Human nature can be kind of funny. Or at least, my nature as the human I am. Let me elaborate! It is my experience, for myself and outside of myself, that the ability to budget one’s money (for example) becomes increasingly more difficult when you have none. While I’m sure at least one person mustered up a genuine LOL for that more than obvious statement, bare with me.
Of course managing money you don’t have is difficult. That’s a given. It is the red zone that gets to… well, a lot of people. Once you reach that negative point, you yourself will get a little… negative. That’s where the irony comes in. Most people will work themselves into a buying trend when, in fact, they should be freezing their credit cards! Maybe it isn’t that obvious to everyone because they don’t exactly go on a shopping spree for some significant addition to their wardrobe (my current feat!). For some, it is stopping by the drive through for a quick bite, allowing just one more $6 latte to feel better about life, sneaking in a candy bar, treating yourself to a new video game, allowing for just one more eyeshadow color… and a variety of other seemingly weightless straws that become the pile that breaks your back. This! however, is just an example that a lot of people can relate to, myself included.
What I’m really talking about is time.
I’m one of those people that “performs best under pressure” (depending how you define pressure, if you’re going to micromanage me or get all yelly, I’m out!). I have a harder time dealing with a few odds and ends than I did with 2-3 jobs on top of full time schooling (and let me tell you, full time Masters Degree life is hardly ever done alongside a more than full time job). Like a lot of people compelled to spend money to ultimately feel better about being out of money (the suddenly “I NEED everything” syndrome), wasting time or perfecting the art of procrastination comes naturally when time is not of the essence. It’s no surprise that this same subconscious thought patterns for time or money lend to how many of us treat our health – giving up when we’ve gone too far and allowing ourselves one more taste of something that won’t serve us in any way or one more minute of just sitting, doing nothing.
It’s a snowball effect that can only be stopped through being entirely aware that you don’t NEED anything!
So many meditations, yoga mantras, poems, etc. in life all lend to one teaching: Honor What Serves You. It is the final words prior to namaste that make a yoga class so healing to me; the common, “Let the higher power in me serve the higher power in you, namaste.” These simple teachings emulate presence in the NOW and service towards ourselves so that we may be better able to serve others.
The only way out is to think ahead. Realize. Know long before you’ve spent your paycheck, that you don’t need to spend money in order to honor yourself with some kind of reward or peace of mind. And if you still choose to do so, it doesn’t have to be that $6 latte, it can be a $1 tea or making it yourself (even better!). Spend your Friday afternoon planning your priorities on how you’re going to spend your time on an upcoming, busy Monday. Honor yourself by allowing for a few “easy to do’s” at the top of your list to get the day started on the right foot, feeling as though you’re getting things done! Plan time for yourself.
All of these areas in life – time, money, health – work together. It is up to you to make it for you or against you. If one is out of sync, the rest probably follow. Think about the big picture: plan to spend some time to yourself (time) on a long walk (health) to take some photos of those beautiful parts of life you so often overlook (money, pssst this activity is FREE and rewarding!).
If your reaction to that is to say, “Ha, ya, when do I have the time?” then you’re letting it all work against you. If you really need help getting into a more positive habit, take the show on the road! During those first 30 minutes of the day that you most likely use to check email and sort through your various social media feeds, find something else to motivate you out of bed. Walk somewhere for a cheap morning cup of green tea and on your way, flip through your phone as you normally would. It’s the kind of multitasking that isn’t all bad for you.
For myself, I don’t need to check my email often, so I set my phone and computer to manual checking only. No more automated “ding of death” (really, with some people, there is no easier way of raising my blood pressure!). I do need to relax, wind down, and prep myself for that rare occasion of a good night of rest, so I give myself a little time to do a bit of “nothing” at night and likewise, set my phone to auto silence at 7:30pm – no dinner interruptions, no evening interruptions, no scrolling for hours before bedtime.
Through all the years of strapping myself for time, the #1 reason I was successfuly was because I understood my limits and gave myself what I needed. I never made plans on a Sunday. I dedicated the entire day to last minute wrap ups (mostly homework) and relaxation. If I ever didn’t honor this, I’d be late to work on a Monday and the rest of the week would pile up precariously. Knowing I’d get all my rest in on a Sunday, I’d stack the beginning of my week (and still do) with a week’s worth of priorities, numbered and organized. I know that by mid week, regardless of how hard I have worked I start to get worn out. So I dedicate to completing 80% of my week’s to-do list over Monday and Tuesday alone, leaving Wednesday for anything pushed back by pesky add-in tasks, Thursday for going the extra mile (additional training, personally contacting students/clients, etc.), and Friday for a bit of reflection and a head start on organizing the following week. In the busier eras of my life, that was very easy. Throughout other periods of life, there’s no greater resource than a RESTART button to help put everything back in order.
People often ask me about staying healthy and paying down debts. My only response is that it all begins with time. If you can organize your time with your health and debt in mind, everything else will follow. These areas aren’t all separate quadrants, needing another chunk out of your day; each of these elements works within the other. So start with square one: Honor Your Higher Self.
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