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"Don't mistake activity with achievement"

This is a great quote by Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden. Since so often we fill our days with errands to run, emails to write, work and family business to attend to (and usually without any semblance of, or God forbid, non-structured free time), it's important to frequently re-evaluate where our resources are being spent. Most importantly, are we using our time, money and mental energy on experiences and people that we value?

In looking at a snapshot of my own calendar, I'm finding that I spend time on things I think I should be doing. While some of the items on this to-do list must get done for the sake of clean underwear (wash clothes) and food to eat (go grocery shopping), not all of the things on my list reflect what I say I value. I've said I want to put more emphasis on relationships this year, but haven't actually put forth any concerted effort in this area. I say I really want to get out of the house but I've made ne'er plans outside of Netflix and jammies.
Our prescription for getting back on track and aligning our to-do list with what we say we want is simple - STOP. Stop trying to fit it all in. Stop trying to squeeze the minutes out of every day and trying to read email while watching tv, cooking, and multi-tasking in general. Since none of us have figured out how to add more hours to the day, it makes sense that something will eventually have to give. We can't do it all in one day and being busy doesn't necessarily mean we're moving forward. If our to-do list don't move us closer to our ultimate goals, then what was the point of all that time and energy spent?

Knowing this, how do we decide what to let go of? Maybe a better question is "what do we want to say 'yes' to?" In 5 Things I Did to Sober Up From My Busy-ness Addiction, it shows a few ways we can break down the belief that we should constantly be doing something. In this article, she says "busy-ness was the enemy of presence" and we couldn't agree more.

If we think about it, being busy is akin to clutter. If you walked into someone's home and every surface was covered and all the drawers and cabinets were filled to the brim, you'd immediately think "hoarder" and probably wouldn't be comfortable staying in that place for long. This is essentially what we do internally when we pack our minds and our lives with a ton of stuff, most of which (like hoarders) we don't actually need. How to De-Clutter Your Mind with Mental Minimalism talks about how applying the minimalist concept to our mental space can create a whole new way of prioritizing our many lists and cleaning up our thoughts in general.

This week, try taking two things off your plate. Just see how it feels to have more time in your day and more mental room to relax. Another way of creating mental space is starting, or deepening a meditation practice. Doing so gives us the ability to accurately put our to-do list in perspective and spoiler alert - nothing on that list is critical.
And for those of us who can't break the habit just yet and are dying to write a list to get started, there's a practical guide and step by step instructions on how to prioritize your life by what you value, rather than what you think you should be doing. Time is truly a luxury. Keeping this in mind, it makes sense to spend it wisely.

Click to hear the "What's Worth Holding On To" podcast

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