The following article is being reproduced with permission of its author, Kate Towell. Kate is a holistic wellness counselor who supports individuals to create the balanced, vibrant life they imagine.
There are loads of things I would love to do but every time I dare to dream about reading more, finally learning to play my ukulele or spend more time at the climbing gym, I hear myself say,
“I don’t have the time” or ”Where am I going to fit it in?”
I know I am not the only one who feels stressed out and overwhelmed by chronically over stuffing my schedule. Being busy is a cultural epidemic and it’s a perceived limitation to thriving in my life.
The truth is, we all get the same amount of time in our day—24 hours. Time is a finite resource and it’s in high demand.
I really woke up to my unbalanced relationship with time while I was reading "Everything Is Figureoutable" by Marie Farleo. In the chapter on eliminating excuses, she challenges the reader to find two hours in each day.
I know. I was like, ”No way! I’m too busy!”
But you know what? She was right. I could find time in my day to use differently and it was a challenge.
We Manage What We Monitor
The first thing you have to be willing to do is track how you use your time. Let me tell you, it’s super revealing. Of course, there is the time you commute, work, exercise, take care of personal needs like cooking, shopping, bathing, house chores and sleeping.
But then there is all that other time.
One eye-opening statistic Marie gives in the book is that on average Americans spend five hours a day on their phones. She also highlights that spending just 30 minutes a day on your phone mindlessly scrolling on social media adds up to 22 full eight-hour workdays per year. Whoa!
Here are some of the highlights of how I was spending the majority of my time.
- Time spent related to teaching: class planning, commute and teaching.
- Other business operations: email, coaching, curriculum planning, creating new content.
- Personal development: mastermind group, coaching and personal practice.
- Household related: cooking, shopping, meal planning and household chores.
- Screen time: phone, ipad, listening to podcasts or watching Netflix.
Notice what was missing? Where was the time for play?
I have to admit that I was grossly unaware of how much time I spend on my devices. Once I saw more clearly how I was spending my time I could make some changes.
Five Steps to Reclaim Your Time.
For four days I tracked how I was spending my time. Don’t just estimate it. Honestly assess it. It’s eye opening.
Discover your essentials.
Write down three or four things you would like to have more time for; things that bring you joy. For me this was carving out more time to read, for longer yoga practices, to climb and to connect with family and friends more often.
Find you time wasters.
How much time do you spend on things other than taking care of life and your essentials? Are you spending several hours a day watching YouTube videos or scrolling through your social media feed? You have to be willing to reduce or eliminate time wasters to make room for the things you really want to do.
Are there things you do, scattered throughout your day or your week, that you might be able to consolidate in order to save time?
A good example is grocery shopping. I noticed I was running out to the grocery store almost every day because it’s close to home. But in truth I was spending 30 to 45 minutes a day shopping. When I plan my meals better and shop once per week instead of daily, it saves several hours of time.
Another example is email. I now only check email twice a day at set times instead of checking and reading and responding throughout the day.
This seems like a no brainer but breaking the habit of overstuffing my schedule is super challenging.
One trick is I make sure I schedule my essentials before I say yes to other things. Sometimes you have to be willing to say “no” to some things so you can say “yes” to others.
I can say from experience that changing these ingrained habits isn’t easy and although I didn’t find two hours a day as Marie challenged her readers to do, I have freed up about an hour each day. Give it a try and let me know how it goes
Wishing you Vibrant Wellness,