Recently, I’ve been wrestling with some paradoxes. On the one hand, you can’t give others what you don’t have. So if you’re completely undisciplined with how you spend your time, it’s hard to invest deeply in meaningful relationships. On the other hand, if you’re too structured, you can shut yourself off from deep connections with others because you’re too controlled and measured in your approach.
Also, as I’ve been reading the very insightful book, The Gifts of Imperfection, I’ve come across this issue from Brené Brown’s research: “Compassionate people are boundaries people. The heart of compassion is really acceptance. The better we are at accepting ourselves and others, the more compassionate we become. If we really want to practice compassion, we have to start by setting boundaries and holding people accountable for their behavior.”
But on the other hand, “Without exception, spirituality—the belief in connection, a power greater than self, and interconnections grounded in love and compassion—emerged as a component of resilience.”
So what does this mean? How can we be intentional and boundaried and yet not cut off the connections that exist between us?
I think this will be a question we will all need to wrestle with for the rest of our lives, but here are a few of my recent insights that may help you go from simply having your schedule under control to having a schedule that allows you to invest in life at the highest level possible:
- Intention Is Key: To be truly relaxed, open, and present in the moment, you need to know the basics are in order. That means having a clear sense of your calendar, or at least, reminders in place to prompt you when it’s time to do something. That also means having clarity around what key activities you need to accomplish by certain times. Without this basic level of control, your attempts to be open to the moment can backfire and spin you into chaos.
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E®, a time coaching and training company, and the author of “The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success With Less Stress” and “How to Invest Your Time Like Money.”
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