I hear it all the time, “I just don’t have time for ______ .” Yes, there are those cursed few that literally do not have time for anything, either because of a crazy work schedule or other obligations. These I understand, I was there also as a newlywed with three jobs and college to deal with. I’m not talking about time to do the work that pays the bills, I’m talking about pastimes that make life fun and rewarding.
Easy ways to make time for the things you want -
1. Discover what is eating your “free time”, decide on what’s important to you. There are tasks that need to be done and there are things that you want to do, and then there is just fluff. Fluff includes pointless TV watching, video gaming, web surfing, and other electronic distractions. Cut down the fluff, be a fluff buster!
2. Set time limits for activities like blog surfing and other time eating non productive activities. Use a physical timer, when it goes off put away what you are doing and go get something done.
3. Set reachable goals for when you do sit down to work on something (or go to the garage or yard…). Focus all your effort on reaching only that goal. This could be a word quota, installing a new garage door opener, or selecting a Tae Kwon Do school. Force yourself to stop when you finish the goal and congratulate yourself for getting something done, then move to something else.
4. Understand the time dilation principle. Simply said, a task will fill the time you give it. A two page book report might have a two-week due date but it will not take that long to write. Somehow tasks magically expand to fill the amount of time allowed. Set your own due dates and create small steps to get a project done. Learn more about time dilation in the book The 4- Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferriss.
5. Exercise – Yes, exercise takes time but makes up for it in the long run. Getting your heart rate up increases blood flow to the brain and aids thought, clearer thoughts equal more productive work. Regular exercise gives energy and helps avoid the afternoon slump. It also alleviates pain and gives a sense of well-being.
Am I fantastically productive person? No, not as much as I could be. But, I’m getting 5,000 words down on the manuscript every week, writing a few blog entries, and working on a few short stories, all while raising two hyperactive preschool age children. Writing helps me stay sane, I do it for me. I’d rather be creating a juicy plot line than having Thomas the Train stuck in my head any day. So before you tell me you are too busy to start living, think again. You have the same 24 hours a day as everyone else, use it wisely!