“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” Sydney Harris
If you Google “self-care,” you’ll get over 48 million results. Some provide a definition (medicinal and therapeutic); others provide instructions on various ways to practice it.
As you can tell from last week’s post, I’m on a bit of self-care rant. Like a lot of things I write about or create, this rant stems from a conversation and a casual comment someone said that gave me pause.
They simply said, “I don’t have time for…”
Think about all the times you’ve said the same. Or, better yet, what about the times you’ve said: “I’ll get to that later,”
Now think about how often the “that” pertained to a financial task or decision – a financial move that you’ve deferred.
I’m going on and on about self-care because of the fundamental role it plays in your ability to make smart decisions and choices around your money.
In my opinion, self-care certainly includes moments of pampering. But I am advocating that it go beyond a special occasion event; that being good to yourself, by putting yourself first, is embraced as an on-going approach to life.
Because self-care is what creates the mental and emotional space that enables you to think more clearly and act more deliberately.
The notion of space isn’t something usually associated with money management. But I believe it ought to be because space can amplify your discernment while, hopefully, quieting down the whispers of self-judgment.
Money needs space, too
Space – what does this mean? Space is one of those multi-faceted, multi-dimensional words. But for the point I’m using this post to make, here’s how I am defining space: not as empty time, but as active down time that you’ve purposely scheduled.
In other words, space is something you make in your life so you can dream, think and do – create. Elements that just happen to also play a role in your financial well-being.
Here’s what space gives you and allows for:
When you schedule time to dream and think, you’re able to quiet down the noise of what’s happening around you and get clear(er) about what you want, how you want it, and why. All which helps you to manage your focus and energy.
With a clearer head, you can more easily identify risks to your plans, as well as be on the look-out for less obvious opportunities to help you achieve your goals.
Exploration and experimentation
What typically comes from working to gain clarity are questions. And, that’s a good thing.
Certainly, one of the values of asking questions are the answers you get. But just as important is the process of getting to those answers. Staying in a state of curiosity invites you to be alert and pay attention so you can be open to possibilities of what could be and/or could be better.
Value what you can’t see
I like to think of space as the place where a lot of the invisible work happens.
Growing your savings account by another $10k; reducing your debt by another $5k; getting that new job or client. When you hit these targets, they are tangible results of your effort. They are the by-products of things you did (that you and others can see and measure). However, the things you did (that you can’t see or easily measure) during your “space” time also contribute to your results.
Here’s the thing I believe most people overlook about space: its effect on your life is playing out all the time.
When your schedule gets busy or you become overwhelmed by life’s demands, and the first thing you let slide down the priority list are the thing/s you do to take care of yourself – that’s space wrecking havoc on your goals and plans. That’s space controlling you.
When, despite a hectic schedule and unanticipated demands, you relentlessly protect your self-care time, that is you controlling space.
When you are in control of space, you don’t put off having that meeting with your financial advisor; you don’t avoid reviewing your bills and banking and credit card statements; you don’t say, “I don’t have enough money to warrant getting professional advice;” if the price of getting that advice and guidance 1:1 is outside your financial capacity, you buy a book or go the library; you don’t skip out on the opportunity to save simply because you only have $2.74 – you embrace and give purpose to and save what you have…$2.74.
Said differently, you let go of the excuses that prevent you from doing the right thing for you and your money. You don’t let “when you have time you’ll get to it” be what drives what you do, how and when.
The dynamic duo
There are two dimensions when it comes to your money and self-care:
Mindset -> Where you actively make the choice to make proactively managing your money a self-care priority. You make the commitment to take action.
Behavior -> Where you schedule your financial tasks and the time to ponder financial decisions or to make plans and work on your strategy. This can happen weekly or monthly, but you make sure it happens. You take the action to which you committed.
In order to think more clearly and act more deliberately about your money choices, you need space. In order to ritualize your activities and process, you need space.
You need space so you can be strategic at the right time; you need space so you can be tactical at the right time.
And space needs to be scheduled.
That is why I say the best self-care happens in your calendar.
p.s. My new best productivity friend is the Productivity Planner, by Intelligent Change – love, love, LOVE! Check it out and see if it can help you create the space you need to be the best manager you can be of your money.
p.p.s. Announcement for the ladies: Are you dating, living with someone, or married? Are you the primary breadwinner? If so, do you find the dynamics of managing the emotional and financial demands your income gap sometimes presents challenging? This love + money intersection is the theme for our next The Comfort Circle™ event. February 27th is the date. Click here to RSVP.