How are you spending your time? It’s a simple question. Yet people struggle to answer and tell little lies. In our minds, many of us tell a story of doing all we can to make our dreams come true. It’s all the annoying people and impossible tasks keeping us from living the life of our dreams. I used to think this way, until I started doing the math.
Calculating how our time is spent typically reveals our obligations, inadequacies, vices, and shortcomings. It’s like this when we take a linear view of time. Realizing the nature of this thought pattern is a good first step, revealing where we are burdened, out of balance, or in a scarcity mindset. It may not be pretty to take a look at where your time is going.
As we sheltered in place over the past year, people across the world had to dramatically shift their lives. In a recent conversation with Gibrán Rivera, artist and culture strategist Favianna Rodriguez spoke about how her artmaking practice shifted during shelter-in-place. Instead of traveling over the past year, she completed 300-plus pieces of art. She has deepened relationships with humans, plants, and her animal pack. Now she knows the income from traveling to make art could fall away and her life would not fall apart. If people want her on an airplane, they will have to pay, because she has realized the cost to her, and the value to her of being rooted at home.
Every so often in my life, I realize it is not the way I thought or intended. Our time on the planet is our currency, our experiences. It is more valuable than anything we can possess. For many, especially those who have never experienced significant loss, “the future” holds the space where they live the life they want, yet I have found that the more people vision and enact what they want in the future now, the faster that future overtakes present reality.
What you do and think about, that is your life. Start noticing and documenting how you wish you were spending your time. Maybe it’s five minutes in the strawberry patch, or stopping just for a moment to take in the precision of water on rocks. Design your life like the flowers, each crocus and tulip both of its kind and of itself. Rodriguez is encouraging folks to make a list of things that changed during shelter in place that we want to keep or never allow back.
This tool helps you see where your time is going. When we know where our time is spent, we can identify our “Super Power” activities, the things in life that might serve multiple purposes with a small amount of time. Figuring out which activities are non-negotiable good things in our days is our responsibility, and our making it happen holds the potential for our own balance in order to be of greater service.
This article originally appeared in the Nonprofit Quarterly. See the original article here.