5 Easy Ways to Better Value Your Time

By , Alex Moody, M.Ed., Certified Yoga Teacher
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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SUZENNA 10/31/2017
Great article! Report
Great read. It's true! Knowing that you cleared everything on your to do list not only helps you feel better but also sleep better. I usually got the mundane 'must do' stuff done first but then i rarely found time to do things that i really loved. And that messed up my sleep .Since I could barely sleep with all that guilt nagging at me. However, since I found a va (habiliss) , i able to catch up on my beauty sleep :) Report
Thanks for this blog ~ it was just what I needed today! Report
When in doubt, organize. Brilliant! Thank you! Report
I wish I didn't have to constantly change my time (school schedule have to take the classes when they are available) but getting up with Tomato sounds like a great reason to have a plan and stick with the time management :-) Report
Thank you, great motivator Report
I'd probably go out for a walk with Tomato - what a cute name! Report
I needed this today!
Wow - thanks for this article! Oh, and for blowing a HUGE excuse out of the water for me. I was reading along and in the back of my mind I was thinking, "Yes, but I have this MASTER'S degree in Educational Leadership that trained me to be a college Student Affairs administrator, blah, blah, blah. How can I do what I'm passionate about when I've already spent time and money on what I'm doing now, blah, blah, blah." Then, I read your bio at the end of the article and saw that not only do you and I have the same type of Master's Degree, we also have the same Bachelor's Degree. Excuse blown. . . . . . lol Report
Thanks this is a help! Report
This was inspiring. Thanks. Report
This is an excellent blog. I want to save it and refer to it regularly. Where did the save button go? Report
thanks for sharing Report
I love the idea of $100 in energy. And I like the 5 tips. Now--to incorporate this into my life.... Report
Thanks...I agree the analogy of the $100 worth of energy is a great way yo help make that idea tangible.
Will use that one for sure!!
So many excellent points, especially the one about how we choose to spend our energy each day. That resonated with me. Report
I agree with NellieH1. To live what I believe means starting with prayer and meditation on scripture, then connection to others, then intentionality in planning my day, then exercise, healthy eating and decent sleep while organization seems to fall into place with the others in gear. Thanks for the reminder and sharing your thoughts. And, having felt "stuck" in a job that I didn't care for - try to make yourself an offering to that place. Whether it respectful optimism or kindness to each person you meet, or the best job you can do with what you are assigned, helping one person each day, etc., I have found that I can at least have a positive impact on a work place and maybe, on one person's life. I can't help but think about the checker who has a kind word when I am down, or laughs not frowns when I have to cancel & restart because I pulled out the wrong card. That one person can help turn a bad day around. I hope I am that one person most of the time! Report
Karen NY's comment really speaks to me. I feel trapped by my job that, as the previous poster put it so well, separates me from the rest of my life. Every time I get to planning all the things I want to do, I end up with all $100 of my energy bucks spent on my job. It feels like we have two options in America right now: have a job and no life, or be unemployed and destitute. I have my master's degree and cannot get a job that has anything to do with my educational background. I don't know how you made it work but it's a bright spot of hope to know that someone out there is living a life they love while also making a living. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on and tools for making a good life; keep it coming! Report
Great blog Alex! I need work in the organization department...I tend to resist being too organized because it feels it takes takes so much focus and wastes my creativity. But I am learning that it actually gives me more time to be creative by getting all the 'clutter' in my head or around me out of the way. I love the idea of morning intentions and setting my day up that way. It keeps me grounded and focused. I also like the idea of seeing energy as $100...where will I spend that in the day? It's a great analogy!
Thanks for a meaningful blog. Report
I need to organize better. When that happens, I will have it much better. I spend more time then I need to because I do not always prepare and I have many things in disarray. Report
Poor "Tomato". Report
It helps if you don't get married and have to take care of a husband. LOL Women tend to give all of their power over to other people. Report
How lucky for you to have a job that so neatly integrates with your intentions and values, and how you love to use your time. Many of us are not so blessed; being trapped by obligations in a stagnant economy makes career mobility impractical. I completely agree that there is a difference between making a living and making a life, but any tips for those of us who are exhausted by the jobs that are separate from the rest of our lives?
While Alex makes some great points here, I would hope that "Tomato" would find some time scheduled in that "important relationship" timetable! Report
This makes so much sense. I find myself wasting those hours and then I am frustrated that I didn't do a better job at my day. I have great intentions but it is so easy to get off track. With the new month ahead, I am going to make a special effort to do these 5 things every day. Don't know how this streak will last, but each day gives me a chance to try again. Thanks for the insightful article Report
Five ways in which to get our priorities in line is what I hear you saying. And I agree with the process. I would just flip the steps around a bit. For me 1. To live what I believe, so my day begin with GOD (prayer and scripture) 2. To connect in relationship with those around me 3. To be intentional about the day ahead 4. To organize 5. To exercise, eat and sleep healthfully. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Report
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