“Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”
~ Denis Waitley
Someone recently wrote to me ‘you sure do a lot of cooking, contemplating and enjoying the simple wonders of our world – what a shame that most of us don’t have as much time as you to indulge in “being present”. Any advice for those of us whose jobs take up a large chunk of our lives?’
Truth is, I don’t have any more time than the average person – I have just learned to use it differently. Here is some of what I’ve found gives me more time in my day…
- Start this whole process of making time with some time out. Maybe take a cup of tea into the back yard, or go to a local coffee shop. If you can, take an hour or two, but you might actually need more time than that to reconnect with yourself if your life has been on automatic pilot. Step away from the machine for a moment, and begin to put thought into what’s important to you. Do that every so for the rest of your life.
- Prioritise what’s important, and give it time in your life. Just pick a few things, but let those things really matter to you. Writing and meditation are important to me so I fit these into the beginning of my day. How do I do that? I get up at 4am. By sun up I have put time into both of these things that matter to me. I won’t schedule anything before 9. That leaves me time for breakfast with my husband, walks with the dogs, or an early morning surf. Build your day or your week around the most important priorities in your life. When you don’t make time for yourself FIRST, you’ll end up resentful and never getting to the things that matter.
- Stop watching so much television. Television sneakily robs us of time. If you really want to watch something, plan to watch it. Don’t just sit down in front of the box each day, switch it on and wait to be entertained. Same goes for internet surfing and playing games! Set a time limit on it and then walk away.
- Start your day right. Listening to the radio or watching the news on TV fills your head with lots of stuff that is not necessarily relevant, but that engages your attention elsewhere. It is also often quite depressing. Take control of your morning and put a little effort into starting off well, however that looks for you, focusing on what will give you a positive and productive day.
- Multi-task. Commute time is a good example of this. Catch up on your reading, or if you’re the driver, listen to talking books or courses that interest you. Wear a wireless headset while you’re on the phone so that you can tidy up a room, fold clothes or do other simple chores while you talk.
- Simplify food preparation and shopping. Plan your week’s meals in advance and shop to your plan. Batch cook so that you make a double quantity of brownies and freeze some for later. Plan larger meals that make left-overs so you can cut down your cooking time later in the week.
- Systems are sexy! Don’t double handle things. Answer emails when you open them, deal with mail, paperwork and filing as you get to it, and set aside time each day, or each week for these routine tasks. A place for everything, and everything in it’s place.
- Turn off technology for a power hour. Get rid of all the distractions like email, facebook, cell phones and internet surfing and use that time to work on what’s important to you.
- Learn to say NO. Free up time by letting go of tasks, responsibilities and relationships that drain you and waste your precious time. (ideas on how to do that here)
- Don’t do everything yourself. Learn to delegate or outsource. Ask for help, or employ help! Have your partner or child chip in, get a cleaner, or accept offers of assistance from friends and relatives. If you have children, see if you can carpool or trade child-minding time so you can get a few hours to yourself. If you’re caring for elderly relatives or other dependents look for respite care and aid agencies to give you a hand.
To get the life we want, we need to actively design it and put effort into it. But it’s worth it – I know because I’ve had a life I hated, and now I have a life I love. And the only thing that changed was the choices I made and the actions I took to make my life more like the one of my dreams. You can do it too! It’s worth it. You’re worth it.
Much love to you, Nicole xx