Editor’s Note: This is guest post from the fabulous Makenzie Kelly from the Freedom Venture Project. I love this post, and I’m anxious to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Maybe you can relate to this Family Emergency? At just five months old, I left my younger son and his three year old brother in the hands of a nanny when I decided to start a business. It felt like when I walked out the door that day, I wouldn’t be back for what seemed like the longest 5 years of my life.
The business was rough and tumultuous, complicated with trying to balance a household, a marriage and two young sons. I used to wonder if my sons would even remember me, and hoped my husband wouldn’t divorce me. I had rationalized to myself that I was building a Financial Empire and the monetary payoff would offset the time sacrifice.
After 5 years, the monetary compensation was fantastic, the company was a Multi-Million dollar success, but I continued spending a lot more time in the business and very little time with my husband or children. The worst part was even when I was home, I was always on the phone, emailing and spending my time stressing about what needed to be done.
I was not present. My Family Emergency was an Emergency of Time.
Which part of this story do you resonate with? Coming home late and having no time to spend with your family? Or the part when you’re home, but not really present while you click away on your laptop, talk on your cell phone or text on your blackberry? Feeling guilty?
You’re not alone. There seems to be a Time Crisis in our nation with our families. I don’t need to throw out statistics to validate exactly how everyone feels about the subject.
Dustin is also very passionate about this subject, as you all have helped him identify that your biggest concern regarding a happy and fulfilling marriage is TIME!! [PS – If you haven’t signed up for his newsletter, you should check it out. When you sign up, he sends a great 7 day course called Marriage Mojo: 7 Simple Steps to Romance for Insanely Busy Couples and it’s an Awesome resource…plus it’s free!]
Our marriages and families are drowning in the pool of overwhelm and can’t seem to come up for air!
There are two somewhat disturbing trends in America, few vacation days coupled with an increase in overall productivity of American workers (an average of 4% increase in efficiency each year). So it would make sense that the employment demands, especially in two-income houses are creating more stress and more feelings of overwork and overwhelm.
One way to approach this problem is to use an analogy. Imagine the time in your life is like a car; your energy is the gasoline. Twenty five years ago, we would drive the car down the road at a brisk pace. We would use up some fuel during the day, while driving, and by the evening, there would be plenty of fuel left for us to take our spouse and children along for a drive around the country-side.
Now imagine your life like a car today. You have a fancy high tech car; it requires expensive high octane gasoline. While you are at work, you drive the car about 150 mph, through an elaborate road course, and you almost run it out of gas by the end of the day!
When you get home, there’s no point in taking the family for a ride in the country-side, the car will run out of gas, its useless. This is what our life feels like now. We then argue that the car is flawed, we must not have enough “Car”.
This is the point about arguing that we don’t have enough “Time”. We argue with ourselves that we must not have enough time, rather than pay attention to how we spend our energy in the time.
How do we treat our time? Do we expend all of our energy and awareness of time at work, only to come home totally on empty? Do we give ourselves space to fuel up before we get home?
Since our days are more intense than they used to be 25 years ago, energy management becomes even more important to renewing your body and mind so that you can get the most out of your time, or just feel like you have time!
Having been a paramedic for over 10 years, I love using medical analogies. A paramedic’s initial assessment of a patient when they first reach the patient’s side is to check their Airway, Breathing and Circulation (ABC’s). If that’s all intact, we then check a patient’s mental status, or how aware and alert a patient is. I believe that to get the most effective use of your time, you need to check your own mental status, or awareness.
How present and alert are you right now? As you are reading this post, is your mind wandering off into other territories, or are you fully present? Do you often “zone out” in front of the TV or when people are talking to you?
When I was running my business, I used to be accused of not listening to my husband when he would talk to me; my mind was elsewhere. My face was focused on my laptop or on my blackberry. My mental status would have scored very low back then!!
When some coaches and teachers used to tell me to live in the “present”, my eyes would glaze over. The concept meant nothing to me.
I finally got it when someone explained to me that I use up my Present Time Resource if I am worrying about what I did in the past [guilt] or worry about what is going to happen in the future [anxiety]. With the increasing levels of anxiety and sleep medications being dispensed, it is clear that we are spending time living in the past and future instead of being present.
If you are worried about work tomorrow, are you able to be present with your spouse? It took me a lot of practice to be present and the benefits have been well worth the practice.
As the weekend rolls around, you may think, finally I have free time!! Quick, let’s fill up our weekend with fun things, parties, sports, activities so that we may feel like we spend some quality time together!
More of the time gets spent doing instead of being. There is a magic that happens when you can just be with your spouse with no planned activity, no schedules, no expectations. It is somewhat like a family group meditation. This means that you may need to practice saying, NO, and being okay with that response. Besides, studies show that rest and relaxation are necessary for your own well-being!
Our Time Emergency will not be solved by trying to do more, or be more efficient (get the faster computer, get more software, or hire more help). I feel that people are fairly productive, organized and manage their tasks effectively; I may only be able to save a couple of hours a week by interjecting some traditional time management concepts into their lifestyle.
My experience with coaching individuals around time overwhelm is that I have found it is not the tasks that stress them. It’s the feeling of not having control of the intangible aspects of their time. So rather, I teach them about their Energy, Awareness, and ability to be Present . These three concepts are what most effect the way that they view Time and reduce the feelings of overload.
While we can’t make more time, we can decide how we show up every day and react to the Time in our day.
What are some ways that you avert a Family Time Emergency in your household?
|Makenzie Kelly is a Time Rescue ™ Expert and a Fearless Freedom Seeker!! She’s been known to do crazy things such as retire from a Multi-Million dollar business and give up a 6-figure salary to have more Time and Freedom! She blogs about Ultimate Lifestyle Design at the Freedom Venture Project ™ Blog.|
Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.