I had big dreams for 2020. Like a lot of us, 2020 was going to be my year. I was going to get myself together and be the best version of myself that I could be. Now, don't get me wrong. I made amazing things happen in 2020, but the pandemic gave me the time and opportunity to look at myself fully.
I started to ask myself, what did I need to get together, and how were those aspects of myself not together? I knew my problems; I was burnt out, for overcommitting and overexerting myself. I didn’t feel good in my body. I had ambitions and goals and no clue how to meet them. And to top it all off, I had terrible time management caused by procrastination because the creative capacity I once had was fleeting.
I sat with myself and my issues laid out in front of me and asked, "what do I need?" The first thing that came to mind was help. My burn out did not come from the things I loved. The burnout came from having to do all the tiny tasks that supported what I love.
The next thing that came to mind was guidance. There is an African Proverb that states, “If you want to get there fast, go alone if you want to get there and stay, go together.”
I realized that I was winging it when several professionals had already cracked the code on achieving my goals. The last thing that came to mind was support from myself.
While the first couple of problems were solved by hiring an assistant and a bad-bitch support squad, coaches, and professionals that helped me set and achieve manageable goals, the last one made my brain hurt; How do I support myself, what does that look like? As I looked at my work calendar, I saw that I needed to: balance seeing enough therapy clients, get my license and pay the bills, reach the goal of doing three events a month, support my community-based organization and give my body the things it needs to be well and healed. My previous method of this centered on seeing clients until the wee hours of the night, not getting enough sleep because I stayed up forcing myself to create content, and filling anytime that I didn't engage with, by sitting on the couch feeling tired and meh.
In this method, my center was work, so I decided to do something revolutionary. I decided to focus on my pleasures and leisure and fill-in work with the time that remained. By scheduling my leisure, I prioritized my health, my body, and spirit. And I managed to have extra space to continue work. The first thing I did was find a personal trainer. I joined a fitness challenge and decided to work out every day and twice a day on Tuesday and Thursday. Knowing I would work out in the mornings and Tuesday and Thursday evenings helped me create a work schedule that put a cap on the number of time slots to see clients.
I also made sure to schedule a lunch every day. If my body isn't fed, she gets angry, as does my doodle when he isn't able to go on a walk. I leave my free time after work to my to-do list. Some days it's creating content, other days, playing video games, and some days I sleep. I leave that time up to whatever my body feels like doing. To reward me for handling my business and being dope I get weekly massages. Prioritizing my pleasure has allowed me to show up as a better therapist, educator, co-founder, and partner because the previous chaos that surrounded my career is well organized. I like to say that I'm the sun that everything else orbits around.
Prioritizing my pleasure was easy because I set my schedule but, if you don’t have the same flexibility as I do, give these pleasure-on-the-go tips a try:
Ask yourself what is something pleasurable you can do before, during, or after your responsibilities? Maybe you can talk a morning walk and meditation before going to work. Or you can carry your favorite scent with you and have a stop and recharge moment before you pick up the kids. Maybe you schedule time after dinner for your favorite show and set the boundary that this is a no interference zone. Whatever you do, take pride in the fact that this is for you and your betterment. Life is full of hustle, and there is always something to do. But imagine how better you may feel, or how better you would show up if every day you took intentional time for yourself.
The 5 minutes you take could be the catalyst that gets you to your next great thing.