Happy New Year!
What are you going to do with all of those wonderful blank white spaces on your calendar this year? Like many of us, I am sure you already have many dates penciled in with those “known” items, such as birthdays, anniversaries, school breaks, national holidays, upcoming big events in the lives of your family and extended family like graduations, weddings, and births of children or grandchildren. Perhaps this year is one of transition for you, retirement, a move, or even the death of loved one which makes each special occasion hard because each holiday is an adjustment for every member of your family and for you.
So, how do you navigate, set your priorities, set some goals for yourself during this new year?
First and foremost you really need to decide what you value in your personal life and in your professional life. If you are willing to put your best foot forward today, you can do this, this weekend and put pencil to calendar and start 2015 with clarity and purpose and end 2015 with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Ready?
Write down all the things that you value in your personal life. [ This may sound too simplistic, but it is not. We take the people and things in our personal lives for granted and we think we do and say things that we do not and this shows up in our lives by our in-action.]
Write down all the things that you value in your professional life. This one will come much faster, because we feel a sense of urgency about it due to the fact it is connected to money and our ability to pay the bills. We tend to crowd out the other priorities in our lives be telling ourselves we are doing it for the better good of those in our personal life ~ but are we really?
Now you have two lists of things which are of high value in the two primary areas of your life. Your second step here is to prioritize each of these. One way you can do this is to think about what your own purpose is in life. In other words, why are you here on earth? What are here to do, be to those whom you serve through the work you do daily in your profession or service? Each of us has skills, gifts, knowledge, and a love or passion for certain thing(s) which we are either pouring our life into and getting enormous satisfaction out of or we are simply clocking in and out daily to in order to get a paycheck. How you show up each day will tell you if you have the answers to the questions above. What are your answers? Your answers will determine your priorities in your life and then you may now put those on your 2015 calendar.
I encourage you to leave white space [empty days at least monthly] to leave room for “serendipity”! We all need room to breathe, get away, reconnect with those we love, think, rejuvenate, go away on vacation and so on, and if you do not leave white space on your calendar, it will not happen. Having a calendar which is full each day, does not equal a full productive, happy fulfilled life; talk to someone who is over-scheduled, on the road, in the air, never home on the weekends, eating meals out all the time, ask them if they are really happy and have a sense of fulfillment in their lives.
I am a very visual person, so I sit down on New Year’s Day and take a break from watching football, take down the decorations my husband and I reconnect and take a break by syncing our calendars for the year. I take last year’s family calendar, my business calendar, and all my colorful stickers and begin with the known dates for the new year. If we need to make air travel and hotel reservations; we do it then to be sure to get good deals. We search the web for deals and it is a process, I will admit; but the most fun part is scheduling our get away time together! When you look at the year all at one time, it really becomes apparent how few white spaces are actually left for us!
I think if you approach it like this you will have a real awakening about this same thing. When you look at the entire new year at once you will see that there aren’t that many days left to really reconnect with those who mean the most to you. If nothing more, this exercise will get you to look at this whole idea of raising your awareness of where you are spending your most precious resource ~ your time!
Happy New Year!