we can do to live our best life. Today, I want to remind you, and myself, that we do so much on a daily basis that is great! But sometimes these things are so routine that we forget how important and impactful they are.

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I have started to write in a journal every morning. In this particular journal, I write down what I am thankful for. This practice has allowed me to start my day with the attitude of gratitude. In the evening, as I lay in bed and try to settle my mind for a good night’s rest, I think about all that I did during the day, all that I had accomplished. I try to work through my day mentally from start to finish and list out all of the activities including eating breakfast, reading, going to work, eating dinner, washing the dishes, relaxing with my husband, doing my back exercises, getting ready for the next day, and oh yah, I fed my dog a few times in there. My list is generally not all that exciting, but what I have realized is that it is all important stuff, it is all good stuff.

I’m sure your day is filled with similar things. Here are some reminders of why these “normal things” are so important and how they make a difference in our world.

  • It is important for homes to be a sanctuary, a place where we, and those we love, enjoy spending time. Tasks such as doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, cleaning the toilets, and vacuuming the floors can all feel meaningless, but they are all a part of making our homes a wonderful place to be. All that we do around our homes contribute to the lives of those who inhabit it. We want to feel “at home” and all the work we do around the house makes that a reality.
  • We all need energy. The food that we provide for ourselves and those we love contributes to their health and the energy they have to live a great life. This is an area I struggle with because I do not like to cook, but it is vitally important. When I have a day that I feel particularly sluggish, I can usually look at the food I ate, or lack thereof, and understand why I feel the way I do. Feeding ourselves and others can feel tedious at times, but know that all that you do contributes to the health and energy for others to live their best.
  • We need each other. The time we spend driving around from stop to stop is important. The time we spend at our child’s soccer practice is important. The time we spend talking to a dear friend fills our lives with great things. John, Pebbles and I spend at least an hour each night just hanging out watching TV. It is what we do, and it can seem pretty uneventful, but it is important. All of the big and little moments in our lives with those people who are important to us contributes to our best life.
  • You know my blogs are not complete until I remind you how important rest is. The time you and your loved ones take to rest, gives us all a fresh start to a new day. When we get a good nap or good night’s rest we, and our loved ones, have a better capability to handle what comes our way. Our rest gives us more motivation. Rest is a very normal part of our life, but so very important.

If you have taken care of something in your home today, fed yourself or those you care about, spent time with others and went to bed and got some rest, you have accomplished a great deal today. We all need these simple things to live our best life, and you have made them happen! You are needed, valued, significant, appreciated and admired!
Here’s to washing one more dish and knowing it does makes a difference!

There’s No Time For Messing Around

There is simply not enough time in a day or week to do all that we would like to do. Weekends fly by and the evenings after our work day is done feels almost non-existent. How do we get it all done, and more importantly, how do we find peace and joy in this crazy busy life?

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I start my day at 5:00 am. Sixteen hours later, I can barely keep my eyes open and I conk out by 9:00 pm for the night. I try to fit in a good 8 hours of sleep and get up the next morning to start all over again. I have about three hours each evening during my work week to fit in as much as I can, but I simply cannot fit everything in. For those of you that have children, I do not know how you do it! We all need a few more hours added to each of our days, don’t we?

The question is, would we ever have enough time to fit everything in, or would we simply fill that extra time up too, needing even more? I think the answer is more about choosing to do the best and right things, and choosing not to participate in everything that presents itself to us and our loved ones. Saying “no” to many activities and events and “yes” to the ones that are most important to us. But how do we choose? How do we know what is best and right for us, and what is most important?

One exercise that I have personally utilized and seen other benefit from, is to imagine yourself at the end of your life, at your funeral. You get a chance to walk around unnoticed.

  • First of all, think about who you would like to see at your funeral and write down those people’s names on a sheet of paper. These are the people who are most important to you.
  • Now, go around and listen to the conversations people are having about you. What will people talk about? Will they say you were an amazing parent and spent quality time with those you loved? Will they say you were a kind and giving person who was always trying to build other people up? Or will they say, she really loved to work…we really did not get to see her much. Or will they say that he was just so busy, too bad that kept him away from spending time with those who love him. Answer the question, what do you want to be remembered for?

By going through this exercise, you have identified a few things; who is most important to you and what activities and qualities are most important to you. We can also identify what we do not want to be remembered for.

For me, I want my husband, John, to be at my funeral. I want my family to attend. I want my friends to be at my funeral. I would even love a few mystery people to show up and say that I impacted their life in some special way. I want John to talk about the fact that he was loved and prioritized in my life. I want my family and friends to talk about positive fun times we had together. I want people to remember me as kind, loving and generous. Within the past few years I had an acquaintance, who is now a friend, say that they could tell I had a true north star. Well that north star is my relationship with God. These are the kind of things I want talked about at my funeral. These are the things that define what is important to me.

Once we start to identify what is most important, how then do we apply this to life and the twenty-four hours we have in each day? Before you say yes or no to people and activities that are vying for your time, ask yourself:

  • Does this fall in line with what is most important to me?
  • Will this activity add to or take away from who and what is most important to me?
  • There are always trade-offs. Am I willing to trade my time to engage in this activity? What will I have to give up in order to fit this into my schedule?
  • Remember also, you do not need to give people an answer right then and there, even if they want you to. You are in control. Let them know you have to think about the commitment they are asking for and you will get back with them. You are in control!

We do not need more hours in our day. We need to cut out the less important things and focus in on the most important things. We need to commit to the most important people and activities with all of our heart and energy. And at the end of the day, we need to go to bed knowing we filled our day with the best and right things.
Here’s to saying YES to what is most important and living our twenty-four hours exactly the way we want to!