Advice Off the Mat Yoga Popular

How to Prioritize Like a Yogi

I have luckily created a life where I have control over my own time. I am a student and a freelance worker. I can mostly decide what I choose to do with my time.

I therefore have the gift (and curse) to completely manage my own time.

I should be able to do all of what I want to do with my day.

However, like many of us, I only have 24 hours in a day. 

Yeah, I know, shocking!

I am a so-called time optimist. I tend to think that I have more time than I actually have.

I also say yes, a lot.

Since I was a child, I have been saying yes to everyone that ask for my assistance on anything.

I realized the other day that I have never said yes to work because I needed the money, just because I have this sense of duty that pushes me to fill others (but actually just my) expectations.

The only times I would say no was when I had something else planned at the same time. And by something else, I mean I was doing something for someone else at the same time.

What I rarely said yes to was myself. I would put the things that only my heart desired somewhere in the back of my mind, while I worked on my to-do list, created by saying yes to others.

Slowly, I started saying no. Or saying yes on my own terms, adjusting the task to fit me.

I have however, only recently taken a whole shift in the right direction.

I realized that “normal people” usually work about 8 hours a day, so that my work day should also be finished around that time. That I needed to say no when my work day was finished, instead of saying yes until my whole day was filled up with tasks.

That I can create the life I want, by managing my time every single day so it suits my goals.

Mel Robbins, author of The Five Second Rule, says that assignments will suspend to the time that they are given. Therefore, you should set yourself a time you will stop working each day.

If I give myself the entire day to work for other people, it will soon be time for bed and I have done nothing of what I need for myself. Perhaps, because it was never on the to-do list. Perhaps, because there was nobody else waiting for me to finish that task or keeping me accountable.

I realized that I should respect myself enough to put me first. I realized that I should include everything I want to do in a day on the to-do list, and then I could fill in the gap with work.

So, I wrote down a list of what I want to achieve in a day, for myself. 

  • 8 hours sleep (sleep is sooo important!)
  • 2 hours yoga (including my morning meditation, pranayama, handstand practice and more)
  • 1 hour writing (like this article right here)
  • 1 hour self-learning (Udemy and other amazing things)
  • 2 hours cooking, eating, cleaning and so on (home-cooked meals are my favorite)
  • 30 minutes working on my side hustle a.k.a. my yoga business
  • 30 minutes reading (right before bed)
  • 1 hour for whatever else my heart desires (taking a walk, watching movie and so on)

That sums up to 16 hours, leaving me with exactly 8 hours of working, studying and teaching yoga each day.

This means that I will have time for everything that I actually want to focus on in my life.

In addition, on Sundays I am not allowed to do the things I get either paid or graded for.

8 hours, 6 days a week – that is more than working full-time. And that is enough.

Yes, honestly, I might get a little less work done than with my usual working 24/7. And that is completely okay!

Brian Tracy, author of Time Management, says that sometimes the best use of your time is to go to bed early and get a good night sleep.

I can actually say, that whenever I make time for yoga and meditation in my life, I feel that my time increases. Whenever I will make time for writing, my mind will be clear instead of full of unwritten articles.

I am sure that with this new time schedule, I will be able to do everything much better than before. When I take care of myself and my desires, I will be able to bring my energy and motivation to the tasks at hand.

And most importantly, I will be able to spend my days doing what I love. I will be able to create the life I always wanted to live.

What you choose to do with this particular day sets you up for the coming week, the coming month, the coming year.

So, set your priorities straight!

Because, what you choose to do with your time ends up being your life.

Like Josh Pyke sang so beautifully, “Time is like the ocean, you can only hold a little in your hand.”

OK, yogis, this is a tough one! How do you manage your time and make sure you’re prioritizing what’s important? Share your tips in the comments!

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4 Comments

  1. Marisa

    Marisa

    November 30, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Wow Pála! We are definitely on the same wavelength! 🙂 I was just talking about time management with a friend this morning! Thanks again for a great article!

    I really like that you have listed your priorities for yourself and set time commitments for each. One thing that I’m wondering (because this comes up as a challenge for me) – is how you fit the yoga part of your yoga business into the 8 hours you are assigning as work-time? (I assume the 30 minutes is on the promoting part?) What I struggle with is that for each hour that I teach, I have to add in at least another hour for commuting time, set-up/clean-up time. Not to mention lesson planning time. So that leaves fewer hours over the week for the other business tasks (marketing, training) and family & self-care time (reading, being present with my kids, eating, and of course, sleeping).

    It’s still a balance that I am playing around with and adapting as my time commitments/responsibilities/desires change. One thing that has helped is that I find I have combined some tasks. Like I will read when my kids are reading or on the bus on my way to yoga class. I batch cook meals on the weekends. And I also delegate a lot more and say no too (like you, I used to say yes to everything!). I use Lisa Jacob’s principle of asking “to what end” before saying yes now. What are my goals and To What End will saying yes to what I am being asked to do (or thinking about doing for myself) going to achieve these goals. It takes a bit more time because it’s planning instead of acting. But, as Abraham Lincoln said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first four sharpening my axe.” 😀

    1. Pála Margrét

      Pála Margrét

      December 1, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      First of all Marisa, I love your enthusiasm! That will get you a long way.

      So, lets give you an answer. Right now, I am in the progress of doing a lot of different tasks, and therefore my days look very different. Teaching a yoga class will also take 2 hours for me at least, with the commute (faster if I bike, then if I bus). And yes, the working on my yoga business part is right now creating my website. And the yoga classes I teach are often substituting classes, that is not part of my yoga business, and often get on the schedule with little notice. The class scheduling I do is mostly in my head, I decide a theme or what I want to be doing, because even though I´d right something down, I wouldn´t follow it 😉

      I´ll tell you this. I wrote this article after a way to messy time, with a lot of work. Simply, writing down these priorities made it clearer to me in what direction I was going. The exercise of writing this down made such a shift in my thinking and I have been taking much better care for myself ever since. I am not saying that I actually write down when to start and finish everything, and I still have a bit of work to do in “perfecting” my routine (if that even is possible). The shift in thinking however makes it much more easier to say no when needed and to take off time for myself, as I have already worked my hours in the day. About getting yoga and meditation in, it works best for me to wake up earlier (I know, it never sounds fun – but I swear by it!). And I also listen to a lot of audio books, getting more reading time in while biking or walking to yoga class.

      So I recommend that you do that exercise for yourself. Write down what things you will prioritize and then see how long of a time you have left for yourself. And it is true, the longer time you have for something, the longer it will take. I love that Lincoln quote!

      The more you work with time management, the more mindful you will become! 🙂 (and also, using Mel Robbins 5-second-rule helps you actually get things done!)

  2. gailanne grosso

    gailanne grosso

    December 29, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    so wise…regardless of how hard we work “out in the world”, do for others, on their terms, it is just as important to take the same kind of time, care, devotion and DISCIPLINE to do a “good job” on and for ourselves.

    and sometimes that does mean saying no…but remember so often when we are saying YES to others, either for pay as work or for favors as friends, we are saying NO to ourselves.

    as in all things, there needs to be balance– doing only for self is as unhealthy as is slavishly doing only for others–

    thank you for the reminder and also the practical advice and breakdown in real time!

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