How many times a day do we hear ourselves or others say ‘I just don’t have enough time!’ ‘Where does the time go?’ ‘I need more hours in the day!’
How many times have we wished that we could just stop the clock and catch up or slow down some of our constant ‘busyness’?
Our lives seem to be moving faster and faster and we seem to have less and less time for the things we believe we need or must do, and even less time for those things we’d like or want to do.
We blink and a year has passed, or we think about a holiday we enjoyed that happened 3 years ago, and it feels like just last year.
We know on some level that all we really have is time - an endless series of moments of now, and we know that what we choose to do with our time is really important.
We all want to get to the sunset of our life looking back on some great memories, feeling proud of what we achieved or accomplished, with a sense of calm content satisfaction that comes from a life well lived.
At the same time, we are constantly putting off the things we really want to do, so we can deal with urgent pressures and immediate demands.
So what is the answer? How can we ‘create’ more time in our day?
Here are a few tips that could help you to find a few more minutes in your day for the things you really want to do, and ways to be more in the present when doing them:
Watch less TV.
And by TV, I mean less screen time on whatever device is your preference. Or you could rephrase this to - Be ‘mindful’ when watching whatever you watch - youtube, netflix, social media feeds, etc.
How many hours of screen time do you have a week? Honestly. (there's an app for that too now). And what value are you receiving from those hours, in relation to your values and life goals? This is something to think about.
If you say that you watch to relax, then consider if the content you are watching encourages feelings of relaxation within you, or not. Watching a show and then complaining about it isn’t relaxing, and impulse buying because you’re bored will lead to regret and might not fit with your financial goals.
If you are going to watch, balance your watching with some content that will add value to your life. Staying glued to non-stop coverage of an unfolding real-life drama or famous court case is like slowing down to gawk as you pass a car accident. Unless you know the person or are going to stop and help, move on and catch up on the headlines later. Immersing yourself in other people’s dramas can add real stress to your own life.
Use a reminder system
The time we can spend re-remembering things is not only exhausting but isn’t really efficient to help us keep track of the huge amount of information that we have to keep up with. Get a system to manage your appointments, social engagements, and tasks. You can use your phone, your computer, an organizer or even an old fashioned diary or notepad. Once you write something down in whatever way works for you, and you set up a system to remind you of what you want to do and when, then it is off your mind for the present and you can focus on doing something enjoyable, or just on the task at hand.
Learn to say NO!
YES it is OK to say NO! Being a people pleaser and saying yes to everyone else leaves you feeling depleted and potentially resentful.
Yes it is an art, yes it takes practice, and YES you can do it!
One of the Greater Good Science Centre’s leading writers and contributors, Christine Carter, published a fantastic article a while ago with 21 ways to help you with this one. Check it out here - http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/21_ways_to_give_good_no
If there is something that you love to do that could also potentially earn you some extra pocket money, or it might be your livelihood if you are self-employed, then consider what that activity could earn you per hour.
Then consider those things that you don’t love to do that take up lots of your time - like ironing, cleaning, organizing or cleaning out cupboards, cooking, yard work, and check out how much it would cost you to outsource one or more of those tasks. You can outsource just about ANYTHING these days.
If your ‘earning’ rate is higher than what it might cost you to outsource one or more of those tasks, then it makes good sense for you to do spend more time doing what you love and you can support a local business or entrepreneur at the same time.
Or you might just decide that the value you get from having that free time to do what you love or spend time with those you love is well worth the cost to outsource.
Give yourself PERMISSION
This is a big one. Many of us have real trouble with this one because of self imposed standards, or standards or expectations we believe are imposed on us by others, or we've just done so much for so long and we have set the bar so high that we feel like we'll let others down, or we have a belief that pushing ourselves to exhaustion is something to be rewarded or to be worn like a badge.
We are really the only ones who need to be satisfied with our balance of work and contribution with relaxation or reward, and we are the only one who can value ourselves highly enough to make time for the things or people we love and fill our own cup so that we can help others.
Hope you found these time finding tips worthwhile.
Get creative and see where it leads you. You could find yourself finding more time in your life for the things you love.
Until next time,
The PLS team