Cultivating Your Personal Time

I have it in my head that in order to be effective, I must be busy. My Google Calendar looks like a terrifying game of four-dimensional Tetris; every appointment and meeting fits neatly into the ones around it. I schedule in things like yoga classes, and dinner with friends, but I forget to add “sit down and read your book,” or “lay around with your sweetie and listen to records” to the schedule. I definitely never pencil in time for making art, turning the compost, or sitting in the hammock. And, when I do sit down at the end of the day with my book, there’s this little voice that hisses, “What about those emails you should be sending? Shouldn’t you be starting a load of laundry, or cleaning the kitchen?” My least favorite emotion, Guilt, starts to cozy up to me, running his bony fingers across my forehead and ruining my restful moment.

Why? That’s the question, right? Why do we feel guilty resting? Why do we wait until we have driven ourselves to exhaustion or illness to lay in bed and rest?

Christine Arylo has an answer that makes me really uncomfortable, but I can’t come up with a better one. She says that we don’t value resting as much as we value doing.

So, how can I prove that resting is actually as productive as doing?  

Here are my thoughts:

  1. Taking personal time actually makes my business time more effective. When I feel well rested and inspired, I breeze through the work day.
  2. If I do nothing but work, my brain is bored and boring. When I talk with friends, read interesting books, and make art, I have so much more to bring to my clients and my writing.
  3. Allowing myself to rest will make me healthier, and being healthier will allow me to do my work years longer than just working nights and weekends, and burning out in five years.

This week’s mission is to add value to resting; to clear out the busy-busy, and make room for the love! That’s where autumn, harvest season, comes in. Some of us use “being busy” as an excuse not to spend time alone, or spend time thinking about some of the tough parts of our lives. What if you gave yourself time to experience your emotions?

By rushing through the unpleasant moments of your life, you might be missing some of the wonderful ones. When I take a couple hours to unwind on Sunday afternoon, I have time to notice all of the small ways my family shows they love me. Hugs and smiles that I might have been missed float to the top of my attention.

So, this season, I am shedding the busy-busy, and harvesting peace and love (not to sound like a total flower child). What are you letting go of, as the trees drop their leaves? What are you harvesting?

(P.S. I am a Wellness Counselor in Boulder, Colorado. I teach women how to think and eat healthier for optimal physical and emotional wellbeing. Learn more at IdealNourishment.com and read more blog entries here.)