Yesterday I read an article by Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief at The Huffington Post Media Group entitled “There’s Enough Time in Your Life for Everything Important”. A quote from the article which I absolutely love is by Brian Andreas: “Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” Yes our culture is obsessed with time. I planned every minute of every day to try to get the most out of my day. In my mind and I’m sure in the minds of others, being productive was most important. Always designate time towards tasks that support long term goals so that you’re always prepared for that big break. I attended to my schedule weekly, constantly making adjustments to scrape off minutes wherever I could. I constantly craved more hours in the day and sacrificed personal relationships for the sake of getting more done. A lot has changed this year though…thankfully in part to Martin. If I haven’t said it before, I’m saying it now, I’m loving my life even more right now. Work has been given less time in my day and family, love and rest have been given greater priority and I couldn’t be happier. I am thinking alot clearer now and placing less pressure on myself to get things done as if I’ll be scolded for it. I have one deadline for Monday with the University for the submission of grades. After Monday, I’ll be at such a slow pace I hope I don’t feel lost…lol. Arianna said her mother was a towering example of the joys of slowing down. She believed that rushing through life was a sure way to miss the gifts that come only when you give 100 percent of yourself to a task, a conversation, a dinner, a relationship, a moment. I can honestly say that one’s definition of success will determine their attitude towards time and how they prioritize things in their life. As long as success is defined by who works the longest hours, who goes the longest without a vacation, who sleeps the least, who responds to an email at midnight or five in the morning we’re never going to be able to enjoy the benefits of time affluence.
Lately, I’m reminded that in relationships there must be some sacrifice and compromise for it to work. How much should one compromise in a relationship, I’m still trying to figure that one out. A close friend of mine told me a few months ago, that I compromise too much of myself to make friendships and relationships work. I think compromise and sacrifice are great once the other person can be thankful for what their partner is willing to give up to make them happy. My last serious relationship ended in 2009 to one of my best friends and I’m really glad we have maintained a great friendship after the break up. Having spent the past six years focusing on myself, compromise can be somewhat of a challenge. I’ve invested so much in my education and career that I believe I need to grab at every opportunity that comes my way, even at the expense of my health and time with loved ones. I recently had the opportunity to work with a start-up here in Trinidad and Tobago and sadly, I turned down the opportunity. I looked at my current schedule and I knew it would be impossible to manage. I’m making great headway with a web based application and my lecturing duties are extremely important to me and I’m also finding it easier to make time to spend with loved ones. To risk losing the things that I have working for me now may not be a sensible compromise. It’s impossible to grab at every opportunity that comes your way and it’s understandable if you feel you need to. I wish that start-up all the success in the world even though I cannot be a part of it. One old saying that I always remember is “One bird in the hand is worth two in the bushes“.
For the May to August semester at the University, I will be taking a lighter work load. This semester there were weeks I lectured 5, sometimes 6 days but next semester my maximum will be 4. So far I’ve had discussions to lecture for 2 days for the next semester and I’m awaiting feedback on further courses. A lighter work load will also give me the time to focus on developing the iOS Application Development course for the Bachelor Degree programme for the September to December semester. Since I’ve been spending so much time with Martin and I now refer to him as my boyfriend, he’s encouraged me to take some time for me, to rest, to reflect and focus more on personal relationships than giving my all to work. His life is a bit more balanced than mine and I admire how he makes time to call and visit his family and friends and how he prioritises rest. I can definitely take a page out of his book for the next few months and take some more time to relax and focus on myself and my personal relationships.
About a month ago, I was having a conversation with one of my friends who is currently in a relationship with one woman and seeing another woman at the same time. While I don’t accept this type of situation, he is free to do as he chooses. He explained that one of his reasons for seeing two women at once was that his main girlfriend was too busy with work and other engagements for him and when he does see her, it feels like business. He said that some professional women attract really great men because of their qualities but struggle to keep those men around for long because they bring their work personality into the relationship. A few days later, while chatting with my friend Richard, he inquired about my dating experience so far with Martin. He also reminded me to show my softer side. As a professional woman, spending most of my day working, it can be easy to stay in work mode when entering the home or interacting with my partner.
I recently read an article online that talked about the woman who has a good job, works hard and earns a good salary. She went to college, she got her master’s degree and she is intelligent. She is personable, articulate, well read, interested in everybody and everything. Yet, she’s single. What the author found was that the skills that make one successful in the workplace are not the skills that make one successful in a relationship. Linear thinking, self-reliance, structured goals and direct action assist one in accomplishing tasks or in positioning oneself for a raise, but relationship-building requires different skills. It requires making decisions that not only gratify you, but satisfy others. It means doing things that will keep the peace rather than achieve the goal, and sometimes it means creating the peace in the first place. You may even have to stoop to conquer or yield to win.
It is important as women, that we learn to collaborate with our men, to substitute our assertiveness and aggressive energy with softness and serenity and therefore get in touch with our feminine side and subsequently, in touch with our men.
A few months ago, while sitting by myself for a brief moment, I thought about how I’m currently living my life and I wondered, is the Universe treating me exactly the way I treat myself. I’m very hard on myself for various reasons but mostly because I feel as if I should have accomplished more by this age. Growing up, my father talked a bit lowly about women who were over the age of 30 who did not accomplish certain things and I guess some part of me felt as if I should have had all those things completed by now. The truth is, not all of those things were on my list of things to do by age 30. I wonder sometimes if I am punishing myself because I feel I’m not where I should be. While I enjoy most of the work I do, the truth is there are things in my day that I do, that I really do not love and there are things I love, that I’m currently not able to do. “Am I telling the Universe it’s ok to be hard on me by simply being hard on myself?”. If I consider a previous post about “How Much Do You Love You” which mentioned the correlation between the type of love you give yourself and the type of love you receive from others, I guess me being hard on myself will attract that to me. Since thinking about this, I have made efforts to be gentler with my body. I’ve been making time for love, sleep, spending time with family and spontaneous activities that make me happy. While I do treat my body well with food, exercise and the things I will put into and onto my body, I was purposely creating stressful situations for the wrong reasons. I was punishing myself and essentially the Universe was responding to the energy I was creating. Things are becoming better and I’m not only learning to love myself in a whole new way but I’m also opening up myself to love someone else.
“The deeper you love yourself, the more the universe will affirm your worth. Then you can enjoy a lifelong love affair that brings you the richest fulfillment from inside out.“…Alan Cohen
Most people who know me pretty much know how many alarms go off from my phone on a daily basis. Some people close to me know very well around which time an alarm may go off. I’ve even been told that I’m way too regimented and I should loosen up a bit. Different things make different people happy and being organised keeps me happy. I generally structure my time based on the week and this weekend I forgot an important engagement on Saturday morning at 9AM and I felt so disappointed with myself. I try to stay as organised as possible because I have so much going on and to know that something slipped through the cracks, made me feel really down. For a few minutes, I dealt with the emotion of situation, then I quickly moved on to try to figure out what lesson could be learned from it. Basking in that emotion too long would have brought on my desire for perfectionism that I’m trying to curb. I’ve decided to include some time after my classes on Monday to Thursday, no more than one hour, to address what needs to be prepared for my upcoming classes and to email the necessary handouts to the students, as the details of the class are still very fresh in my mind. I also need to find ways to improve my productivity on Saturdays. I think I’m usually so exhausted from the week and Friday night is the one night I can guarantee at least 6 hours sleep, that I’m a bit more relaxed on Saturday mornings. Going forward, I need to make better use of Saturday mornings to get as much work done as possible. Staying organised has definitely made my life a lot easier and while it may not be an approach adopted by all it definitely has its perks.
According to unclutterer.com, the following can be considered benefits of staying organised.
- Less stress. Above anything else, this is the number one reason I burn calories to stay on top of things. Here’s a great example: This year, I’m making a concerted effort to keep my office neat and tidy (I work from home and my office is also my bedroom). I added a bulletin board and have designated a home for everything: inbox, keys, wallet, office supplies, charger cables, and more. Now, when I need something, I know exactly where it is. This fact reduces stress and allows me to …
- Relax more. I once saw a bumper sticker that read, “Organized people are just too lazy to search for stuff.” That’s cute, but I’d rather be the “lazy” one mentioned in the punchline. Less time spent running around means more time. Just, more time to do what I want to do, like …
- Spend time with my family. Getting clean and clear professionally and personally means I’ve got more time to spend with the kids and my wife. For example, my workday ends at 2:00, just as I drive to the school bus. I know that I’ll be spending the next six hours with my family. That’s easy to do when I took care of all my work stuff before then.
- I’m ready for a curveball. I’m sure you know how this goes: life throws a kink into the works that interrupts your plans in a major way. Being prepared ahead of time lessens the impact. For example, I have a designated “emergency” office and ultra-portable setup ready. That way, if my Internet connection goes down at home, or a construction crew sets up outside my window, I already know where I’m going to go to work and what I need to bring.
- The overwhelming seems manageable. I never would have believed this if I hadn’t experienced it myself. I don’t care if you’re talking about work, the kids, or home management, but it’s a great feeling to have every project defined, and every action step that stands between you and “done” clearly identified. When I do this, I can look at a daunting to-do list and feel like I’m on top of it and capable of doing what needs to be done.
- Improved health. The stress I mentioned earlier, which I feel when things start to get out of control, does not promote good health. There are numerous studies that demonstrate a link between sustained high levels of stress and a variety of health problems.
- I’m a better example for my kids. There was a time when I spent most of my time behind my computer, working on this or that. I felt productive, sure, but I also worried about the message I was sending to the kids. Adults work all the time? My job is more important than them? I want my kids to become productive, contributing adults, of course, but I want them to enjoy life, too, and that absolutely includes time spent not working.
- Fewer little jobs. There are four people in my house. If we miss a day or two of laundry, we’re behind. That means that, some day this week, someone has to spend an inordinate amount of time digging out from Mt. Clothing in the basement. However, just turning over a single load per day makes all the difference. Little things like making sure the kids put their hats and boots away each day after school improves our family’s ability to easily function.
- Greater productivity. When you know where things are, what your goals are, and take care of the piddley busy work as it appears, you’ve got significantly more time and energy for the big goals in life.
I recently watched the controversial video for Sia’s song “Elastic Heart”. While the video was talked about quite a lot, I chose to focus on the lyrics. The heart is really an adaptable and resilient thing. You can go from being in love with someone to not being fond of them, from being extremely hurt and shattered to finding love again. Every time we find new love we can use this as an opportunity to learn to love more deeply and give more of ourselves. I truly believe the heart is one way we are able to express God through our interactions with each other. When the heart is hurt and tested, it’s up to you to decide how much you want to express love in the world and take the risk to love again. We may be hurt by someone from romantic relations, platonic relations or family relations but our ability to forgive and keep loving tests the elasticity of our heart.
Lyrics from Sia’s Elastic Heart