Spring is a great time to see the process of renewal in the natural world and is a great time to take stock of our lives – what is working well for us, what is not working so well and seeing what changes we can make or influence.
We often spend a lot of time on automatic pilot: busy getting things done as well as thinking about what needs to be done next, as well as experiencing distractions of one sort or another. We often feel that there is little time to spare outside everything that is going on. However, there might just be spaces which we haven’t fully recognised or put to best use and perhaps we can also create some new spaces in order to build in time for something which nourishes us – this might simply be some peace or quiet.
One way of doing this is to make a chart of what we do from first getting up until going to bed and looking carefully at what patterns emerge and what opportunities there are for changing things for the better. Ideally, do this for a full week although even doing a day can be useful.
- Just make a chart with each day of the week, split into each hour between getting up and going to bed. Start with the hour which begins with your ideal getting-up time and ends when you reach your ideal going-to-bed/sleep time. Generally we need between six and eight hours sleep, and the more we can keep to a consistent pattern of going to bed and getting up, the more the body is conditioned to sleep at those times.
- For each hour on each day, fill in what has happened in that hour. Just a general description will be enough, e.g. wake up, shower/dress, breakfast, lunch, dinner, working (insert some details here such as describing the project or task involved), travelling, relaxing (insert some details here to record type of relaxation, e.g. TV, watching film, playing music, reading, social activity, going for a walk, telephoning a friend), household tasks (e.g. tidying up, cleaning, washing, routine household administration), bed and sleep.
- You can use the chart to record the activities and measure your rating of a sense of achievement (A) and/or enjoyment (E) against them on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).
- Patterns are likely to show over time. This can help you measure to what extent your levels of achievement and enjoyment are, as you want them to be, as well as the mix between the two. If you want the mix to be different, just consider how you could make adjustments and changes. Would it make a difference to travel to work by another route or method? If you get off the bus a stop earlier than usual and walk the rest of the way, this could give you some additional exercise. Even another ten minutes of walking a day could be beneficial. Ask yourself, are there times when what you are doing is depleting your energy; if so, how could you cut out or spend less time on those things and more time on the things which give you a sense of achievement or enjoyment?