Everyone on the planet has one incredible thing in common. Every week, we are each given 168 hours to do what we please, to create and share our worlds, to make choices that decide our future, and to fill our hearts up with what makes them beat with excitement. What wakes us up in life and how we spend our time are one in the same.
The time I have today, teaching yoga and building a new business, is completely different than when I worked a 9-to-5 gig. My goals with practicing yoga and writing balance each day, as well as my love for CrossFit and Pilates. I like having a full plate at the beginning of each day and slowly clearing it as the day goes along. Except for on weekends, where I don’t do any "work" at all (only occasionally subbing for yoga classes).
My goal is to end each day with the satisfaction that it was well spent. I want to be able to sit back, enjoy a glass of red wine, and know that I contributed to something bigger than myself. Knowing this, over the past couple of years I have developed ways to utilize my time to its fullest. These five tips speak to me, and hopefully to you as well.
1. Setting Morning Intentions. As a yoga instructor who is starting a new business, intentions and goals are everything. They are also one in the same. If I wake up foggy, my yoga practice is there to clear up the fog, and then I am ready to start the day. Don’t get me wrong, my intentions can shift throughout the day. However, when things become busy or stressful I reconnect with my intention. I reconnect with what got me to this perfect place in the first place. Because no matter what happens, we are all right where we need to be all of the time.
2. Live Your Values. What do you value most in this world? Family? Security? Balance? Creativity? We all value something different—and these values can change weekly, even daily. However, where we spend our time is a direct reflection of what we value in life. Whenever I don’t take the time to write and do something creative, I feel less alive. That time is important to me and I seek it out. It’s filling me up as I write this blog, right now.
3. Sleep Well. I’ve been there. It’s early in the morning and my dog, Tomato, is pacing around my hardwood-floored apartment, hoping I will give her the time of day or maybe get up extra early for a sunrise walk. I wake up annoyed at her, not ready to start my day quite yet and stressed at all that I have to do for that day and how I really, really needed that twenty minutes of extra sleep and if I had just gotten that I wouldn’t have had to wait in line at my favorite coffee shop and I wouldn’t have had to cut that guy off on the highway while driving to teach yoga—it all started right at the beginning of my day and I completely took it with me all day long, punishing the world as I went along. Sigh. Yes, my sleep was interrupted and yes, I made the choice to take it with me all day long. And no, this does not have to be my reality. The average night of sleep, for me, looks like about 8 hours. I value those hours, and yes, am sometimes attached to that time amount, but after stressful, sleepless nights in grad school, I learned to value my sleep health.
4. Create Time for Important Relationships. With my new career transition, the first thing I did was set up a series of coffee dates with amazing women in my city. I wanted to be connected to something larger than myself, and I wanted to be present to their lives as well as mine. When we don’t fully listen in our relationships, we are actually stealing time from them. How often do we nod our heads in agreement with absolutely no idea what our valued friend had to say? I think of it like this: each morning, I wake up with $100 in energy. Where do I want to spend my money today? Do I want to give twenty bucks to the person ranting in line at the grocery store or do I want to call and connect with a family member I haven’t talked to in weeks? We all decide in each moment where we want to spend our energy.
5. When in Doubt, Organize. There are some amazing resources out there and a whole industry on how to be a better, brighter YOU. Take advantage of the information age that we now live in and investigate. What type of support do you need to better organize? We are all different. I relate my time to a practice, like yoga, because that speaks to me. Excel spreadsheets mapping out my time? I get anxiety just writing that! But perhaps it energizes you.
Time and energy go hand in hand. If what you are doing right now doesn’t energize you, change it. As a career consultant I see so many people who aren’t doing what they love, and their life tends to drag on, one step at a time. What’s that next step for you? Is it a soft splash? Is it a tip toe into something new? Perhaps today it is a giant leap. The beauty is: it’s all up to you.
What do you value most in life? How do you make time for it?
Originally from Northern Virginia, Alex is a graduate from Appalachian State University in creative writing. With her master's in education from the University of Virginia and work experience at both U.Va. and UNC Asheville as a career counselor, Alex is happy to blend her two of her passions: yoga and career exploration to create Align Yoga and Wellness. Alex trained for her 230-hour yoga certification and 500-hour yoga therapy at Asheville Yoga Center, where she also currently teaches. Known for awesome playlists, you can also check out her blog at yogaforawesomeness.com and her website at alignyogaandwellness.com.
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