Growing up, I remember watching the movie, Ghostbusters. It was always exciting to me because not only did I love the theme song, but it was futuristic which I enjoyed. Recently I was talking with a friend about the concept of having limited time and resources, thus requiring one to prioritize where to spend their time. This gave me the idea that I have come to call my “Ghostbusters List” because Ghostbusters are the people who you’re going to call in the movie to catch your ghost.
It’s time to catch your ghosts. I’m using the term ghosts to quantify those things you think about but haven’t yet put to paper. The things that creep through your day, taking your time or focus from your priorities. Ghosts are distracting, cause trouble, and keep you from getting things done. You need to know what your priorities are, who your friends are (who you’re going to call!), and what the ghosts are (things to purge) so that you can keep your focus on the most important things in your life. By capturing these ghosts, you’ll be able to regain your focus on your priorities.
Grab a piece of paper and get ready to do an activity. You’ll write three category titles on your paper and leave room for a list of things below each. As I share some thoughts, jot down items or people on your list under each category to help you have your Ghostbusters List ready to keep your focus on your priorities, know who you can call to lean hard on when needed, as well as get rid of those ghosts which are wasting your time and energy. I find it extremely helpful having a written list to see my priorities more clearly.
The three category titles:
What do you prioritize?
I consider my top priorities the things in my life that are most important and I must make time for. When considering your top five, maybe make a list of all the things you like or want to do, then narrow down to your top five most important things. It’s ok if your top list is more or less than five, but I encourage you to narrow your list to a manageable number so you can spend your time and energy on the right things for you. For me, I find that having five is a reasonable number because I find that if I have more than that, I feel off kilter and stressed, not being able to complete tasks. The goal here is to recognize your priorities.
When deciding what my top five priorities are, I have come to this list:
- Relationships (with hubby, kiddos, and friends)
- Running the household
- Educating the children
- Me time (anything I need to do to fill my cup, like take a walk, lay in the hammock, paint, etc.)
There are things that are important to me that don’t currently make my list, such as flying. While flying is not currently a top priority of mine, I still spend time mentoring others in the aviation industry, as well as staying connected with my professional network so that when I am ready to hop back into aviation, I have a place to start. I consider my priorities the mandatory items I am focusing on daily. Flying will be there for me when I’m ready to dedicate my time to it again.
Each of these things take time. I have had to learn how to prioritize my time so I’m not left feeling guilty for not doing everything I feel I should do. Since my spouse is traveling most of the time, I am often home accomplishing the household tasks solo and teaching the children to do these tasks alongside me. As a family, we have to work as a team in order to get them all completed.
I also want to make a note; make sure YOU make it on your list of priorities because “me time” is important to recharge ourselves. This could be a work out, a walk, listening to music, or just making sure you have time for a nice long, hot shower. If “me time” isn’t currently on your list, why not? You deserve to be your own priority. As they say in the airlines during the pre-takeoff briefing, “Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others.”
Who are your go-to friends? (Who are you going to call when you need someone to lean on?!)
As an extreme extrovert, I am energized by people. I have a core group of friends that I communicate with via text, video, or calls. This group is my support network who understand our fluid lifestyle. These friends are the ones I call crying when my world is falling apart, as well as the ones I laugh with over silly things the kids do. I can honestly say I would be lost without my core friends. They have been there for me through some amazing and rough times in life. Friends are the people I lean hard on when the world seems like an impossible place to be.
As you write down your friends on your list, I encourage you to write down everyone that comes to mind. As you narrow your list to your top five, it’s OK to have more than five. I have a core group who are my go-to people, but I definitely have more than five friends. I would guess that you probably already have a core group you lean hard on for most things, as well as other friends that fill other needs in your life.
Friends have a way of coming and going over the years. In college, my core group was what I needed then. As time went on, some friends grew closer while others grew apart. As we settled down and had a family, other people came into our lives to support us as new parents. As the kids grew and made friends, my friend circles grew too. I had mom friends who stayed home as well as worked. I had neighborhood moms who I knew I could call on for advice and support at any time. I have been blessed to know some incredible people over the years. I do not take that for granted. As we moved across the country and began homeschooling, my friend circles changed. I shifted with that change. I began to rely more heavily on video chats and messages with friends to bridge the gap of time zone changes and nap schedules with kids. As I felt the changes and shifted, so did my friendships. They evolved. The beautiful thing about my friends is that I don’t feel like I have to talk to them every day, but we just pick up where we left off.
Who or what is not important to you?
Things you don’t enjoy doing and that take up your time are the ghosts in your life and the things to purge. I believe making a list of things you don’t enjoy is an incredibly important part of this activity because it helps you to see what you can delegate so that you can have time to do the things you do enjoy.
For example, something you may not enjoy might be as simple as cooking, so you might decide that every Friday night after a long work week is pizza night and you pick up dinner or cook a frozen pizza in the oven. Get rid of the ghost of guilt. There’s no shame in delegating a dinner for a fun night with the family, having no prep work, and minimal clean up.
One thing I have personally purged or delegated is birthday cakes. I love eating a delicious cake but I honestly don’t enjoy baking, decorating, or cleaning up after making them, therefore I have decided that birthday cakes are something that I can purge. It is worth it to me to let my kiddo’s pick out cupcakes or a cake at the store on their birthday and I get to enjoy eating it and none of the mess that goes with making it. Whatever is on your purge list, embrace it. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to feed your family. I grew up on what I call “space food” which is frozen or easy box meals. This actually provided me an incredible love of food and exploration of flavors as I learned to cook. My mom’s favorite meal to cook lately is Costco rotisserie chicken and we love it! Coming together around the table is important to my mom, no matter what food is being served.
Whether you’re making a big decision or just trying to figure out if you have time for an extracurricular activity, I find it helpful to review these lists. Seeing my priorities visually helps me see if or how I’m going to work something into my schedule. It also helps me to decide if something I currently have on my list needs to go.
By making a list of your priorities, people, and things you can purge, it can help you figure out a few things like where you’re spending your time, who is taking your time, and what it is you don’t like to do. This self-assessment has helped me when I feel like I’m needing to pull into myself and re-organize my time. Putting my priorities on paper makes it easier to see what’s currently important to me and where I need to make changes.
I believe we are all capable of catching our ghosts, you just need to know what’s most important to you, who you’re going to call, and what you can drop by the wayside. The ghosts in your life don’t have to take your time, energy, and resources; capture them by writing them down on paper and purging them from your thoughts.
What are your top priorities, people, and things you purge or delegate?
Are you ready to catch the ghosts in your life and focus on your priorities?