Although there are 24 hours in a day, how many of us actually set aside time for ourselves? We work, cater to others’ needs, run errands, and tend to chores. In between all of this busyness we need sleep. Still, 24 hours is a long time—if you use it wisely. How much of your day is spent on time wasters? How many hours are thrown away due to being disorganized? And how many countless minutes can be spent daily on things you actually enjoy?
The key is making conscious choices about how to spend your time and sticking to it. Just as you would follow a financial budget and not spend your money willy-nilly, why wouldn’t you want to create a time budget? Imagine taking your paycheck and not having a plan of action, no list of bills, no clear intent on what you’d do with your cash. Those dollars wouldn’t go far, would they? But don’t many of us spend our precious hours each day doing just that? No wonder we get so little done and yet feel so overwhelmed and stressed!
In the past you may have read books or articles on better time management. You may have figured out how to save an hour here or there, but what did you do with it? Did you spend the time relaxing and doing something enjoyable, or did you simply find another chore to do?
Our days shouldn’t be spent trying to cram every single moment with an activity or chore. It’s quite OKAY to just relax, to read, to watch a mindless TV show, or simply stare off into space and daydream.
Okay, so now that we’ve talked about the fact that it’s quite okay, and even necessary to have some downtime, how do you go about creating it?
A good rule of thumb is to divide the day into three equal portions. 8 hours of sleep—yes, eight full hours! Your body will thank you and so will your mind. (We’ll get into the wonders of sleep in another article the future.) 8 hours gets devoted to work. Even if you’re self-employed, as I am, are you really any more productive by running yourself ragged and working 10 or 12 hours a day? Stick to 8 hours, less if possible.
Now, that leaves you with an additional 8 hours. You can’t tell me that chores, errands, cooking and cleaning will fill up those other 8 hours! No, it’s all of that unimportant busyness we talked about earlier. Mindlessly surfing the net, doing things we don’t want to do yet we feel bad saying “no,” and overextending ourselves in other ways.
Say you set aside 4 hours for chores and whatnot. If we do our math we see that you’re left with a 4-hour chunk of time each and every day! Imagine what you could do with it. Take up a relaxing hobby, read the novel you’ve put off, plant a garden, refinish that antique table, take a nap, exercise, zone out, or simply “be.”
You see, it’s all about spending your time wisely. Don’t let life pass you by without enjoy yourself in the mean time. Who wants to be on their deathbed and look back on life wishing they’d worked more?