I can’t find time.

Time is a precious resource to most of us… and in this day and age, it seems that there are just not enough hours in a day.

Ah, but that is the beauty of day and night on our planet. We know exactly how much time we have, don’t we? We literally have 24 hours every day. All of us build our lives within those very same constraints.

This I know, science is my strong suit. And I bet this isn’t news to you either :)

Let’s make some reasonable estimates now. What are we spending our time doing?

  • Sleeping: 5-10 hours (ideally 8+ hours for that body of yours to work its magic)
  • Working & Commuting: 8-10 hours (ideally – this isn’t ‘work’ and you’ve managed to build a career out of a passion)
  • Meals & Food Prep: 1-3 hours a day in my home, your mileage may vary… see: need more time
  • Kid Taxi: this is real time… might be 0 – 3 hour/day depending on your situation
  • Surfing the Web & personal email & social media: 0 – 2 hour/day (although, really, this might be part of that work day)
  • Favorite shows & Podcasts: 0-3 hours/day
  • Movement: 0 – 3 hour/day – but this might be where you wish you had more time in the day.
  • Love & Presence & Connection & Relationships & Such: 0 – 1 hour/day maybe – but again – need more hours in said day.
  • Errands & Housework: 0-2 hours/day (see: need more time)
  • Hobbies & Reading & Playing: 0 – 2 hour/day (see: need more time)

What did I miss? (Seriously, let me know…) I’ve probably captured a decent range here, and of course there’s some overlap. For example, I can do some of these things at once. Case in point: during an epic ‘kid taxi’ the other day – I got some work done + managed to watch the episode 1, season 7 of Mad Men. Because, Don Draper.

Some of the most common things that we don’t have enough time for are meal prep, eating, moving, hobbies, playing, cultivating relationships… Does any of that ring true with you?

Re: meal prep & eating… this is a learned thing. If and when your priorities around food shift, planning and preparing meals becomes a pretty important. This will not happen overnight – this is one of those acquired skills… and there needs to be some joy around it for it to take on some higher priority.  Think about how you can cultivate some joy around food & meal time & family (and the aforementioned love & presence & relationships & connection & such). For some, this is a team exploration thing… involving the family or recruiting the friends into some new and fun routines and rituals. It may start with you – organizing a weekly themed-potluck with friends… or it may start with you challenging your family to research some new meal ideas – and then having a contest to see who can pull it off the best (iron-chef-style).  What I’m getting at is this: what would seem to be a chore, can evolve into an adventure if you put the right spin on it.

I do digress (but only in the interest of sparking ideas).

Let’s find some efficiency here. There are some simple things that you can do to ‘create more time’.

  1. Clean your slate – ironically, you’ll need to find some time to… Write down what you spend your time doing.
  2. Are the things on that list meaningful to you? Can you delegate tasks? Can you outsource? Can you drop some off your list? (Yes, yes you can).
  3. Prioritize the list of things you currently do by how each thing makes you feel. Things that make you feel awesome get to stay on the list… things that make you feel crappy must go. They must go. OR they must change so that they make you feel awesome.
  4. Write down what you wish you could spend your time doing. Schedule some of those things in your calendar. Really, do that. If you’re anything like me, maybe do them early in the day so they actually get done.
  5. In fact – maybe you can designate a couple hours a day as ‘you time’. See how things fall into place around you time.
  6. If you have kids – you have tiny humans that are begging to learn responsibilities… they are, they just aren’t communicating that very well to you :)  Let them help you find more time.
  7. Re: moving. Redefine movement. This is a topic for another page. I can’t say enough about this. But in the interest of time, you would benefit by incorporating movement into your life… even if you manage to carve out discrete chunks of time to ‘exercise’. Movement should be how life gets done, not a burden that requires to be scheduled.
  8. Re: playing & hobbies… see #4 & #5 above. But this may take more effort – because maybe you would like to have more time for playing and hobbies, but you don’t exactly know what that looks like. Maybe you would like to cultivate something – which takes time of course. You have nothing but time, my friend. :)
  9. Re: cultivating relationships. I won’t say this is easy – but there are synergies here. You can combine playing & hobbies with cultivating relationships. You can combine meals and food prep with cultivating relationships. You can literally be cultivating relationships as you teach your children to do the dishes or the laundry. Solid use of time. I will say this though. Humans are pack animals by nature. Life is made oh-so-much-better when surrounded by a pack you love and play nice with. Rely your pack to help you to manage your time more efficiently, and reciprocate.
  10. Re: working & commuting. Short of a career shift (and this may be your answer), you can combine a few things to get more bang for your work-day buck. Carpooling satisfies some camaraderie, some end-of-the-day-limits, some fuel efficiency… moving closer to work will reduce commuting times too – or arranging a flexible work environment (maybe you can work from home every so often). You can move more throughout your day by scheduling walking meetings. You can get some real face-time in by meeting with colleagues for lunch (try work-day pot-luck lunches?). Flexible workstations may be a solution for you – have you heard of treadmill desks? Look that one up. Maybe you can start a 20 minute frisbee tournament every day at food-coma time (2pm). Re-thinking your work environment and making friends (& athletes 😉 ) of your colleagues can kill two-three birds with one stone. So to speak.

What say you? Are you ready to re-evaluate your daylight hours? It’s always useful to step back, see what you’re doing, ask yourself if you feel good about how it’s going… and correct your course if necessary.

The hours in the day make up your journey called life. It’s important that you enjoy the journey.

Now it’s your turn. Have your think below.