Take Time for You

For instrumental music while reading, choose: hi-fi (broadband) or low-fi.

Do you feel that taking time for yourself is a rare luxury? Do you continuously come to the rescue of everybody else, while time for yourself gets bumped to the bottom of the priority list?

It’s vitally important to allow some time for yourself. Take time for whatever is truly important to you. And take time to rejuvenate and recharge your energy. If you don’t, you can run yourself down so low, you don’t even realize you are drained, until it’s too late. Then, you don’t have anything left to give others, even if you try.

This is a difficult situation for many people. Does this sound familiar? “I’m just too busy to take any time for myself. I work long hours and my family needs me. Besides, there are so many things that I need to do. It would feel selfish to take any time for myself.”

Your Life, in a Moment

Remember that you are the one who controls and appropriates the moments of your life. That’s really all you’ve got to work with . . . a finite collection of moments that make up each and every life. You get to choose what to do with them.

“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up — that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.” – Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“How frequently the last time comes and we do not know.” – John Walter (1739-1812)

Choosing Life’s Priorities

Even if you don’t choose, that’s a choice too. If you don’t choose, then everyone around you will help make sure your moments are occupied . . . doing things THEY choose. This is fine, up to a point. Sharing moments with those you love is a mutually satisfying investment that pays big dividends.

“The best inheritance a parent can give to his children is a few minutes of their time each day.” – M. Grundler

Are Others Choosing for You?

The problems (and potential resentments) come when all of your moments are being filled by the wishes, emergencies, deficiencies, quirks and inconsiderate demands of other people.

It’s easy to fall into this trap. Whenever anyone asks anything of you, you stop what you’re doing and help them. Your project gets put on hold until “later” because you have proclaimed theirs as more important. It’s tough because you want to help and you like the person who needs your help (usually), and they could obviously use some help. You don’t want to be inconsiderate or insensitive or rude. What can you do?

Learn to Draw the Line

You have to establish boundaries, some personal ground-rules to help manage your time. You know what you want to do. You probably know exactly what you need to do. You may even be one of the fortunate, disciplined few who have dug a little deeper and discovered what you were born to do. (See previous articles, “Your Passion as Your Compass” and “10 Steps to Discovering Your Life’s Purpose.”)

“You’ve got to love what you’re doing. If you love it, you can overcome any handicap or the soreness or all the aches and pains, and continue to play for a long, long time.” – Gordie Howe

Have a Compelling Reason to Prioritize Your Time

Once you get it . . . once you know in your core being that you have important work to do — work that you are ideally suited for — then it’s easier to prioritize your fleeting moments so that time for yourself isn’t always at the end of the list.

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” — Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773)

“We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” – John F. Kennedy (1917-63)

Two Necessary Varieties of Quality Time

You need time for yourself – two completely different kinds of time:

· Time to do your life’s work . . . whatever that may be.

“Time is like a river. It flows one direction . . . but like a river, everything you do has a ripple.” – Kevin R. Hutson

· Time to rest, re-energize and re-inspire yourself so you have what it takes for your job or business, your family and friends, as well as for your obligations and commitments.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913)

Experiencing Joy in the Moment

Your life’s work can be anything that gives you joy. When you are engaged in it, you get in the zone, and time stands still. It energizes you. You don’t get tired, even when you are absorbed in it for several hours at a time.

After these quality sessions focused on your life’s work, you feel a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. My wife, Janey, gets in the zone gardening or working in her stained-glass art studio, or when she’s writing one of her books. I get that feeling when writing one of these articles, or a new song, or recording a new CD.

“An entire lifetime’s the wink of an eye,
Lookin’ back when that moment arrives,
With a peaceful feelin’ and a grateful sigh,
I wanna know . . . We lived the time of our lives.

Now’s the time, it’s yours and mine,
We have chosen to be here together, love will survive.
All the way, seize the day,
So we can always say we lived the time of our lives.”
- from the song, “Time of Our Lives” by Tupelo Kenyon

Deep Nourishment

These exceptional moments are feeding your mind, heart and soul. They are contributing to the joy of your life and the personal evolution of who you really are, at your deepest level.

When described like this, it’s easy to catch the folly of continuing to allow this top-quality time to be at the end of your priority list.

If you don’t prioritize whatever is genuinely important to you, who’s going to do it? Nobody. If you continue to think of your passions as something you can do “anytime,” you are setting yourself up for one of life’s major regrets if you “never get around to it.”

“What may be done at any time will be done at no time.” – Scottish Proverb

Is this how it plays out in your life? “Okay, I’ve asked myself some of the hard questions, the important questions, and I feel I was born to _____. I love it. When I do it, it feels right, and it makes me feel good, Very good! Therefore, after work, after I mow the lawn and help _____ with _____, and put the kids to bed, and watch a little TV to unwind, then I’ll try to squeeze in a little time for me (and my life’s work) . . . unless somebody else needs help with something.”

“There’s time enough, but none to spare.” – Charles W. Chesnutt

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” – Charles Roberts Buxton (b. 1913)

Too Busy for Life’s Most Important Things?

We’re all busy. Most of us are too busy. But we all have the same number of hours available to us every day. Some of us are super-achievers and some of us don’t get around to doing squat.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

What determines the difference? How do some people manage to accomplish so much while others barely manage to get out of bed?

“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” – Charles Darwin (1809-82)

“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.” — Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

The Power (and Privilege) of Choice

We must choose. We must commit to the most important aspects of our life, and let the other things fall into place around this.

That’s a worthy goal. It may take a month or a year or ten years to honestly prioritize your moments around your passions, your gifts, and your life’s work, but what could be more important – in the overall scheme of things?

What could be more important than realizing the ultimate value of each moment . . . and realizing it in time to do something about it?

“Eighty thousand seconds in a day,
You can’t borrow what you can’t repay.
When your time is spent, you might wonder where it went,
And wonder why you spent it on the run.
But while the earth is turning, and all your time is burning,
I hope that you are learning,
That you are the only one who can take your time,
And have yourself some fun.”
- from the song, “You Gotta Have Fun” by Tupelo Kenyon (in 1979)

Last Wishes

If you suddenly learned that it’s time for you to leave this life soon, how would you complete this sentence? “Darn, I wish I would have taken time to _____!”

What? Write that novel? Go on a world tour? Start your own business, based on your favorite passion(s)? Excel in business and become a philanthropist?

“Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.”
- Austin Dobson (1840-1921)

In this rather graphic, death-bed scenario, you wouldn’t be thinking about mowing the lawn one more time, or putting out someone else’s trivial fire at the office, or attending one more boring, unnecessary meeting at someone else’s request.

Right Now is the Time to Act. (Always.)

These are your moments. This is the time of your life.

“It’s the same old time that it always has been,
Same old time it’s going to be.
Every time that I can remember to notice,
Now’s the time it’s dawning on me.”
- from the song, “Same Olde Time” by Tupelo Kenyon

Don’t allow the trivial and mundane to monopolize the most valuable commodity of your life. Once your moments are squandered away, what’s left? (That’s an entirely different article.)

“Living and dying is not the big issue. The big issue is what you’re going to do with your time while you are here.” – Bill T. Jones

Time to Rest

If your life is a constant blur of go, go, go . . . you may be operating at about 50% efficiency and don’t even know it. That’s why it’s so important to take some down time.

This is time for the pure enjoyment of life. No cell phones. No computers. Not available for random and arbitrary interruptions from others. This is quality time for you to commune with . . . YOU!

“We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly . . . spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order.” – Susan S. Taylor

We do it in different ways. Whatever works for you, do it . . . and do it regularly.

Take a walk in the park (or in the woods). Swim in the surf. Or take a bubble bath. Treat yourself to a massage. Take a scenic drive. Go to a movie. Have friends over for dinner. Take a vacation.

You know what you need to do. Make your own list of the things that recharge you, and work more of them into your busy schedule. It’s worth the effort.

“We need time to dream, time to remember, and time to reach the infinite. Time to be.” – Gladys Taber

The Cornerstone Moments of Our Lives

These are the moments that define the quality of our lives. They give us joy, peace and a renewed zest for life. Don’t underestimate their importance. Life is to be lived to its fullest for the purpose of experiencing joy. Take time for the little things that enhance your enjoyment of life.

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Bertrand Russel (1872-1970)

These are the moments we will look back upon years later with fond memories. So make some memories now, while you still can. These quality blocks of time — for you — help put the time of your life in perspective.

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” – Jack London (1876-1916)

Get the Long View

From a distance, it’s easier to see what’s really important and what’s only masquerading as important but is really just a black hole, sucking the precious moments of your life into oblivion. We need that perspective.

We need an occasional change of pace to keep us fresh, ready, willing and able to be efficient with all the activities of our lives — the ones we deliberately choose and prioritize as well as the ones that “just happen.”

“You have to allow a certain amount of time in which you are doing nothing in order to have things occur to you, to let your mind think.” – Mortimer Adler (b. 1902)

This quality time of rest gives us a valuable overview of our lives. It gives us needed perspective to help us prioritize our activities and set our boundaries so we can better stick with our resolve to take more time for ourselves, and the genuinely important activities that we deliberately choose.

“It’s only a moment, I told myself,
This won’t take long.
It’s only a little time, I’ve got plenty, and then I’m
Ready for my life, right? Wrong . . . again.
So, I’m taking my time . . .”
- from the song, “Takin’ My Time” by Tupelo Kenyon

After awhile, the people around you will begin to understand your commitment to your priorities and honor your resolve by lessening their demands on you. As you begin to set your boundaries, people will realize the importance of being considerate of your time. They will begin requesting your help when it is most convenient for you . . . instead of most convenient for them.

If they don’t get it, perhaps this would be a good time to begin spending more time with people who do get it. As for the others, we can only hope they will eventually recognize the value of prioritizing the important and learn by our example.

Is it Time for a Change?

What is the most valuable commodity we have available to us in this life?

Time . . . because everything else depends upon it.

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. Lost time is never found again.” – Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Your time is the most valuable gift you have to give. Freely give it to those who value it and appreciate it. You’re giving of yourself, and it’s a wonderful feeling to share something so vital.

As you share yourself and your time in this way, you may never know how your actions make a difference in the lives of others. What you do (and who you are) comes back to you in countless, unforeseen ways.

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

“You can’t leave footprints in the sands of time if you’re sitting on your butt. And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?” – Bob Moawad

Here’s the key point: Don’t put yourself at the end of the list. You deserve to be first, at least some of the time. Don’t let your entire life slip by with everything else (and everyone else) getting preferential treatment over your most important priorities. Their needs are important, but yours are important too.

Save time when you can, give time deliberately as you choose, invest time whenever possible. But take time for YOU!

While reading, did you choose to hear the relaxing instrumental music linked at the beginning of this article? To learn more about it, click here.

Listen FREE to the songs below . . . chosen to enhance the ideas in this article.

Related Songs
Time of Our Lives
Time is so fleeting, so elusive, it’s good to remember the importance and power of living right now.
http://www.somemusicmatters.com/DescHere.html#Anchor7

You Gotta Have Fun
Our moments are fleeting . . . and finite. Too few to squander on "bad news". We must steer our attention deliberately in order to attract the kind of life we were born to live.
http://www.somemusicmatters.com/DescAnth.html#Anchor20

Same Olde Time
Time – it’s so relative. "What if distant starlight shining in the endless sky is just the same, by a different name, as the twinkle in your eye?"
http://www.somemusicmatters.com/DescHB.html#Anchor7

Takin’ My Time
It’s easy to simply give away so much of your time that there’s none left for you.
http://www.somemusicmatters.com/DescHere.html#Anchor15

Songs by Tupelo

Related Links

Related Articles
Your Passion as Your Compass
Allow your passions to stretch their wings and the direction of your life could surprise you – in a good way. Celebrate life with passion!

10 Steps to Discovering Your Life’s Purpose
Of all the self-help ideas I’ve come across through the years, this one has been the most helpful. For me, it’s been the Rosetta Stone of personal development techniques. After getting a handle on the idea of “purpose”, other areas of my life fell into place more easily.

Work – Just a Job or Visible Love
Do you love what you do and do what you love? Here’s a step-by-step method on how to put your passions to work and start living the life you were born to live.

Articles by Tupelo

This is the end of the article entitled Take Time for You published by Tupelo Kenyon on July 20, 2007 at 6:00 am | In Passion, Productivity, Purpose, Relationships - Copyright 2007 - All rights reserved worldwide.

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  1. TupeloKenyon.com » Take Time for You

    Don’t put yourself at the end of the list. You deserve to be first, at least some of the time. Don’t let your entire life slip by with everything else (and everyone else) getting preferential treatment over your most important priorities. Their needs…

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