I read a book a few years ago called How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy! The first chapter is titled “If Einstein Was Your Doctor”. A comic dialogue of a doctors visit where the doctor not only explains explicitly what one needs to know but is ever so enlightening while doing so, oh and the doctor just happens to be Albert Einstein. While I loved most of the book there was a short excerpt that I know a lot of people need to hear…
Dr. Einstein explains the importance of healthy home life, relationships and work environment then asks the patient how much time she committed to herself each day, if she had a hobby, took time to exercise, read and do things she enjoyed. To which she replied:
“I don’t have time for all that. I have bills to pay, a mortgage, car payments and a family to raise. Sure, I enjoy relaxing with a few drinks while watching a late show, but that’s about it. My family and friends depend on me. They’re the ones who really count.”
SOUND FAMILIAR?! Read and absorb….
Dr. Einstein sighs. “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. You’ve lost sight of the essence of what creates life, what gives you the vitality and well-being to really live. It’s only when you are alive, fully present, self-fulfilled and happy that you are truly doing what counts. What good are you to your family if you burn out? Think of yourself as the sun, and your family and friends as being dependent on your light. As the sun, it is your duty to care for yourself so that you never burn out. Like the sun, you can only share the energy that you have. Unfortunately, it has become common for people to burn out while trying to be everywhere and do everything.”
Here it is folks, the big one: spending all of your time trying to be the best employee, spouse, parent, friend is in fact doing all of those people an injustice. So here are some gut-check questions for you: how much time do you commit to yourself each day? Do you have a hobby? Do you take time to exercise? Read? Do things YOU enjoy just for yourself?
If you answered none or no, and that you don't have the time here is what I want you to do. For the next three to four days I want you to jot down your schedule, literally what you did all day, everyday. Woke up at 7:00am, hit snooze 27 times (be honest here), skipped breakfast but fed the little people, got dressed, left for work at 8:12am, and so on and so on until you are laying in bed. Document it all (this is just a couple days, people, not a lifetime, just write it down).
I have had quite a few people do this and here are the most common things that I found:
1. The snooze button. A survey done by Greatist found that more than one-third of adults hit the snooze button AT LEAST three times each morning. The solution I am offering is not to force yourself to stop using the snooze button but create a life that doesn't need it. The average snooze button is nine minutes (there is some scientific reasoning for nine minutes but that is beside the point) even two snoozes is nearly 20 extra minutes. If you focus more on the essence of life you'll feel ready to get up and ENJOY 20 extra minutes of your day.
2. Watching TV. While research shows Americans spend an average of 156 minutes a day watching TV (that's over two hours, guys) I've found that most of the people I know usually have the TV on but are also doing other activities, not just sitting and watching. However, most of the people I know DEDICATE at least three hours a week to TV. Meaning on the same days and the same times they are dedicated to watching their shows. Three hours, that's 20 minutes MORE than what the Department of Health and Human Services suggests for exercise each week. The solution I am offering is DEDICATING time to exercise like you would anything else. Do it while you are watching your shows OR do it in those 10 minute pockets of extra time you find after writing your daily events down. It doesn't have to be 30-60 minutes of straight exercise.
3. Downtime you didn't know was downtime. When people drone on (and seriously, you do) about being 'busy' I always wonder 'are you bee busy or mosquito busy'? Mary O'Conner said "It's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted." When people wrote down their actual activities it looked like this: "5:15 started cleaning the kitchen, 5:27 got distracted by a text from so-and-so, read the article about how busy all of us moms are, had a conversation with her about how much I agreed while still trying to clean the kitchen which made cleaning the kitchen take approximately 25 minutes longer than it would have without the phone". Maybe that's what I wrote down? I can't remember. The solution I am offering is not to avoid your phone or friends but to start doing everything with intention. If you are going to clean the kitchen set a timer for 25 minutes and do it with intention until the timer is up. If you are going to read through the articles (and obviously I hope you do) do it with intention. Read it in its entirety and do with it what you will, then move on. Live with intention whether it is cleaning the kitchen or playing with your kids, it will take LESS time but mean so much more.
I would love to hear if you found some extra time in your day or what activities help you find the essence of life! Share with me on www.facebook.com/youfirstfit
Sweat & Smiles,