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?
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!