Reality Check: Managing our Personal Resources

Some folks are choosing to use the current disruption in their lives as an opportunity to reassess what’s important. That is, they are reassessing how they are using their personal resources.
Every one of us has personal resources, even though we might not always think of them as such. What resources? Money might be the first to come to mind, but there’s also time and relationships.
If we don’t set our priorities, they set themselves by default. Demands pop up; we automatically respond. We can end up spending a lot of our lives in activities that serve little or no satisfying purpose.
Do you have a sneaking suspicion that’s happening in your life? Now is as good a time as any to take a look. Here are some questions about time, relationships, and money to help you get started.
Time: How are you spending your time? Our time is our life—the gift of life is really the gift of time. We choose what to do in it.
In normal circumstances, we might not think about how we use time. We rush here and there: shopping, sports, restaurants, gatherings. Our time is required by employment, by relationships, and other demands. Every minute of every day can be booked. Often, we feel that we have little say in our time.
Then, we are so exhausted that we need “downtime,” so we spend time doing mindless activities to relieve the stress of the demands.
However, how you spend your time is probably different right now. There’s much less shopping and employment situations are variable, to say the least. Children are home; visiting is restricted. Demands, and opportunities, are different.
This is a good time to ask, “Was the way that I had been using my time satisfying for me?” Perhaps you are finding that you like your new system of limited shopping, of spending time with your children, of reaching out to others by phone. Maybe this is the time to clean up the yard, learn that language, or take up bird-watching. Our time is our resource; we can choose to use it in a satisfying way.
Relationships: Who are you spending time with now? If you are isolated with people, then I hope that they are people you care about and get along with! Relationships have a way of clarifying themselves when we spend a lot of time together, have you noticed? Clarification can be wonderful. Or not.
Other new realizations may also pop up. For example, “Gee, I wish I could go see Cousin Katie.” Now, I might not have seen Cousin Katie for months before visiting was restricted. But I intended to. I just never had the time. Now that I can’t, it’s clearer that the visit matters to me. Perhaps when the opportunity arises again, I will take it, rather than putting it off by pretending that I have all the time in the world and wait till later.
Money: Finally, have you noticed any difference in how you are spending your money now? Are you cooking from scratch more? Buying fewer things that are “wants,” not “needs?” Now, with our reduced shopping opportunities, there’s a logical break in our usual habits that could motivate us to examine, “Where do I spend my money that really brings me satisfaction? And what expenses bring me little or no lasting satisfaction?”
In short, this time of forced slow down can present an opportunity to look at what really matters to us. What are our true priorities? Then, how are we choosing to use our resources—time, relationships, money—to enhance and invest in what’s truly important to us?
How do you manage your personal resources?

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