March 25, 2014
Thinking Differently About Time
(photo by Cy Twombly)
Lately it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Even when I wake up early, I still end up feeling like I didn’t do quite enough when I go to sleep that night. I’ll come home from work and the house will be a mess or it will be too late for me to start dinner, or I’ll realize I haven’t exercised in like three weeks and it can feel discouraging. I want my cake and to eat it too: a job I love and a clean house. Time to exercise and work on the blog.
But lately I’ve re-framed the way I think about my time. It’s been a really helpful exercise and I’d love to share it with you.
I realized when I think about time that the feeling of scarcity keeps popping up. Even going back to the first sentence of this post, that feeling of not having enough time to “do it all” was running rampant in my head and making me feel depleted, “too busy” and beat down. Did I knock one thing off my checklist? Well great, except here’s two more things to add to it! Blech, no thank you.
So when I find myself in a tailspin of didn’t do enough, don’t have the time, feeling drained and defeated, I try to ask myself a simple question. Let’s say it’s late on a weeknight and I don’t have time to clean the house, cook dinner or catch up on Downton Abbey and I’m feeling bad about it. In that moment I’ll ask myself: Well, I don’t have time to do those things, but what did I choose instead of those things today?
And by that I mean, what did I choose to do with the time I would’ve spent doing one of those things? Maybe I caught up with a friend over a glass of wine after work. Or went for a jog or maybe I just read my book or had a bath after a long day. Reminding myself that I make choices with my time helps me feel better about not having the house in perfect order, or having a perfect dinner ready every night, or even posting on this blog as much as I once used to.
Doing this also helps remind me that sometimes I trade practicality for fun, and that that’s totally okay. Maybe I skipped a workout class because I wanted to go to Anthropologie after work? Great! I think leaving room for, and even prioritizing, fun in your schedule is a good thing, whatever that means to you. So something that I might feel guilty about previously (Internal dialogue when leaving Anthropologie: wait did I really just hit up the Anthropologie sale section over going to cardio kickboxing? what was I thinking? These abs aren’t going to tone themselves!) becomes more understanding, less harsh (That was fun! So I skipped a workout, but I got to do something spontaneous and out of my normal routine. Today I prioritized fun over exercise…and I’m totally okay with that).
It’s a simple reminder that I do actually get a lot done in the day, that I control how I spend my time and that the decisions I make are based on my priorities, which might even change from day to day. It’s also a reminder to do something fun everyday, whether that’s cooking a new recipe with Adam or going out to a fun lunch or reading my book at night. I get so in the zone with productivity during the week, but it feels so good to stop and make time for something fun, just for the fun’s sake.
What do you do when you feel like you don’t have time to do it all? Any exercises you’d like to share? I’d love to hear!