Because we believe in Intentional Parenting, last week we invited readers to consider a time-tracking practice to help identify the way we actually spend out time. We also revisited our Family Values to remind ourselves of their role in identifying priorities. Actions, words and Family Values must align. Our words must reveal and reflect our values. More importantly our actions must bring both words and values to life. When a disconnect occurs between these factors, it makes family life stressed and chaotic. This is why a tracking exercise offers an excellent window into our reality.
One week has now passed. Perhaps you "intended" to take on the practice but then forgot. You still have time. Do it this week. You will still accumulate useful data. (Visit this blog for details on what and how to track.)
Sally Ankerfelt, another of our GIFT coaches reflected on my blog post and made a great suggestion for expanding the scope of our "practice." In addition to tracking how our family spends time, she proposed tracking how we spend money.
Think about it. For almost all of us, money is a finite quantity. We must make conscious choices on how we use it. Every "Yes" is also a "No." While we may think we manage our money thoughtfully and according to our priorities (which emanate from our Values,) a reality-based exercise like this may reveal some surprises. Download and use this graphic to get you started.
For those who did begin the exercise, what have you noticed? (We'll explore those observations in detail next week.)
For those of you who are hesitant, examine what is really behind your reluctance? Some emotions that might block us are: self-doubt; resistance to change that comes from more informed awareness; feeling like your plate is already overfull.
What if you're correct? Wouldn't it make sense then, to identify what can be deleted? When we are too busy, things always fall off our radar, get forgotten or shunted to I'll-do-it-later status. Often this leads to more crises. We then face a barrage of family "fires" that drain us emotionally, financially and consume too much time and energy.
So ... take a breath, start tracking time and money and prepare for some surprises. Most likely you'll find some positive and some negative data. Armed with this information, you can outline a better plan that is more aligned with your Values, dreams and intentions for your family.
Imagine how that might shift the mood of your family. Imagine and then begin! Will you be pleasantly surprised or shocked into Intentional change?