How we spend our time and how we spend our emotional energy everyday makes up our life. We let outside events and other peoples priorities take over our day and we lose our ability to create the awesome life we want for ourselves. We ourselves don’t manage how we spend our energy and time and then blame what we get in life on external factors and others.
What are your big rocks?
The key concept here is that you must schedule time for your most important priorities first. If you don’t, you will never get to them. Essentially what gets scheduled gets done. The opposite is also true: what doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done. Stephen Covey talks about this concept at length in the “Third Habit” of Self Mastery:
Habit 3: Put First Things First:
Prioritize, plan, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals, and enrich the roles and relationships. Source: Wikipedia
For many years I considered “scheduling” as boring or not spontaneous. Today, I choose to drop this limiting belief for an affirmation – “I create my great life by respecting what is important to me by creating sacred time bucket for it and giving it my best energy”
Today more than ever we are pulled in various directions. Today we have our email / chat / phone chiming every few minutes. Today, there are hundreds of different TV channels add to that we also have sites like Facebook, Twitter, and more that honestly were build on our incessant need to be connected and be bombarded.
A few weeks ago when I took my daughter and son out for dinner my Smart Phone chimed and I attended to it. At which my 14 year old daughter said to me – “Dad could you not ignore that”. I instinctively just replied – “I was just…. I mean I could”. At which my 10 year old son said – “Of course he could but the question is does he want to!”
This shook me up and I realized that inadvertently I was telling my children that an unknown -and most likely absolutely trivial and non-urgent – distraction was more important to me than them. Then I realized that I need to make my time with my kids “sacred”.
Today, I believe that I need to have “Sacred Time Buckets” based on the “Big Rocks” (e.g. my kids) that I respect and follow religiously.
What makes time sacred?
We often find ourselves saying to our loved ones “you are really important to me” and we get frustrated when they give us a look of disbelief. If we are in denial we may even go to the extent of saying – “But I did this for you…spent this time with you… what more can I do!”. Even though you may have spent the time or done something what is really lacking is the sacredness which can not be hidden with words, logic or explanation. It is either “felt to be sacred or not”.
There are many elements in making your time sacred for the important people and activities in your life:
Only emergencies allowed
How many times do you allow “others so called emergencies” to change your plan? The truth is there are really only very few real emergencies in life, rest all is just us wanting to escape from doing something because it is not comfortable or truly not important to us. As you mature in this aspect, you will realize that your definition of emergency converges towards what hospitals call emergencies and rest all becomes subjective and questionable potential distraction.
While I am advocating being disciplined allow for few surprises or spontaneous high quality changes based on principles of pure joy and service to loved ones and self.
Many a times we set up a routine, of say, going out with a loved one on a particular day and then over time it becomes routine and mechanical. To make your time sacred, one needs to learn to be completely “emotionally and mentally present”. Many of us say that it is difficult to be so when there are so many issues that come up in the day.. you know I am tired, I had a rough day and so on. We fail at being emotionally present because we try hard to fight the thoughts of what went wrong earlier, instead what ought to do is remind ourselves of the “reason why this is important to you and the beauty of what you intend to create in the long run through this sacred bucket of time”. Drama and issues will keep happening around you, keep your eye and energy on the important.
Another way to ensure that you are emotionally present is to have larger time gaps between important buckets. These time gaps could be called “cave time” where you go into your cave and sulk or do whatever and get out refreshed and ready to be present.
Emotional presence is also about “managing energy” around you. You have to create a system whereby you shield yourself from “negative or disturbing energy” whether it is coming from other people, your mind (need to be more meditative), your physical space, or your body (need to have toxin free healthy body). I will cover each of the three areas of managing emotional, space, and body energy in three subsequent posts.
In the end of it all, what makes a time sacred or not is whether you got a WOW feeling at the end of the time. If not, it is clear that there are improvements to be made for how the time bucket is used next time around.
When looking at human relations remember that consistent casual relating for either killing time or to avoid real pending issues or fulfilling sort of duty can harm any good relation deeply. If there is no meaningful sharing its better to take a break from the relation and the quality of relation will not only sustain it may even get better. Of course genuine laughter and humor is not casual but highly enriching and essential for relationships. Also remember that lack of humor is the first sign of losing “sense of presence”.
Suggestions for Sacred Time Bucket
Here are some types of sacred time buckets you may want to consider.
Daily – 30 to 60 minutes (morning to evening order)
- Reading (not newspapers)
- Work creativity
- Work relationship
- Work admin
- Work new busineses and planning
- Cave time – time with self
- Leisure (not TV soaps)
Weekly – half day or evening
- Friends special
- Love special
- Children special
- Work – planning days
- Work – people days
- Self retreat
Monthly – half to two days
- Outdoor short
- Groups and clubs
- Spiritual retreat
- Family outings
Quarterly / Annual – 3 days to 10 days
- Family get together. / reunions
- Spiritual retreats
- Trek’s outdoor
I leave you to ponder on a few questions.
How many time buckets do you have that are sacred to you? That you do not compromise on? Who and What are they for? What are the stories you have been telling yourself and others about “what is important to you?” Are you truly maintaining the sacredness of these time buckets? What changes would you like to make to your time buckets and how you approach them?