There are three buckets of resources that we have the opportunity to manage that make all the difference in our experience here in this now life; time, energy, and money. At different seasons of our lives, we may have more or less of each of these categories, or place a higher premium on one over another. For a period of my life when I had less time and more money, it made sense for me to pay for services that gave me time back in my day, like landscaping or cleaning my home. All three of these categories work together and inevitably impact each other. For example, if I enjoyed cleaning and it gave me energy, it might be worth it to me to complete that task myself. It doesn’t, so I don’t. To each their own.
In my observations, it seems as if one of these buckets never has a surplus because we are really good about spending more than we have in that category. For me, that has always been energy. I have a knack for spending energy in ways that don’t suit me because I think that I “should” or I made a commitment. For the first time in my life, I have begun to counteract this by repeatedly slashing my “To-Do” lists and time commitments and cutting anything that wasn’t a “Hell Yes.” It’s not to say that things don’t slip back in or preferences don’t change, so this process is repeated frequently. What a gift it was to realize that I am in control of managing my own energy, and then take the responsibility to do so. For others, that drained bucket might always seem to be money, or time.
I know, you may be thinking that some of us don’t always have a choice and have to do things we don’t want to do. Yes, of course. But I would contest your thinking on this and invite you to view it from the lens that nearly everything is a choice. Sometimes they are shitty ones but they are, in fact, choices. And when you recognize that the crap you don’t want to do is in fact a choice you are consciously making to do anyways, it doesn’t seem like such martyrdom anymore.
I am issuing a challenge for all of us. Find ways to make conscious decisions about how you will spend your time, energy and money. This may mean planning and budgeting, or perhaps even just pausing to make a conscious decision before automatically committing yes to anything in the moment. If you reserved two hours for doing this mental cleanup, what would be the payoff be energy and joy? I am willing to bet, WORTH IT.
Ways to Get Started
If you need some help getting started cleaning up how you spend your time, energy, and money through the end of the year, here are some ideas:
Make a list of things to stop doing. I mean clubs, organizations, or other recurring commitments that you just keep doing even though they no longer bring you joy. Make room for something you love. Even if you love watching The Big Lebowski (again) on the couch. No judgement here.
Identify three things that you would normally trudge through, and make your plan to kindly decline them this year. Usually go to five holiday parties? Pick three. Feel the need to pack the weekends with activities? Plan for down time and don’t give it away for anything.
Spend even as little as one hour planning how you will spend your money. How much will you donate? How much will you spend on stuff versus experiences? If you only have $100 to donate, pick your organizations and how much, and cross it off your list of things to think about or spend on for the rest of the year.
Look for things that are a good total value to you. This means that you might spend time, but get money AND energy in return. Or you donate money which means you can decline volunteering and save time, and it brings you energy because you love the organization you are supporting.
Write down three things that give you energy, and three things that drain your energy. Plan more of the good stuff, and less of the soul-sucking things. The awareness alone will be a fascinating discovery.
Bonus! Keep track of the changes you made to how you spend your time, energy, and money, and review it afterward. How did it feel to you? Who else noticed? How do you want to spend your resources going forward?
The permission to take control of how you spend your time, energy, and money this year might be the best gift you’ve given yourself for a long time. If you had a choice (and you do), how would you rebalance your three buckets?
About the author:
Katie Rasoul is the Chief Awesome Officer for Team Awesome, a leadership coaching and culture consulting firm. Find out more by visiting www.teamawesomecoaching.com or www.katierasoul.com. Find Katie on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.