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Archive for July 20th, 2008

“I’m out of time.”

“I don’t have time to do that.”

I have said those phrases countless times and I’m sure at some point in your life, you have as well. When our schedules are filled to the brim and we feel like we are overwhelmed with commitments, there is often a struggle to find personal time. Whether it’s time to exercise, cook healthy meals, read a novel, or play tennis, we tend to put taking care of ourselves behind taking care of others. I used to think that 24 hours was just not enough time. But when you stop to think and focus on the fact that we are given 24 full hours in a day – that really is a lot of time! How we choose to spend our time determines whether or not we feel like we have enough of it to begin with.

Finding time to do the things you want to do and finding the time to take care of yourself can take some disciple. If you have not done it already, map your commitments. Figure out what your priorities are and really get a sense of what is important, urgent and (honestly) required of you. What can you delegate to others? If your kid is 15 years old, maybe its time he made his own lunch. When your kids are hungry on Saturday afternoon, they sure do know where the food is! School days are no different. Get them to pitch in. If you live with roommates, set up a housekeeping schedule.

What’s that? Oh you’ve tried all those things? And you still don’t have enough time? Well, here are some more suggestions:

  • If you often find yourself running late, start making small changes to help you get to where you need to go on time.
  • Plan your day. While you do not need to schedule every minute of the day, laying a foundation helps you get things done in less time. A little more detail can be found in this video clip.
  • Use your commute time to listen to audio books. My mind wanders, so this doesn’t work for me. I’ve asked people if they find audio books to be a useful tool to help them get through books on their “must read” list, and almost all of them said “yes!” So give it a try and see if it works for you.
  • Simplify your routines.
  • Make the most of your lunch break. If you typically find yourself working during your lunch break, stop it! Enjoy your meal, take a walk, get some reading done, or schedule your annual check up.
  • Say no. Respect yourself and your time. If you are feeling maxed out, or someone is asking you to do something that you’d really rather not do, say no! The world will not end.

I’ve been working hard to change my mindset. Instead of complaining that I don’t have the time, I stop myself as soon as I realize what I’m doing. I pause. I ask myself, “what have I signed myself up to do that I don’t really want to do? Which of these projects doesn’t bring me joy? Which meetup group is not that important to me?” When I ask myself these questions, there is always something I can take off my schedule that is not as important or interesting as I thought it was when I raced to get it on my calendar.

Try asking yourself similar questions if you feel like you just don’t have enough time. Where can you make room?

This article was featured in The Nineteenth Edition of the Carnival of Improving Life and the July 28,2008 edition of the Carnival of Self-Mastery.
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