The lights were dim. The music was building. My favorite time of class had arrived: the solo song. When planing a cycle class, I try to include one two to three minute song during which my riders get a small break from instruction, competition and numbers. I like to give folks a small amount of time to focus on themselves and their bodies. This is not something I invented. Quite a few of my favorite cycle instructors do the same thing from time to time and it can make for a really unique, heartfelt experience.
Last Thursday, my 5:30pm Body Alive class and I rode our "solo song" to There Will Be Time by Mumford and Sons. As the song began, I prepared them for 3+ minutes without my instruction. I asked them tune out the distractions and tune into the music.
"...if you take nothing else away from my class today, take away this: There will always be time. There is always time: time for change, time for progress and time for you...," I said.
Sometime's I think I'm talking more to myself than the students in my class, which makes sense I guess. No one can know what 20 different people need to hear and experience to make their days better - but I can know what I need. And I can try my damndest (is this a word? I'm using it as a word.) to take that knowledge and present it an a way that can be interpreted by 20 people for 20 different lives full of hundreds of different moments and needs.
The need for "time" seems ever-present. It might look a bit different for different folks and in different stages of our lives. Sometimes the struggle is easily defined like needing time for friends, for family, for you. Sometime's the struggle is a bit more broad, like needing time to adjust or process. Regardless, I hear a lot about needing or wanting time from folks.
I meant what I said to my class – and myself – that day: there will always be time. As long as you're living, you've got the time. I'm not saying you can magically do it all in one day. Nope. A day is still only 24 hours and we cannot change that. We're not Hermionie Grangering this (though that would be SICK) But who said you had to get anything done in a day? The amount of time in a day may be finite but isn't time itself a social construct? We're the one's who decided that things had to revolve around a day, a week, a weekend and so forth. I digress.
We cannot create more time but we can find ways to find time.
My overall quality of life has improved so much with this knowledge. I still have to stop and remind myself that I know this (hello, anxiety) but I do know it. When I am having a tough time remembering that, I like to focus on a few small thoughts and actions to reassure myself that I have control over my time.
One of the things I've found most helpful is giving my time value. Decide what your time is worth and you'll spend it as such.
Remember those struggles we were talking about? Think about which one(s) is yours, what kind of time you need and why. Whether you want to start waking up two hours earlier or are fighting to handle a tough situation day by day, you're going to be putting in some effort. And when effort starts to feel uncomfortable, as it usually does, the why part can be the difference between giving up and getting it done.
I've also found that knowing what my time is worth helps me explain why I cannot give it away freely. I talk a lot about putting yourself firstbut that doesn't mean it's always easy. It's not. I've started to notice that when I have to say no, people get it. When I tell someone honestly that "doing X means I cannot do Y, which is important to me because Z, therefore I have to say no to X this time," THEY UNDERSTAND.
Who knew people could be so cool, right?
This is not a free pass to miss out on important events or become an all-around crappy friend but it is a reminder that love extends beyond obligation. <-- This statement right here is what we call a rabbit hole. I refuse to go down this one today but just know that people value your honesty and your goals. People can respect your time, sometime's you just have to you ask them to.
Another point that's been instrumental has been learning to prioritize my time. I'm sorry to sound so cliché but I don't know how to get through this post without demanding that you prioritize what you're doing with your time.
Question Time! Do you like lists? I love lists. I, admittedly, struggle to empathize with people who don't make lists, or use calendars, or organize themselves at all. Seriously... HOW DO YOU PEOPLE SURVIVE?
One of the best bits of advice I've been given is to take your to-do list, chop it up (by 50%, in thirds, etc.) and focus on just a few things in order of priority. Remember the Milk is an awesome tool for making to-do lists. 10/10 would recommend. Actually, I am recommending right now without being asked or paid. It's a great tool.
Regardless of the tool, prioritizing the things you want to spend your time on is essential because, like we discussed, none of us have the magic time-turner. We aren't going to do it all in one day. A day will forever be just a day but what you prioritize as being important in that one, solitary, passing day is completely up to you.
I cannot teach you to use your time effectively.
I cannot convince you that have the time to fulfill yourself.
"...if you take nothing else away from my [blog] today, take away this: There will always be time. There is always time: time for change, time for progress and time for you...,"
Have good tips and tricks for managing your time? Have a response to this topic? I'd love to hear it in the comments below!