“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
— Mary Oliver (from her poem ‘The Summer Life”)
There are 168 hours in each week.
After you take out the hours for sleeping (50 hours) and working (35-40 hours), you have less than 80 hours left in a week for essential chores, travel, care of others, appointments, exercising, spending time with loved ones and anything else you want to do with your time. How do you truly WANT to spend those 80 or so hours every week?
The reality is that almost all of us are filling our time with things we don’t actually want to do. This might be things we somehow fall into doing, like mindlessly scrolling through social media for hours every day or it is also those things we think we ‘should’ be doing.
But should is a bit of danger signal in our Eat Sleep Play Repeat circles.
‘Should’ is a signpost that you are operating from a limiting belief, usually from childhood conditioning or societal norms. Should normally highlights something you think you ought to be doing, but your heart’s not in it – it’s not aligned to what you really want in your life.
Consider the overwhelmed mum,
juggling business and family, trying her hardest to provide home-cooked meals and packed lunches for the family, because that’s what mums do right? Anything less would be failing as a mum and so she resists the option of using meal kits or meal delivery for 3-4 days per week, because that would be… well… cheating, wouldn’t it? But is planning, shopping, preparing and cooking food for the family how she wants to spend nearly a quarter of her precious 80 hours each week?
And when it comes to stuff we think we ‘have’ to do, we usually feel like we just don’t have a choice. And that is why we believe that we don’t have time. But the truth is that we ALWAYS have a choice, even when we think we don’t. There are millions of parents around the world who don’t provide healthy meals to their family every day, for all sorts of reasons – they may pay others to look after their children, they may not live with them or they just may not have the capacity to do so. The reason you do (or at least try) is because it is one of your highest values to provide healthy meals to your family – you CHOOSE to do so. But you could also choose something else. You could choose to use meal kits or meal delivery for some nights or the week (no, it’s NOT more expensive) or you could share responsibility for meals with other members of the family. Even a young child can gain a LOT, while having fun, from taking on the responsibility to plan a healthy meal, put the ingredients on your shopping list, cook and clean afterwards once a week. If our overwhelmed mum is only cooking and cleaning 2-3 times per week, she’ll gain back 10-12 hours or so in her week AND likely rediscover her joy in cooking a nourishing meal for the family, while her family benefits from more consistent meals AND a happier mum!
Even if this example isn’t you, you’ll probably find many similar situations in your life and the clue to finding them is noting when you feel like you “have to” or “should” do something.
These words are a great indicator of a limiting belief and it’s worth digging a little deeper. Delve into the reasons you feel that you ‘have’ to do this thing. And give some thought to the exact outcome that you want. In our example, ask yourself if you want to be a great mum who cooks wonderful wholesome meals or do you just want to ensure that your family are provided with wonderful wholesome meals? It’s important to stop, take stock and define what being a good mum means for YOU! Perhaps it means cooking, perhaps it means being less stressed so you can have quality time with your kids, but it’s only when you know what is MOST important to you, that you will be able to make better decisions around your time. It’s really about growing your awareness around your self-identity, your values and your priorities, so that you can make choices that work for you. Otherwise, you really will be wasting your precious hours on ‘should’ and lamenting that you never have time for what you ‘want’.
This is why we use mindfulness in all of our programs and coaching at Eat Sleep Play Repeat.
Mindfulness, or getting Present in the moment, really helps you to grow your awareness around what really matters to you, so that you can work from a place of conscious intent, rather than through unconscious repetition of habits created from limiting beliefs. Getting mindful can be simple and easy, even if you are super stressed and don’t feel you have time to sit and do nothing – it really can take just 3-5 minutes a day. You might like to get started with a few slow deep belly breaths (see our Bitesize Health Hack #1 for more on that) or a short meditation each day (Bitesize Health Hack #3 will help you with that).
Because if you’re going to answer Mary Oliver’s question “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” you first have to know what it is you WANT to do with your one wild and precious life.
All my love, Suze
Hi, I’m Suze Robertson, and I bring a wealth of qualifications and experience to researching the latest health and wellness science so that you can find more health, wealth, happiness and wisdom in your life, without using your precious time.
But more importantly than that: I have been where you are now. Tired. Burnt Out. Unhealthy. And totally over it...
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