Time Is a Balancing Act, Let’s Learn How to Do It Together

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by Ari Anderson |

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From my perspective, time is a more important resource to me than money. It’s all about spending my time wisely on the important things so that I can get a good return on my investment. Yes, it’s that old cliché that “time is money.” However, let’s look at it from the perspective of someone like me, who has SMA.

I want to invest my time in things like advocacy for Medicaid and Medicare services. The cost of time and effort I invest in such crucial activities are totally worth the literal benefits I get in return.

It’s not all wise spending on my part, though. Sometimes I waste my time, spending it on frivolous activities. This is similar to when other people spend actual currency on things we all can do without, leaving little left over to pay for the basics.

How do I waste my time? Everyone has their weaknesses. I shamelessly admit that one of my weaknesses is browsing through streaming services like Discovery+ or Netflix, looking for shows to watch. The funny part is, much of the time I don’t even end up watching anything, I just keep browsing! Sound familiar to your situation, anyone?

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There are several reasons why this has a negative impact on my time budgeting. One reason is that there is zero chance of me getting any return on my investment. This is because by just browsing, I’m not really enjoying myself, and I’m not getting any work done. So, why do I do it?

It’s not that I don’t want to advocate, but sometimes it’s human nature to take the path of least resistance by relaxing. As I wrote in my last column, it’s hard to be creative all the time and figure out the right things to say when advocating. I’m talking about when I write emails to legislators or do presentations for them. Then I remind myself of two things:

  • Firstly, so many people are counting on me to provide a voice for them.
  • Secondly, the hardest part for me is just getting started. Once I begin to focus on something, I usually get into a flow fairly quickly. At that point, there is no stopping me.

Advocacy can seem intimidating, but I believe so many people have the ability to do it when they think they can’t. My brain might tell me that what I have to say must be perfect, but really perfection lies in just being yourself and explaining what you go through in life. What did you go through last year, last month, or even just yesterday? Nobody else knows but you. When you add a little bit of focus into the mix, then you become unstoppable.

Where do I get my focus? Again, it’s all about how I spend my time. It’s OK to have some fun before I go to work, as long as the fun has a purpose. I need to actually be watching something or doing something else that I enjoy, instead of looking for my next entertainment. Then my energy reserves fill up, and I have enough focus to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

This “Fun With a Purpose” trick not only helps me to get in the right mindset to do advocacy, but also other things that require focus as well. It’s hard work when I train new nurses and do my exercises. I really get a workout when I use all my muscles in an effort to cough during my breathing treatments. You may find a different trick that gets you mentally prepared to focus, but this is what works for me.

So, what’s an important source of time investment for you? It could be spending time with your family. I know that’s important to me.

What I’ve learned is that when we figure out how to allow enough time for the enjoyable things, as well as the hard ones, the rest will fall into place.

Easier said than done, right?

That’s why we need each other to help us learn from our mistakes and figure out what’s important in life.

Try not to miss out on what’s important because like money, time is not limitless.

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Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.

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