A healthier relationship to time management (Part I of the Six Intentions)
I’ve decided it’s time to formally introduce you to the main pillars that guide my work.
As my coaching has evolved, I’ve uncovered six principles that are essential ingredients to be able to address your own needs even while caring for others. I call them the Six Intentions.
They are at the core of my coaching programs and at the core of my writing.
To give each of these guiding principles the attention they deserve, I’m going to break them out into two posts.
Today, I’ll be naming the three intentions that lie at the center of how you spend your time. Think of the them as the alternative to yet another time management tool. They are the underlying beliefs and habits that will allow you to free some space for your own needs, rather than just attempting to squeeze in self-care in the in-between moments (because that never lasts and isn’t enough!).
As I describe each of these for you, take a moment to consider how they currently play out in your life and how you could cultivate them more intentionally a little bit at a time.
Let’s get into it.
Align with your values
What it is: Aligning with your values means taking stock of what makes you feel most fulfilled and most true to who you are, and making sure that your current commitments and obligations are aligned with those things.
Why it’s important: If you feel stuck because you don’t have any time for yourself but also can’t let go of any of your other obligations, this is a vital first step. A holistic look at what’s going on in your life and how each of those commitments do or don’t line up with what you need and who you want to be shakes up the paradigm and allows you to look at things differently and start to make changes.
My approach to aligning with your values is to consider moments when you have felt most fulfilled and most yourself and deduce your primary values from those experiences. This is completely different from listing out priorities for ethical behavior (“be kind”, “be generous”, “be genuine” etc.) and lends itself to a much more personal and practical analysis. Then, we use those values to analyze your current commitments and figure out what’s truly important to you.
(pst…I offer a bite-sized coaching program to do just this! Check out Overwhelm Detox: Your Jumpstart to a More Manageable Daily Life.)
What it is: Releasing urgency means believing it’s okay to slow down and that there’s enough time to get done what is truly important.
Why it’s important: Urgency tells us that everything needs to get done now. We over-commit because urgency tells us we need to be constantly productive and moving toward our goals. And we feel horribly stressed by our commitments because of that same sense of urgency. And yet, when we stop rushing around, time somehow expands. Not everything we planned to accomplish needs to happen in the time frame we originally expected. Without this shift, it’s impossible to find balance or true self-care.
My approach to releasing urgency is using an awareness of the body to notice how it shifts to fight or flight mode when it’s activated by urgency, and how it relaxes when we let go. This is de-stressing on a chemical level. Practically, releasing urgency means questioning your assumptions about what really needs to get done and intentionally putting things off that can wait.
Empower others and yourself through boundaries
What it is: Boundaries are the things we ask for or say “no” to in order to protect our emotional and physical well-being. Empowering others and yourself through boundaries means understanding the value of those boundaries not only to you, but to those you direct them at, as well.
Why it’s important: When we go around taking as much burden away from other people as we can, we fall into rescue mode. Letting go of some of the responsibility of saving everyone around you not only allows you to take better care of yourself, but creates a healthy culture of boundaries, and also encourages those who may have been asking for too much from you to be stronger versions of themselves, instead.
My approach to empowering others and yourself through boundaries is to demystify the word “no” and take away the extra meaning from it (“no” does not always mean someone is angry, disappointed, or disinterested!), and then to practice setting boundaries with extra doses of gratitude for the person they are directed at and extra doses of self-compassion for yourself. Gratitude and self-compassion can make any day a little brighter!
There they are - the three intentions for integrated self-care that focus specifically on how you relate to your time commitments.
In the coming months, I’ll be writing in more detail about each of these so that you can delve more deeply into their place in your life.
Tell me in the comments, how do you currently feel about aligning with your values, releasing urgency, and empowering others and yourself through boundaries in your own life? Which one speaks to you the most? What do you need to be able to integrate it into your way of thinking and way of operating?
Finally, if you would like personalized, one-on-one support in bringing these 3 intentions into your day-to-day life, so that you can have more time and energy for yourself, check out my 8-week coaching program Beyond Time Management.
To your intentional life,
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