Time where does it go. We’ve all got things we want to do but just never seem to get around to. And we genuinely do intend to do them, it’s just that we can’t seem to find the time… work is so busy at the moment… and then there’s dinner to make… the latest episodes of Game of Thrones to catch up on… Dave and Amber are having drinks at the pub tonight… and there’s still that laundry that won’t do itself (no matter how much you try to make it fly into the machine with your Jedi mind tricks).
Do you have one of those friends who seem to be able to do it all? The one who has an important job, a beautiful family and so many hobbies you can’t even keep up, was it trail running last week? Or Calligraphy? Oh no wait, they’ve got really into their cooking now, remember they cooked that amazing four-course South American banquet for you last Tuesday after they’d been to that outdoor fitness class that you couldn’t make.
So how do some people seem to fit in heaps of activities, and some people are always so busy that they never have time to do things. Especially when we all have the exact same amount of hours in a day.
Busyness is killing our dreams
Not having time is the number one excuse for why people can’t do the things they want to do. But how can you become a doer instead of a dreamer?
But it doesn’t have to…
Lots of people will offer unhelpful advice such as ‘just stop doing some stuff’ or ‘oh just get up earlier’ (which unless you make sure you go to bed earlier too, can do you some serious damage.)
The good news is that there’s actually a fairly simple solution. It is completely possible to stop feeling overwhelmed and like you’re constantly rushing around by simply changing your mindset. Even just altering the way you talk about yourself (to yourself and to others) you can bring about a profound change in your life.
Let’s look at how you can find a few more hours to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.
1 – Work out where your time goes
First of all, take a look at what you’re actually spending your time on. Spend a week making a note of what you’ve been doing throughout the day and for how long. You don’t have to use a fancy system, good old pen and paper or a basic note app in your phone will do the trick.
When your week is up, look at how much time you spend doing;
- Things you have to do (like sleep, eat, shower, work etc),
- Things you want to do,
- Other things that you don’t like doing or you’re not particularly fussed on.
Tally up how much time you’re spending doing these three things. You might think you know the answer already, but in reality our perception of how long things take is usually pretty inaccurate – “I only spend a few minutes checking Facebook”, is often 45 minutes of mindless scrolling at a time. And “just one episode of Orange is The New Black” turns into four and before you know it your whole Sunday afternoon has disappeared into thin air.
Then work out what this time adds up to for a month or for a year. You might be surprised horrified. When you can see in black and white exactly where your time is going, finding the time might be surprisingly easy!
2 – Decide what your priorities are
If it’s not quite that simple, ask yourself honestly, is that how you want to spend your time? In 10 years, will you really care whether you caught the latest episode of Hollyoaks or because you didn’t watch that cat video on YouTube.
For the majority of people, when we say we’re too busy, what we’re really saying is that thing isn’t a priority. But you have to look at both the long term and the short term. You might be tired after a long day at work, but do you really want to look back when you’re older and say, it’s a shame I never learnt to ride/draw/climb but it’s ok because I got to watch 28 hours of TV every week instead. (Yes, the average adult watches 28 hours of TV EVERY WEEK – that’s over 60 DAYS per year!)
3 – Stop talking about how busy you are
Sometimes we just think we don’t have enough time. We’re so used to having lots to do, our default response it always busy. Think about it, when people ask you how you are, is your reply more often than not “oh good thanks, just busy.”
This is a classic case of a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you tell yourself you’re too busy, you will feel like you never have time. If you tell other people you’re busy, it’s even more likely to become true.
If this sounds familiar, you need to reframe in your mind how much time you have. Simply stop telling yourself and other people you’re too busy. In fact, ban the word busy from your vocabulary. Don’t complain about how much you have to do. It’s a subtle shift but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you start to suddenly feel less busy.
4 – Do things together
Sometimes it genuinely isn’t as simple as ‘stop going on Facebook’. You want to spend time with your family and friends and you want to do cool stuff, but you’re not doing enough of either. And the last thing we want is for you to feel like a bad mum/dad/husband/wife/friend/girlfriend/boyfriend!
If you’ve tried all of the above and you really can’t balance social and family time with the things you want to do, why not do them at the same time? Take the whole family to learn to surf. Schedule a class with a friend instead of going for coffee. Make date night an adventure instead of a fancy meal out. Two birds with one stone and you’re feeling like a winner.
Now you know how to find more space in your life to do the things you want to do, the questions is, what are you going to do with all this extra time? (Let us know in the comments below)
Also published on Medium.