If there’s one valuable lesson I’ve learned in life, it’s that you must create the time for what is important to you.
Without stepping back and looking at how you spend your time, you end up reacting to life and living by the demands of others rather than living life deliberately based on what is valuable to you.
In this episode, I’ll share a story of how I realized I need to shift the time in my life to make more space for what is important to me, and how that need can shift depending on life’s circumstances.
I’ll also give you four simple steps to start you on the process of looking at the big picture of your life and how you use your time to serve you and what’s important to you.
You do have the power to live the life you want but it takes some conscious effort to be sure you have space to do it in.
Read the Full Transcript Below:
Laura Lummer 0:00
This is Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Ayurveda specialist, a personal trainer, and I'm also a breast cancer survivor. In this podcast, we talk about healthy thinking and mindfulness practices, eating well, moving your body for health and longevity. And we'll also hear from other breast cancer survivors who have reengaged with life and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go-to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.
Laura Lummer 0:38
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach Podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. And then very, very grateful and happy that you're here today.
Laura Lummer 0:49
If you are a new listener to this show, thank you so much for checking it out and downloading it, and if you are a returning listener. thanks for coming back and continuing to come back. Without you, there wouldn't be a breast cancer recovery coach podcast. And so I appreciate everyone who takes the time to listen and check in with the show.
Laura Lummer 1:09
So thank you. And thanks for the reviews, the ratings and the reviews that keep coming in the subscribes that help so much for the show. And it really means a lot to me, because I know that it takes your time to make the time to leave those ratings and reviews. And they just mean so much to the show and make it so much easier for other survivors to find. So thank you for taking the time to do that. And showing support for the breast cancer recovery coach podcast, I appreciate it more than I can even explain.
Laura Lummer 1:39
Alright, so let's get into this show. This show is coming out a day late usually comes out on Thursdays. But as I was going through the process of outlining, and recording and editing. And I thought, you know, this just was not resonating with me. And since I've been going through something that was really heavy on my heart, and really meaningful to me, I thought, you know what, that's what I really want to talk about this week.
Laura Lummer 2:09
And so I went back to the drawing board and redid the podcast. And so that's why it's coming out a day late. But I hope that it resonates with you because I felt really strongly that this is what I needed to talk about this week.
Laura Lummer 2:21
So, you know, having this new diagnosis of metastatic cancer for the last few months has caused me to spend a lot of time going back through the pillars that I teach, you know... What needs to be released... What needs to be renewed... How do I need to regroup things... and what is important to me now?
Laura Lummer 2:42
And there's this definitely a greater sense of urgency to live the way I want to live, right to make life be the way I want my life to be. And yet I find myself with this feeling that I get in my chest. And it's this feeling of being stuck, right, like there's a block there. And yet, I'm going through treatment, I'm approaching this treatment completely different, this time around than I did with my first diagnosis, I'm doing really well. And in fact, I'll share some good news with you. I received news this week that my tumor markers which started at I think they were 86 or 89, in October when I was diagnosed, and now they are down to 25. And zero to 25 is pretty much the normal range. So I'm super happy that I'm responding really well. And everything's going great.
Laura Lummer 3:41
But there's still this feeling in my heart in my chest that something is stuck, there's a block, something needs to change, and something needs to move. And one of the things I noticed as I was trying to figure out why I have this feeling is that I find myself not doing things that I say are important to me.
Laura Lummer 4:02
So for example, I have a plan to create a free video series and a new coaching program. And when I created the plan for them, and I outlined them, I was super excited about the value that this will offer to my listeners, to my audience, to the women that I serve, and how many more women I'll be able to reach and support with these new programs.
Laura Lummer 4:23
And yet, I'm way behind schedule. And many times I sit down for the time I've allotted to work on these projects. And I feel like my head is just stuffed with cotton, right? I tell myself, I don't even I don't want to do this right now. Or I tell myself, I just can't. I just can't do it right now. And it was really bothering me because this work is really important to me. And I know enough to know that there's something going on in my brain that is bringing up this resistance and causing me to feel stuck.
Laura Lummer 4:55
Now at first, I thought you know what, I'm just tired. It's a lot of work. I'm going through A lot physically, it's just fatigue. And that's what's undermining my motivation. And those thoughts were not helping.
Laura Lummer 5:07
Right, you can imagine those kinds of thoughts were not helping me move past the feeling of being stuck. Those kinds of thoughts are excuses. They were keeping me feeling stuck. So this last weekend, my granddaughter was here, and we baked and we made sspam musubis, which is one of her favorite foods. We watched Finding Nemo and Ghostbusters, we got together with my daughter and her boyfriend for a wonderful time, a wonderful evening, a lovely dinner. It was a slow and peaceful and precious weekend. And when her daddy, my oldest son came to pick her up on Monday night, and they were leaving my house, they were walking down the hall to the elevator and I heard her say to him, Daddy, when you were little like me, was there something really special about staying at your grandma's house too?
Laura Lummer 5:58
And my heart. That was not only awesome to hear. And it was the beginning of a moment of clarity for me. And as I journaled the next morning, on my daily question, which is what do I need to do today to heal?
Laura Lummer 6:15
I realized that the resistance, I had been feeling, that stuck feeling the resistance towards doing the things that I said, I valued, but I wasn't doing the work towards them. That it wasn't actually because I didn't want to do the work because I love what I do. The problem was that I need more time for me at this point in my life.
Laura Lummer 6:39
And I realized that even though I'm good about making time for myself, and having a morning practice, and consistently journaling, and exercising, and eating well, I'm very committed to those things. But as the circumstances in my life have changed recently, that's just not enough. I need more now. I need more free time, more time with my kids, my family, my grandkids, my friends, more time devoted to having experiences that create connection and valuable memories. I need more time to sit on the beach, and take in the ocean and focus on what heals my body.
Laura Lummer 7:21
And the way to make that happen is to be more efficient, with my time to actually be more intentional about blocking out time for those things more time for those things. And you probably didn't expect that the solution to having a better quality of life. And more time for the things I value was going to be time management.
Laura Lummer 7:47
But it is.
Laura Lummer 7:48
And when most people hear time management, they think rigidity, scheduling deadlines, but that's the complete opposite of why I use time management in time blocking in my own life. And why I coach on that as well.
Laura Lummer 8:04
The fundamental idea is to structure your time. So you have what you need. And you can be present in the whitespace you've created for yourself without feeling anxious and distracted about all the other things that you quote-unquote, "should be getting done."
Laura Lummer 8:21
Because all of those other things are already written into your plan. They have their own space, and you've deliberately decided when they will happen. So you get to use the system to create the space you want. Whether it's two minutes a day, in silence, one date night, a week or a month, three yoga classes a week, three hours a day, for yourself to be open to whatever sounds good to do a puzzle with the kids, to read a book, to start a business, work on a hobby, whatever it is that you value.
Laura Lummer 8:52
That is what time blocking and efficient time management for life is all about.
Laura Lummer 9:00
Now, I can imagine that thought like I have too many things to do. I can't make that time for myself, I have kids, work is too unpredictable. All the other things that your brain throws at you as excuses for why you can't make the time you need for yourself to have what you want. Those thoughts will pop up like crazy right now, so bear with me, and let me tell you how this simple practice in your life can change your life.
Laura Lummer 9:32
Blocking out and committing time for yourself can really change everything. And let's talk about how you can start going about it.
Laura Lummer 9:42
So first of all, time blocking is a practice. It's not a one and done. And it's not just about writing things on a calendar. It's much much deeper than that. It's really about taking a look at what is happening in your life. What's working and what isn't It's about doing the things you actually value, what you want your life to look like, you begin to create that, and you begin to figure out how to make it happen. And that takes time. It's a practice, and you get better at it as you find where you over commit, where you underestimate the time something will take. And then you have too many things to do, and you feel stressed and overwhelmed. And then you end up doing nothing, or just buffering and scrolling around on Facebook and Instagram until you run out of time. And then you just put that stuff off until you can get to it some other time, right.
Laura Lummer 10:37
But what happens is nothing, nothing changes. And then you find yourself telling yourself, oh, it can't change because of the job, the kids the benefits, the retirement, etc, etc, whatever the reason is that you offer to yourself. And yet, as you tell yourself those excuses, that feeling that needs inside of you, for something to change, that something is stuck, it's still there.
Laura Lummer 11:04
And so you can get stuck in that space of telling yourself, Well, this is how it has to be, versus this is what I need.
Laura Lummer 11:13
And you may not even have figured out yet what you need, which is okay because this is a practice that will help you do that. You just know that things don't feel right. They don't feel off.
Laura Lummer 11:23
So how does that have anything to do with time?
Laura Lummer 11:28
Well, time is our most precious and valuable asset in this life. And you get to choose how you want to invest your time based on what you value in your life. This is another one of those things that simple, but not easy. Because you have to take things off your plate, you have to delegate aka. GET HELP or God forbid, you have to move outside your comfort zone and engage with other people to make your life happen the way you want it to. But it is worth the effort. So I want to give you four steps to get started on having more time for yourself and less stress in your life.
Laura Lummer 12:11
Okay, step number one is to decide what you value in your life.
Laura Lummer 12:17
Now you're going to need a pencil and paper for this because I really actually truly want you to write it down, write everything that's the game-changer. Set a timer for yourself. Give yourself five minutes and write everything that comes to your mind when you ask yourself, What do I value in my life.
Laura Lummer 12:37
Now as I was working through this exercise for myself, trying to figure out why I felt so stuck when everything was relatively great in my life. I remember this tremendous sense of relief when I realized it was like pulling the splinter out of my heart when I realized that I was not doing some of the things that I say I value. Because I was waiting.
Laura Lummer 12:59
I was waiting until this is done or that is finished or my husband has more time or whatever, whatever. And one of those things was traveling.
Laura Lummer 13:07
So I have a long list of travel that I want to do. And right now I have a compromised immune system. It's the middle of the pandemic, my doctor does not want me flying. And I'm not really comfortable doing it either. And so I said to my husband, you know, I can't allow my life to continue in the same way that it has been. It has to change. There are things that are important to me that I haven't made a priority.
Laura Lummer 13:34
And that stops now.
Laura Lummer 13:36
And one of those things, in particular, is taking a trip to Colorado to see my second son his new home. That again, I'm not, shouldn't be flying, not really comfortable flying. And so we decided to rent an RV, and we're going to take a trip across a couple of states, see some cool things on the way minimize my risk of exposure, but still make this trip happen.
Laura Lummer 13:59
And that is what I need in my life. That's what I need to do to support my healing. I need to not allow money, time, business, anything to be an excuse or a block to the time I need for myself and my loved ones. I need to rearrange how and when things will happen so that I can accommodate what I value most.
Laura Lummer 14:25
So that's why starting with a list of what you value is important. If you value it and you're not doing it, why not? And is there a way to make it happen? Are there things in your life that you can take off your plate so that the things that you really value in desire can manifest in your life?
Laura Lummer 14:46
That's an important starting place and you got to write it down so that you can look at it and see what is truly happening.
Laura Lummer 14:54
See the picture.
Laura Lummer 14:57
Alright, step two. Get all the things you need to do on the list. Work... grocery shopping... all the things you need, all the things you value, want to do, or want to accomplish. Write them down.
Laura Lummer 15:13
Just like the thought download where you take five minutes and write everything that you value. This goes along with it. But this is a task-oriented thing. This is the to-do list of the things you want to accomplish.
Laura Lummer 15:23
Okay, that's step two.
Laura Lummer 15:25
And then step three is to take each item from that list and begin to plug it into your calendar, beginning with the whitespace. Beginning with the time you need for yourself, for your rest, for your exercise, for your creative outlets, for whatever it is.
Laura Lummer 15:43
Your time goes on the calendar first.
Laura Lummer 15:47
Then, as you work through the to-do list, ask yourself, can I let someone else do this? Bring in your champions, your support team, your people around you, and ask for help. Delegate, ask yourself, Am I doing this because I think it's expected of me? Do I really want to be doing this thing? Does this thing even need to get done? If there's a project you want to accomplish? Does it need one big block of time, or can you break it into small chunks, and a lot a little bit of time each week, knowing that this project will be done in a month, or in two months or in a year if that's how long it takes to work with your schedule that allows you to take care of yourself and still live the life you want to live.
Laura Lummer 16:34
So I hope you're starting to get that picture. Time blocking is about freedom. It's about taking back your life, and living it intentionally with as much joy and as many meaningful moments as you can get in while still getting the must dues accomplished.
Laura Lummer 16:52
The "have to dues," right?
Laura Lummer 16:55
And step four is do not to judge yourself. This is not an exercise in good or bad or capable or efficient.
Laura Lummer 17:05
This is an exercise in arranging life.
Laura Lummer 17:10
And as I said earlier, it takes time, because at first, you might put, I have a three o'clock dental appointment on the calendar and you put your dental appointment on there from three to four. But you forget that it takes 20 minutes to get there and 20 minutes to get back. And so if you don't put that on the calendar, you can find yourself behind schedule and not having the time to do the next thing you want it to do.
Laura Lummer 17:35
But as you work through these things, you begin to get the real picture of where you're investing your valuable time where you want to continue investing it. And what you might need to let go of in order to get more bang for your buck, and how your life is in alignment with what you need and value.
Laura Lummer 17:55
That is the picture that will begin to manifest in front of you, you'll begin to see that picture very clearly.
Laura Lummer 18:03
So if you don't do something that's on this week's calendar, this week's schedule, ask yourself at the end of the week, why?
Laura Lummer 18:10
Was it because you didn't allow enough time for it? Was it because you didn't allow enough time for something that came before or after it and it ran over? Or did you really not want to do it? Or does it even actually have to be done by you? Did a bigger priority come up and it just needs to be moved to another day and time? That's okay, just move it.
Laura Lummer 18:32
But most importantly, is you're giving yourself the grace to move things around without judgment. Ask yourself every single time this important question, did I honor the time I set aside for myself?
Laura Lummer 18:49
How important is your commitment to you? Do you let other people and their requests override the time you decided is important to you?
Laura Lummer 18:58
This was one of my realizations.
Laura Lummer 19:00
At the beginning of every year, I wanted vacation time on the calendar. My husband was busy with other things or had some other idea for his schedule, and I waited. And then what that ended up meaning for me is I wasn't accomplishing the things that I truly valued.
Laura Lummer 19:19
And I had to look at that and have an honest conversation with him about what that meant to me now at this point in my life and how I would approach it differently. How when there's something that I need to do, I have to make it happen. And I would love for him to make it happen with me. But if he can't I understand, but I'm not going to wait anymore.
Laura Lummer 19:40
How important is your commitment to you? This is your life. Do you let other people override what is your time and what you value? And if you do, it is important to understand what's happening so you can get better at maintaining those healthy boundaries for yourself in the future. So you can understand that you are the priority. And when you love yourself enough, you will honor those commitments that you make to and for yourself.
Laura Lummer 20:14
So I want to offer for your consideration, that if you're feeling stuck, and you feeling like you're frustrated because maybe you're thinking, I want to go back to normal, but maybe you're just not living the way you truly want to live. And so you're reaching back out for what is familiar and comforting because you're looking to get out of that stuck, uncomfortable place. And thinking that going back to normal will be more comforting.
Laura Lummer 20:42
But if you can let go of that resistance, and you can move into a place of curiosity, your new perspective on life, and mortality may be pushing you to live life a little bit differently now. And if you can take the time for at least three months, to write these things down and look at your life on paper, you may be very surprised at what you see, and how you can create something that moves you closer to the life you desire.
Laura Lummer 21:13
And especially if you're hearing yourself using words like overwhelm, I'm overwhelmed, I'm stuck, I'm unsure. These are indicators that your brain is just giving you some pushback about something. And sometimes taking a step back, removing yourself a little bit to look at the real picture of what's happening in your life and what parts of it are deliberate versus reactive, can begin to bring you the clarity that can increase your peace of mind, reduce your stress, and allow more joy.
Laura Lummer 21:46
And if you have questions or comments about how to start this process, and really how to move your life more towards something that encompasses the things that you value, the most, come to the breast cancer recovery group. It's a FREE Facebook group, with hundreds of women there to support each other.
Laura Lummer 22:07
Because that's what we need. We need support in embracing this life, in allowing healing in allowing joy and allowing love and connection in our life. And so much of the focus on breast cancer recovery, or being in treatment for breast cancer is on fighting... and resistance...
Laura Lummer 22:28
And this is like this new passion that I have now is to just help all of us who are in this position of going through breast cancer, living with breast cancer, healing from breast cancer, to understand that there's no one to fight but yourself and fighting yourself doesn't result in healing.
Laura Lummer 22:48
Fighting yourself doesn't result in a full and fulfilling life.
Laura Lummer 22:54
Being curious, allowing yourself to look at life, allowing yourself to evaluate where you're going, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and to be open to connections, and to realize that you cannot do it all on your own. And why would you want to. These are the things that lead us to a more fulfilling life. And this is the idea that I hope we can have a complete paradigm shift in as survivors to know that you don't have to keep fighting, you can start just allowing healing, and allowing connection and love and joy in your life.
Laura Lummer 23:34
I hope that helps. And I'm here for you if you have questions. So you can find me on my Facebook page at Laura Lummer on Instagram as the breast cancer recovery coach and my free Facebook group, The Breast Cancer Recovery Group.
Laura Lummer 23:50
All right, I will talk to you again next week and until then, please be good to yourself and expect other people to be good to you as well.
Laura Lummer 23:58