Intentionally Making Time For What Matters MostNov 18, 2021
As we are now into the season of gratitude, what are you most grateful for? I know that when I stop and take stock, I’m usually most grateful for those small moments of connection with my loved ones — the moments talking before bed, the random hug in the middle of the day. The question is how present are you for these moments?
Are you able to enjoy them, or is your mind occupied with lists of things you have to do?
As the parent of an older teen and young adult, I often tell young parents — the days may be long but the years are really short.
With all the technology and activities that are available, we can fill up every available hour if we aren’t careful. And with so many perfect pictures of beautifully decorated houses, and great crafts to do with your kids readily available in your feed — the standard we hold ourselves to and the resulting lists of "shoulds" can get long.
As part of my coaching program, I work with parents to identify what’s lacking in their lives and figure out what they want more of. Unequivocally, almost all parents crave quality time with their kids. They want to feel more connected, and have more experiences that create fond memories.
The problem is their multiple lists are already very long and they don’t know how they could possibly fit anything else in — so we spend time coaching on overwhelm.
I invite you to consider that the lists in your head and expectations that you feel you’re not meeting actually keep you from creating the moments you want and keep you from being present for the ones you already have.
In my last article, I wrote about the value in taking stock of your lists. Click here to access the article.
When I coach many of my clients that are overwhelmed by their lists, it turns out that they don’t actually have a written list. So when we break it down, we find that the list in their head is always much worse than it is on paper.
The benefit of writing down your list is that you actually get to see what you’re prioritizing. You get to see if the things you crave more of in your life are actually on your list — because if you’re like most parents, you'll find that what matters most didn’t make it to your list.
Instead your list has items like make doctors and dentist appointments, donate outgrown clothes and toys, set up playdates, monitor reading progress, change out the seasonal decorations in the house, and so much more. Your brain can’t ever relax because it thinks the list is so long and you’re never caught up.
This came up in a recent coaching session with a parent client: She wanted more unstructured time with her children, but she had a lot of lists. As a working Mom of three children, she’s gotten good at managing her calendar. Things got things done. The problem was that she was constantly on-the-go and didn’t have that down-time that she craved.
I asked her if she ever considered scheduling unstructured time with her kids. I literally could see her stop to think, and start to wrap her mind around that idea as it had never occurred to her. My point being, if you want to make time for what matters most you have to make it a priority in your schedule.
Our days and weeks can go by so quickly. If we don’t intentionally plan and make time for what matters most, it won’t happen. I invite you to consider scheduling time for what matters most to you! Time to connect with your kids, or down time for yourself on your calendar — and then commit to following your schedule. When your scheduled time arrives, concentrate on putting your focus on what you are doing, and not your lists.
You may need to practice redirecting your mind to stay present. The point of scheduling it is to get your brain to relax as you are doing exactly what is on your schedule and this is what matters most at the moment. Remind yourself that you scheduled the time and you’re not supposed to be doing anything else at the moment so you can stay calm, present, enjoy the time, and make memories. Consider this thought — I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing right now.
I encourage you to think about what you want to create in your life, and make sure that you are scheduling time for what matters most to you! Then work on intentionally staying present to actually enjoy the time you scheduled.
I hope you have found this helpful! This is one of the multiple tools and strategies in my Parenting on Purpose Toolbox. If you want the worksheet that I use to help clients sort through their lists and make time for what matters most, go to melpeirce.com/ManageYourLists to request a copy.
Kids don’t come with a Parenting Manual, and parenting in the 21st Century is so different than it was for our parents. That’s where I come in! I know all of the latest research and strategies, and I help parents learn to keep their cool and communicate so their kids will listen so they can navigate the challenges of modern parenting. If you want to learn more about me or check out additional resources, go to melpeirce.com.
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