My challenge to myself this month is minimalistic time-management. I need to get better at choosing what I should do with my time. And in order to do that, I need to prioritize – I can’t do everything I want to do if I want to keep healthy.

So, what is most important in my life? Well… me. This is a fairly new insight, but it must be – if I’m not in my life it’s pretty pointless, right? I want my life to be a good life, I want to enjoy it! At just past 50 I don’t feel old, but the reality that life is not endless is more tangiable than it used to be.

So, in order to enjoy life it helps if I take care of my health, both physical and mental. I need to sleep, eat well, move my body. I need to rest, and clear my mind. And have time to reflect on my day and life – I do this best in writing. These things need to come first in my planning, not as an afterthought if I find the time…

I also want to have time with and for Mr Livslevandes, my family and friends. I’ve read a lot about happiness-research these last years, and it’s pretty clear that one of the best things you can do if you want to live a happier life is to to connect with people, and be of help to others.

I work 4 hours/day, monday to friday, and I want to do a good job. So I need energy for that as well. But I also need to make sure I’ve still got energy left when I get home – I’ve historically put whatever energy I’ve had into work, and then been completely empty when I’ve come home. I don’t want to do that anymore.

And I want to express myself. By writing this blog. By singing (in a choire). Taking pictures (all photos on the blog are my own).  I also love learning, researching stuff. Like happiness-research, or minimalistic time-management at the moment. And to read fiction, and watch good movies or tv-shows. These are all activities that make me feel joy.

And then there are the things that aren’t always that joyful, but still a part of keeping life running smoothly: cook, clean, wash, pay the bills etc.

Leo Babauta has written a free e-book about focus: finding simplicity in this Age of Distraction. He writes very wisely about the importance of avoiding distractions when you are trying to create. Or think, or really be present with other people.

I also found this article the other day by Martin Hyatt, about the importance of having margins in your life, and it resonated strongly with me (even though my life as it is is a lot less hectic nowadays than his seems to be).

I’ve been thinking about this, and I want to create blocks of time – like when I went to school: learning time, study time, recreation. Not all at once and mixed up. Separate, and with a variation of activity and rest. I know my rhytm, when I go to sleep at night (around 11.15 pm) and when I wake up if I get to bed in time (around 7 am). My workhours are basically the same every day, choire-practise is Tuesdays…

So I made a week-schedule for myself – and guess what? With all the activities above penciled in, my week is full. Oh, I could squeeze in some extra stuff, and I will from time to time – but I can’t take on anything more regular without giving something up. Like the minimalist approach to things: one in – one out. (I’m so grateful for our frugal approach to life, that makes it possible for me to work only 20 hours a week!)

So, challenge done?  No, I don’t think so! I still have a lot of things that I make more complicated and time-consuming than they need to be. More about that in a later post!