I am lucky enough to get to drop my boys off at school two to three times a week. Yep, I’m lucky. You may ask why I feel so lucky to be responsible for such a mundane task. Because I used to get to do it every day. It’s easy to take time for granted when you expect it will always be there. That expectation didn’t hold true for me when their dad and I split. I am grateful for every moment I get. I could just drop them off in the car line but I park and walk them in and give them one more hug. Because it’s worth it. It’s always worth it. Time is never guaranteed, no matter what your situation is.
When I was leaving school recently I was walking behind another mother who had been dropping her child at preschool. This mother was also holding a baby and had a little girl walking beside her. It was a cool and rainy day and the little girl was holding a tiny umbrella almost bigger than she was. I said “hi” to the little girl and asked her if I could borrow her umbrella to protect me from the rain. She adamantly answered NO! as many girls her age would. Her mom laughed and noted how quickly children learn the meaning of no. It’s so true! Kids say no ALL. THE. TIME. As parents, it can be so super frustrating. But we can understand why they say it – they don’t want to spend their time doing what they were asked to do. Most of the time we as parents make them do it anyway, but I can respect that kids are honest that they’re not excited about the task at hand.
Then what happens when we become adults? Do we completely forget that we can say NO? Just when we become old enough to control how we spend our time, we forget how to. As adults, the simple act of saying NO becomes a distant memory. When’s the last time you said NO to spending your time doing something that doesn’t truly fulfill you? Spending our precious time doing things that don’t fill our buckets is clutter. I don’t think this is technically a term but I’m going to coin it now – TIME CLUTTER. Look at everything you spend your time doing. If it doesn’t meet one of these criteria, maybe it needs to go:
- When you are finished are you happier than you were before you did it?
- Does it meet one of your core values? Meaning, is it putting effort towards something that’s really important to you? Not all activities have to be fun or make you happy, but they are fulfilling if they are filling one of your core values. For example, sitting thru the second hour of your daughter’s swim practice for the third time this week may not make you happy, but it’s fulfilling because your children are a core value.
- Does it move you closer to the life you want?
These criteria can be applied to any type of clutter. Take a few moments today to consider how you’re spending YOUR time. The only guarantee about our time is that it’s limited. Make sure you’re spending YOUR time the way YOU want to.