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The Currency You Are Likely to Lose
One busy night recently, I picked this recipe. First, my son has loved chicken nachos ever since he indulged on a family trip to Vegas. Second, each family member can add or subtract ingredients to their liking. Finally, I could prep most of the ingredients in advance.
With a little planning, this meal was a yummy treat on a hectic night.
That’s not always the case though. It sometimes happens that I plan and don’t execute, which leaves me fashioning an entire meal out of the contents of my purse at the last minute (or from in between the car seats – don’t judge). I suppose we all have those experiences where we have great intentions, but run out of time. The truth is that where we choose to put our energy and time dictates our outcome.
Many of us budget our money with the vigilance of a sentinel. Some of us actively seek the best deals or stash away our surplus dollars in hopes of an early retirement. We are bombarded with tips for budgeting, saving and maximizing the growth of every cent. Since tax season has just ended, you may not be surprised that I was struck so keenly this year by the idea that money, time and energy are all just currency.
Unlike money though, we can’t make more time or more energy. We can’t amass it like wealth. And if that’s true, doesn’t that make our time and energy all the more precious? Yet, we are willing to give it away without much thought each and every single day.
In today’s economy, there are very few who would stand in the middle of a street and toss money into the wind (well, I would toss Oprah’s money into the wind to see the joy in others, but it’s not my money so that probably doesn’t count!).
Conversely, if you spend energy and time with great intention and passion, the rewards will be magical, or at least far more satisfying.
Think about what you do during the day.
Is most of it aligned with your goals and values?
How many things do you do because you’ve always done them?
After a particularly rough parenting patch, I sat down and evaluated all the things I did for my son that I considered a luxury. Noticing that I drove him to and from school every day turned out to be an epiphany. You might think it’s easy to pick him up from school, and it is, but the bus stop is LITERALLY outside our door. And my day is already so chopped up that one little request for him to ride the bus most days after school saved me a lot of hassle. I had never thought of that small change, but it was like handing me free money!
I had just created 45 extra minutes in my day in which I could spend my energy on something far more meaningful to me. I had also saved myself a ton of energy because doing something aligned with my goals and values takes less energy than doing something that feels “meh.”
I love my kid and I still bring him to school every morning, but taking the afterschool bus worked out for both of us. He has made new friends, has had to weather a few bumps (I don’t mean the pothole kind), and has gained independence.
Becoming aware of and fixing energy and time leaks in your day can really pay off.
Since February, participation in my fitness class has dwindled. Personally, I noticed that my motivation and desire to teach the class shrunk along with attendance. I usually take the summer off anyway, but I typically hold on until the end of May. It’s only mid-April! Didn’t I owe the dedicated few my loyalty to finish out what I thought was the end of the year? I considered it thoughtfully.
And then I abruptly canceled class.
I didn’t do it to be selfish or irresponsible. I contacted my most loyal customers to share my plan and had the schedule changed to reflect my decision. The truth was I started losing energy every time I woke up and forced myself to lead a class that no longer felt fun. Even though I love my fitness classes, I can tell when I need a break. This time, waiting until May felt like torture.
I now wake up every morning feeling relaxed and ready to head out for a five mile hike with my short legged dog. I haven’t gain any time (walking that far takes a while!) but each morning when I wake up light and happy, I am preserving energy. The energy it took to get my dance outfit on and gear myself up to teach a class far exceeded the ease with which I slip into my current morning routine. In fact, I have even started running again!
Completing the tasks most aligned with your goals and values is like banking time and energy.
Slogging through tasks that feel hard and uninspiring consumes precious time and energy that you will never get back.
So, if you ever want to make changes in your life consider this: Your time and energy, unlike money, is finite. You can’t make more. If you continue to spend your currency on things you don’t want, you will continue to cultivate things don’t want.
If there is something you have always wanted to do, you’ll need to budget your time differently so you can start to manifest that you want.
Writing a blog or making a recipe doesn’t pay me actual money, but I create time to do it because I gain energy when I spend time alone writing and reflecting.
What you yearn for will never come to pass if you can’t give it your time and energy. Worse yet is that we are willing to do all kinds of tasks that feel like slogging through mud, or continue to do tasks we’ve always done because we believe we “should.”
Those tasks take twice as much of your energy to accomplish.
That’s a lot of wasted dough, my friends. Make your return on investment as delicious as this loaded nacho recipe…
And start investing in yourself.
Peace & Light,
The Busy Buddha
Talk Back to the Trio
What conscious effort do you make to preserve your time and energy?
Tell us about changes you have made that left you happier!