Last week we shared a tool, Circle of Life, for identifying those areas in your life that are out of balance. Hopefully that exercise provided some insight into your Primary Foods (career, relationships, physical activity, and spirituality) that might need some attention. However, in order to make time for your priorities, you have to ditch the things that are using up your time and drain your energy.
In his book, The Motivation Manifesto, Brendon Burchard explains that in order to reclaim our lives and make each day fulfilling, "we must take a long, unflinching look at our habit of giving our lives and agendas over to others or to meaningless things. We have to say no more often...We have to fight harder to safeguard our time and our dreams and our souls." When our days are filled with serving the needs of everyone but ourselves, we risk what Burchard calls "the ultimate misery: living a life that is not our own."
Just like you clean out the cabinets and closets, spring cleaning can involve clearing your calendar too. First, you need to figure out what is eating up those precious hours. We all get 24 hours in a day, and if you aren't sure where all of that time is going, spend a week tracking your time. Keep a detailed account of your days for a full week - track everything from the time you wake up to when you go to sleep. You can use a journal, a planner, the calendar in your phone, or an online document, whatever works best for you.
Then at the end of the week, take a look back at your log. Where are you spending time on things that deplete your energy or take your focus away from what's important to you. Maybe you're spending an hour or more per day mindlessly scrolling social media or watching TV. Do you check email 50 times a day, or find yourself procrastinating a project that you don't want to do?
In our society of busyness and filling our time hurrying from one thing to another as a stamp of our "success" we have given up control over our lives. Burchard goes on later in the book to say "It must be a main aim of our lives to rekindle the magic of life. We mustn't live in the darkness of our doubts, the shadows of the joyless, or the clutches of the energy vampires. Let us remember that life's purpose is to live - to live freely, vibrantly, joyously, madly, consciously, lovingly, enthusiastically."
Once you have identified those "energy vampires," make a plan to replace them with actions that support your primary foods that are out of balance. For example, if you are dissatisfied with your relationships, make a commitment to call a friend or family member twice a week. Or if physical activity is lacking, block time in your calendar to take a 15 minute walk five days per week.