A couple years ago I was talking with some friends and one of them brought up that I’d read over 80 books that year. The other girls were amazed! They couldn’t believe I’d read so much in a year. Then one of them said, “You’re so lucky! I wish I had time to read.”
It’s something I’ve been told a lot before. And I’ve seen lots of other women be told the same thing for various reasons:
“Oh, I wish I had the time to watch The Bachelor.”
“You’re lucky you have time to take a bath every week.”
“I wish I had time to cook every night too.”
“It’d be so nice to have time to play with my kids every day like you do.”
But do you want to know the truth? We all have the same 168 hours per week, and that’s more time than we think. If we don’t have time to do something we really want to do, one of two things is happening:
- We’re not making it a priority.
- We’re not managing our time well.
I realize that this is a pretty bold and controversial statement to make, but hear me out:
Everyone is busy.
Sure, some people are working multiple jobs while others are stay-at-home moms. Some moms have multiple young kids who rely on them for just about everything, whereas others have older kids who can help out around the house and take care of their own personal needs. Yes, some of us have to care for sick or elderly family members or those with special needs. And some of us can afford to hire out help like house cleaning, babysitting, or laundry services, while others can’t. That’s all well and true.
But 168 hours is a lot of time, and if something is really important to you, you can make the time for it.
Have you always wanted to take a cooking class, but just don’t have the time? Would you love to read more books? Do you want to have family game night every week, but can’t seem to get everyone together one night week? Do you wish you had time for a facial every week or to clean your makeup brushes more often? What about a regular date night? Or time to dedicate to couponing? Do you want to learn calligraphy or another language? Do you want time to take your kids to the park? Or to teach your kids to cook?
Guess what? You can!
How, Exactly, is this Possible?
Let’s go back to my reading example for the year I read 80+ books. First off, I had a baby that year. And for a couple months that baby spent about 30 minutes eating every 3 hours. That’s around 4 hours per day I spent holding a feeding infant. Instead of turning on the tv or scrolling through my phone, I spent those hours reading a book. Of course there were times I did nothing but stare at my sweet little girl, but more often than not, I read.
Yes, it would have been a lot easier to turn on the tv or get on Instagram. Yes, I often wanted to. But I knew that I’d be much happier if I chose a book instead. And I was.
If I want to read a lot, I watch very little–if any–tv. I don’t mindlessly browse on my phone. I bring a book with me everywhere and try to fit in a few minutes here and there when I can. Because reading is really important to me, I make sacrifices to fit it in.
Using Your Time to Reflect Your Priorities
Look at how you’re spending your time. Do the things you do every day and every week reflect your priorities? If not, change that! Time to do what you want doesn’t just fall into your lap. You have to be intentional about how you spend your time and the things you choose to use your minutes on.
Do an experiment. Visualize your ideal day. For this experiment, use a normal day, not a vacation or something like that. (So if you work, include that as well as household tasks and care taking).
Think about your day-to-day life and envision what your perfect day would look like:
- What time would you get up?
- How would you start your morning?
- Who would you spend your time with?
- What would you eat?
- How would you feel?
- How would you spend your evening?
- What time would you go to bed?
Picture each step of your day. What makes it perfect?
Now think about your actual days:
- What time do you typically get up?
- How do you start your mornings?
- Who do you spend your time with?
- What do you usually eat?
- How do you usually feel?
- How do you spend your evenings?
- What time do you typically go to bed?
What was different about the two days? The goal is to get your actual days as close to your perfect days as possible. Sure, you’ll still have to work and clean and cook, etc., but it’s what you’re doing in between that makes all the difference. If you found that you’re spending a lot time doing things you don’t really want to do, you might consider making a Don’t List for yourself.
Managing Your Time
Maybe you don’t have an issue with prioritizing, but you spend every single minute of your life working and cooking and cleaning and caring for children so you actually don’t have time for anything else. If this is the case, you need to manage your time differently.
First off, you need to consider if everything you think you have to do really has to get done. Evaluate the expectations you’re putting on yourself. Maybe you need to re-evaluate your cleaning expectations or whittle down your weekly to-do list. Life is meant to be fun! If you aren’t enjoying it, you’ve got to change something or burnout is going to happen–and fast.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Once you’ve crossed off anything that doesn’t actually have to get done, look into delegation. Can your kids help with house work? Even really little kids can do chores. Sure, they won’t do them as quickly or even as well as you would do it yourself, but it saves you time and teaches them in the process. It will take a little bit of extra time up front as you teach them, but once they learn, you’ll gain time and they’ll gain confidence. Win, win
Do you have some wiggle room in your budget to hire a house cleaner or a mother’s helper or a food delivering service? Try to buy yourself a couple hours a week to dedicate to those things that you think might really change your life or take it to the next level.
Re-Think Your Schedule
Now you need to figure out how to schedule in those things that reflect the life you want for yourself, instead of wasting time on things that don’t . Create an ideal weekly schedule for yourself that includes them. Try to stick to it as best you can.
If you don’t have time for something you want to do, make time! Don’t sit around wishing and pining for a different life. Take action. This is your life–make the most of it!
What’s one thing you wish you had time for?
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