Priorities

At a weekend workshop at our studio a few years ago, the teacher asked everyone who felt as if they should be doing more in any aspect of their life to raise their hand. This could be doing more yoga, spending more time with family, reading, working, doing yard work, more of anything at all. There were forty people at the workshop and every hand in the room went up. The workshop leader was illustrating how we each feel we should or could be doing more than we are doing now.

When I bought HAYC eleven years ago, I was teaching yoga classes here in Herndon and also in Columbia, Maryland. I also had a part-time computer programming job in Columbia. Adding management of the studio to an already busy schedule completely overwhelmed me. One morning I woke up and wrote down everything I expected to do that day and that week.  I discovered I needed thirty-two hour days or a few extra days in the week if I planned to sleep six hours each night.  Clearly this was not going to work, though I felt better knowing I had a reason to feel stressed.

Recognizing the irony of a stressed-out yoga teacher, I decided to set priorities and become comfortable with allowing the non-priorities to slide.  For a year and a half, until I left my jobs in Columbia, my meals were very simple, shopping was only for essentials, and my house was pretty messy. If something was not necessary for one of my jobs or interacting in polite society, it did not get done unless I found a spare hour. The benefit was that I could usually do all that was required and I learned not to get upset about all that I could not do.

For most of us, it is impossible to accomplish all that we think we should, could, or want. Even if we happen to accomplish everything, we can probably find more to fill our time.  I was talking with a friend who retired awhile ago and he said that he does not know how he ever worked; his schedule is so full that he is having trouble fitting in all of his activities.  My life is much simpler now that I can just focus on the yoga center, but there are days I feel just as busy as I did years ago.

If we recognize that there will never be enough hours in the day, the question changes from: “How will I do everything?” to “What is worthy of my time?”  I learned from my busy year that quality of life is important and making time for activities I enjoy must be part of my schedule. There are a few essentials like eating and sleeping that we have to do to survive, but beyond those, we each have our own opinions about what is indispensible.  How we choose to spend our time greatly affects both how we feel and our overall well-being.

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