Be more intentional with your time using reflection

How did you spend your day yesterday?

Are you satisfied with how your time was spent? Did you spend time on things that are important to you? Or did you spend it reacting to the priorities of others, losing your own priorities in the process?

We say spend time so often that you might have missed how many times I said it in the first paragraph. I said it four times – once in each sentence. It's interesting that we use the word spend to describe how our time is used. When you think about it, it's a pretty accurate word. We spend time. Once it's spent, it's gone. We can't get that time back.

We also talk about making time. We make time for our hobbies. We make time for our families and friends. But that's a misnomer – we're not actually making time. That time is going to be spent regardless of what we do. By making time, we're just choosing differently how to spend it.

If you're satisfied with how you're spending your time, that's amazing! I'm really happy for you. It's such a great feeling, isn't it?

If you're not satisfied, keep reading. I have an idea I would like to share, and I hope you find it useful.

How our time is spent falls on a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum is what I call reactivity. At this extreme, you feel like you have no control over your time. You're just reacting – to other people, to your own random thoughts and ideas and flights of fancy, to the dings from your phone and other devices.

On the other end of the spectrum is what I call intentionality. At this extreme, you feel like you have full control over your time. You dictate, hour by hour, minute by minute, how your time is spent. You give your time to others and your devices on your own terms.

The intentionality extreme is highly unlikely, but I know that I feel like I'm living my best life when I'm living closer to the intentionality side of the spectrum.

If you feel like you're far on the reactivity side, and the idea of being more intentional sounds intriguing, what can we do to nudge ourselves in the right direction?

Change one small thing: give yourself the time and space for reflection.

Life without reflection is like putting on makeup without a mirror, like driving in an unfamiliar city without a map. Sure, you can do it. And maybe, eventually, you'll find your way. But it's not optimal.

If you want to live your life with intention, doing the things you want to do, reflection is one of the most important self-care activities. It doesn't have to be a huge, daunting thing. Here's how you can get started:

Choose a day of the week. I like Sundays, because for me, Sundays are often relaxed and chill and feel like the true end of the week. It's a good opportunity for me to reflect on the week that just passed.

Next, ask yourself the following questions. If you like to write, pull out a pen and paper, or your favourite note-taking app. If not, do it in your head. Whatever feels most comfortable for you.

- What went well last week?

- What didn't go so well last week?

- What could I do to improve next week?

In asking yourself these questions, I also want you to consider the feelings they bring you. Allow yourself to be proud of what went well, and don't be too hard on yourself for what didn't go well. Approach these questions with curiosity and without judgment.

These questions will give you the opportunity to consider removing or minimizing the things that aren't going well, and to consider doubling down on the things that are going well.

The amazing thing about reflection is that it's incredibly flexible. You can choose to reflect at any cadence that feels good to you: daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Try it weekly for a couple of weeks and see how it feels. If it feels like too much, try it monthly. Set a reminder in your calendar every month so you don't forget.

If it feels like not enough, try it daily. The important thing is that you reflect regularly, at whatever interval feels right.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I really appreciate the time you've spent reading this, and I would love to hear from you! Have you tried reflection? How did it work out for you? Hit me up on Mastodon. I love talking about this stuff and I'm curious to hear about your experience!

#Mindfulness #PersonalGrowth #PersonalDevelopment #Reflection