September 1, 2014

Keeping on Track with Time

clock_144x145We know the value of time management is multifarious. Time well-managed reduces stress, increases energy and productivity, generates a sense of personal fulfillment, strengthens family bonds and financial stability and contributes overall to better health.

The practice of time management, however, can be elusive to even the most seasoned among us. Life happens and getting derailed is a reality. The key is to recognize the derailment as only a temporary glitch and get back on track; don’t let a derailment cause a disastrous crash.

I am my own best example. Looking back at the start of this column, I realize it has been eight months since I last posted. But now I am picking up where I left off and getting back on track. Berating myself the lapse is counterproductive. The past cannot be changed.

Did I get derailed? Yes.

Did I have a devastating crash? No.

If, as I state in my introductory column, “Wellness is a word that describes you, doing your best,” then the act of balancing our family, goals, priorities, work and self to be our best relies on some set of time management skills. Often we allude to time management as an encompassing concept without taking a conscious look at what that entails and actually implementing an action plan.

How often do we get to the end of our day and realize it has been very busy, but we haven’t really accomplished much or we haven’t accomplished what we envisioned for ourselves at the start of the day?

Let’s start by asking ourselves if we recognize the difference between matters of urgency and matters of importance. Those of urgency might be a colleague’s ‘crisis’, a phone call, an email or text message, or whatever happens to ‘grab’ our attention and take us away from our primary goal. These all nibble away at the time we need to find for our important task.

Finding time, of course, is a misnomer – we have 24 hours each day, no matter what, and as hard and long as we look we will not find more hours in the recesses of any day.

Matters of importance include whatever task is worthy of being at the top of the day’s to-do list; completing a big project, filing a report or writing a proposal. The solution lies in setting the time aside and devoting a focused – i.e. distraction-free-hour (or two or three…) to the task at hand. We need to see the distractions for what they are before they distract us, and sequester any distractions to another time slot. This way of thinking will initially take cognizant attentiveness until it becomes habit.

With important matters attended to, the snowball effect begins. We’ll get to the end of the day and feel satisfaction at having completed what we set out to do. This sense of satisfaction and productivity reduces our stress.

Reduced stress spreads like the roots of a tree to stabilize our lives, improve our health – both emotional and physical-, allow us to breathe life and happiness into the lives of others, enhance our relationships and ultimately free up more time for ourselves.

The topic of time management is enormous. It pervades into other of life’s arenas, so you’ll notice this topic finding its way into many columns. My hope is that by viewing time management as a concrete and tangible thought process that can be changed, molded and developed, you will carve time out for you to be you, doing your best.

If you would like more time management tips now, visit my Vitality Spa website.

Live long. Live Well.

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Live Long, Live Well

Live Long Live Well has always been my guiding philosophy; it is one that has shaped my life and inspired my business, so I have decided to write my first column for LymeLine using that same title.

As I started to think about what Living Well really means to me and to my clients, I realized that I wasn’t just writing an article, but a whole series of articles, which will run with different individual titles under the column name of Live Long, Live Well.

Living well is not just about the absence of illness; it isn’t about a prescribed set of rules or a list of shoulds and should nots, it’s about a journey and a practice.  It’s about being at ease in your space, with your body, with your attitude and with your environment. 

Wellness is about having the mental, physical and emotional fitness to enjoy your life in a way that is in line with your goals, hopes, dreams and values.  Most importantly wellness is personal and wellness is relative. 

Wellness is a word that describes you, doing your best.  Wellness is your life at a balanced optimum. Wellness is health in the deepest and broadest sense of the word.  It is a practice, and a process.  It requires patience and persistence.  Wellness embraces your entire being, accepts you as you are, and loves you unconditionally.  Wellness walks with you. http://www.uwa.edu/Wellness

This is my favorite definition of wellness; beautiful and inspiring, yet it is so esoteric that many of us need a more structured approach to tackling the challenges which prevent us from enjoying life.

I like the University of Western Alabama’s approach to Wellness and Wellbeing (http://www.uwa.edu/Wellness_and_Well-Being.aspx), which is to think about overall “wellness” as incorporating eight components:  Emotional, Financial, Intellectual, Physical, Social, Spiritual, Time Management, and Work (paid or unpaid). 

A lack of balance in any one (or for most of us in all) of these components can lead to one big problem: stress.  As we learn more about the negative impact that stress has on our bodies, the more important we realize it is to manage these components of our lives in order to mitigate the damage. 

So … where does that leave us?  What can we do today to help us to Live Long and Live Well?  It is vital that we make time for ourselves to recharge: getting adequate sleep, proper nutrition, daily meditation or yoga, exercising in nature, and massage therapy are all excellent tools to help you relax and rejuvenate body, mind and spirit. 

Living a healthy balanced lifestyle is key, but it doesn’t have to be about deprivation and giving up everything you love; it’s about having the information to help you make positive decisions about your health and wellbeing.   As we tackle some more of these issues in more depth, my hope is that this column will serve as a resource to help you make informed decisions about your own personal wellness. 

Live Long, Live Well! 

Lindsay Eisensmith is the owner and Spa Director at Vitality: Spa-Therapy, located at 14 Lyme Street, Old Lyme.  Lindsay holds a degree in Exercise & Sports Studies from Smith College.  Additionally, she is a certified Personal Trainer (NASM), CT Licensed Massage Therapist and Holistic Health Coach certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  Vitality customizes treatment plans to each individual by integrating organic skincare, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, stretching and corrective exercise to create a personalized wellness program that targets each client’s unique health needs, budget, and lifestyle.  Our aim is to always exceed the expected. 

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