I’ve been feeling lately like I need to take a look at my schedule and do some serious un-scheduling, which I try to do whenever I hear my inner voice whispering to me to slow down.
I’ve become pretty good at managing this over the years (with a lot of practice), as free time and time for myself are like oxygen to me and to my creativity.
I didn’t used to be so good at the scheduling stuff, and I still have to be mindful about it or things will creep into my schedule that I have no idea why I said “yes” to.
Ever look at something coming up on your calendar and think, “How the bleep did THAT happen?” Fortunately for me, working to align my schedule with what makes my heart sing has helped me greatly reduce those moments.
Recently, I was doing some gardening on my little backyard farm in L.A., and it occurred to me that nature has this scheduling and load-lightening stuff down to a science! A great example I took note of was that when a fruit tree feels stressed, lacks nutrients, or has too much young fruit growing on it, it drops some of the fruit before it develops. This allows the tree to focus its energy and resources on the fruit that remains, and in turn create beautiful, big, juicy works of art! As I looked at all the unripened little citrus fruits lying on the ground around my orange and grapefruit trees, I felt inspired by this simple concept. Sometimes we just need to release what’s not serving us and drop some fruit!
Back in the day, I would run myself ragged with jam-packed days, excess travel, and too many projects at once. I’d do all this without consideration to how much of my energy it was taking until I would find myself depleted and unable to focus on the things that were actually important to me. It wasn’t until several years ago (back in 2008) that I finally hit a wall, physically and emotionally, and knew I had to make some changes. I thought I’d share some of those changes with you here, so you can take what might work for you and apply it to help lighten your schedule and your life.
1) Make it a positive habit to give yourself a chance to think mindfully about obligations and projects before saying “Yes” to them. If your soul isn’t telling you, “Heck yeah!” then seriously consider a “No.”
2) Even if you’re making an effort to only allow things that feed your soul (or things that are absolutely necessary) on to your schedule, sometimes your schedule will still become too full. Make a point each week or month to check in with your calendar and ask yourself, “Is my schedule too full to live fully?” If the answer is yes, look for some things to drop or re-schedule for a time when your load is lighter.
3) Schedule unscheduled time. Purposely leave some mornings, afternoons, even entire days blank so you can have some time now and then to just zone out or do something you feel inspired by in those moments. I block out time in my schedule to have absolutely nothing planned, and I always end up thanking myself. Not to mention, some of the best times are the spontaneous ones – when you just go where the wind takes you.
Think about living more like a fruit tree and learn to tune-in to the need to drop some of your fruit so you can re-charge and focus on what’s important to you. Shift your focus to schedule your life with things that light you up, feed your spirit, and help you to feel excited about each and every day. It will take some practice for this to become habit, but if you’re open to making this change, it will make a major positive difference in the quality of your life.
Love & bliss,