Take Time for What You’re Thankful for

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I have so much to be thankful for! Three beautiful kids, a husband who adores me, and a darling puppy who thinks I’m the greatest person ever. I don’t know if it’s a function of age (I am knocking on 40’s door) or my place in life (my eldest son turned 20 last month), but I feel an immense amount of gratefulness for all of the blessings that I have. I want to soak up every moment possible with the people I care about. Isn’t that really what life is about? Connecting with people who make you whole? Making memories that bring a feeling of hopefulness and light to you? It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind. Work, school, sports, chores, laundry, daily routines… It can sometimes feel like a never-ending struggle to try to stay on top of all of the responsibilities that we have. I feel the constant tug of my grown up life pulling at me, but I have come realize recently that it’s OK for me to let some things slide every now and again. Get caught up in the moment — those are the times that we remember. We are never going to have this moment in time again — my little kids are living their childhood right here and now, my older son has begun his journey to adulthood, my husband and I are still growing together as a couple every day. Life doesn’t stop its endless march forward so we can take care of the “important” responsibilities we have. As you focus on giving thanks this month, I invite you to think about ways to make new memories and create traditions with those who mean the most to you. I’m sharing some of the commitments I made that have helped me and may also work for you. Prioritize I realized this summer how much I disliked it when I was not available to spend a lot of time with my kids and be there for events that were important to them. As a business owner billing time is what keeps things afloat at the office, but I had to find a balance. This school year I made some ground rules that allow me to put my kids at the top of the list. One thing I did was move my office back into my home, and the other important change I made was to limit early morning meetings so I can walk my kids to school two or three times a week. Those changes may not be realistic for you, but I am confident that you can make some adjustments to your schedule that will allow you to put more time into those things that are more important to you. Mange Time Everyone I know is busy, but I truly believe that busy is a state of mind. What I mean by that is that many of us are busy being busy. I took a long hard look at what I was spending my time on and weeded out those things that did not align to my priorities at this time. I began replacing lunch meetings with coffee meetings to give myself more productive work time. I set time expectations for phone calls or face-to-face meetings to keep things on track. I scheduled calls during commute time instead of listening to the radio. Again, all of these ideas may not be feasible in your schedule, but once you begin to take a hard look at where your time is spent, you will find areas that can be tweaked. Just Say No This is one of the hardest things of most people (including me) to do. Many of us want to please others, a noble and generous habit indeed. Unfortunately, we often say yes even when we don’t want to and wind up feeling overwhelmed, out of balance and upset at ourselves. A good way to get away from this is by setting self-imposed limits. I decided last year that I would only sit on one nonprofit board at a time so I could focus my full attention to those efforts. Maybe your limits are that you only do evening events one night a week, or Saturdays are reserved for family activities. Look at the places that you feel out of balance and start the process of drawing boundaries. I am so thankful that you took time out of your day to read my column. My hope is that you found something insightful in it that inspires you to make extra time for the people that you are most grateful for.

Tags: holiday, Image Focus, Thankful

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Shelley Davis Mielock

Shelley Davis Mielock is a certified business image coach and the founder of Mieshel Image Consulting, a Lansing-based firm that specializes in image development for individuals and businesses. She is also a co-host of In Her Shoes, a a weekly women’s talk radio show. To ask Shelley an image question, please e-mail her.

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