This week we are going to work on spring cleaning our schedules! Are you ready to find some time you didn’t know you had? Ok, maybe I can’t find you more time. Everyone has the same 24hrs in a day, but we can work on getting rid of some of the unproductive tasks that don’t bring you joy or cause you stress. Does your life feel FULFILLED or just FULL? So many of us pack our schedules full of different activities and things we think we should do. Families are running ragged to keep up with the Jones’. Business executives are trying to fit more hours of work into their already packed calendar to get ahead of the competition. Is this really getting us ahead and making us happier in life? It doesn’t sound like it from the people I talk to. Again, we come back to the values exercise. Happiness comes from living into your values and that includes your schedule. In an article by Jeremy Rehwaldt he talks about teaching at Midland University and each year asking his students, “what makes for a contented and meaningful life?” Many students said strong family relationships, close friends, meaningful work, my faith and a sense that they are contributing to the world. Yet often the way we spend our time doesn’t reflect those values. As an exercise to see if your schedule matches your values and priorities, try tracking your time daily for one month. After you see where you are focusing your time, you can adjust to fit the things you value in and move other activities out. It may also be easier to say “no” to one more thing someone wants to add to your schedule. Another way to try to get the activities that are most important to you in your schedule each week is to use the Big Rocks exercise. Haven’t heard that story? Well this professor had a table in the front of the room with a large glass jar, some large rocks, gravel, sand and water. So this doesn’t get to long I’ll skip to the end. It didn’t look like all that could fit into the jar because people are starting with putting the water and sand in, then the gravel and last the big rocks. Instead, START with the big rocks, then the gravel which fits between, then the sand fills the other cracks and then the water. It all fit in the jar that time. This shows if you make time for the most important activities first, the small stuff will just fit in as your schedule allows and if they don’t, that’s OK>. They are not as important. Speaking of big rocks. Adequate sleep is a big one. Sleep is when your body rejuvenates, so we need that. Lack of sleep can lead to health issues and lower productivity as well as anger. A couple other big rocks could be physical activity, fun and rest. All are needed and part of your self-care, so schedule them into your life. You aren’t being selfish, just staying sane. Have you thought of some things you can spring clean out of your schedule yet? Start with the “shoulds” that are draining on you; even if it’s volunteering at a food pantry. If it’s making you stressed and spread too thin, it’s not a good thing right now in your life. Cleaning these things out of your life makes room for the possibility to bring nourishment, creativity, energy, joy, and satisfaction into your life.