I wish I could; speak a second language, work out more often, eat better, spend more time with my kids, run a marathon, write a book, read a book a week, map out a new career. How often do you hear people saying these words? I would, if I just had more time.
24 hours is the time each of us has to work with. Thats 1440 minutes, or 86400 seconds every time our earth spins on its axis.
Wishing you had more time will never help you speak Italian, or finish that trilogy you’ve been dreaming of writing. Even with COVID in our midst, with arguably the most amount of time at home that many of us have had, and many still struggle to find time to work out, or meal plan.
Just like a higher income won’t solve someones money problems if they are a habitual spender, acquiring more time is not the solution to busy.
The secret lies in managing the resources we have.
Where Things Go Awry
For the most part – I believe the vast majority of us feel like we are grinding away for the goal of what is to come.
Except that we aren’t.
Often we are devoting our time to things that we don’t enjoy, and won’t really help us reach what we are after.
Or, even worse, we are doing things that actually detract from our efforts to spend more of our time doing the things we enjoy. How much time have you spent watching the train wreck that is currently our social media feeds???
Or look back at Week 32’s post. In short order, I was able to provide 4 examples of pretty innocuous things in my life that were draining away at my time (and happiness).
While on their own none of them seem like that big of a deal, identifying them and then eliminating or reducing the time required for them, scored me an extra 8-9 hours each week, that I can now reallocate to things I actually WANT to be doing.
8-9 hours?! That’s like having an extra work day just suddenly materialize out of nowhere.
So now the question becomes – what to do with that extra time. Because if I don’t intentionally do SOMETHING, it will most certainly be gone, and I’ll likely have no idea where. Probably to more COVID content, which I definitely don’t need.
The Truth of the Matter
Week 32 was about identifying the 5 things in your day to day life that you hate doing. That drain your time and happiness. Then eliminating/minimizing those things as much as possible.
This week is the follow-up to that exercise. Taking the reclaimed time, and figuring out what to do with it in order to get you the highest return on investment.
We all have visions of grandeur about the wonderful things we would do if we just had X amount of time available to us.
Frankly – it’s all a bunch of bull.
We, as human beings, are wonderful at finding things that are “more important” (AKA procrastinating). I all but guarantee you that if I magically made your 24 hours days into 28 hours days for a year, 365 days from now you wouldn’t be able to speak French, and you would absolutely not have a rough draft of that trilogy.
Why? Because if it isn’t a sufficient priority for you when you have 24 hours in a day, 28 isn’t going to make the slightest bit of difference.
Efficiency with our time comes down to our ability to identify how we actually want to be spending our time in the first place, and then simply prioritizing it. And while we all might want to speak a bunch of languages, generally speaking, it’s the outcome part that we want, not the process. The idea of it, not the actual doing it part. (Unless you’re my brother, and then apparently self-teaching yourself 4 languages is just another Tuesday.)
But for the rest of us, we want to be able to speak those languages, play those instruments and run those marathons Matrix style. Just upload that file please.
So Why’d We Bother To Find All This Extra Time???
For starters, last weeks exercise is about a whole lot more than finding time. It’s about drawing our attention to how very un-frugal we are with it. Look at all the things we allow to eat into our days, that steal our time, and energy. Things we don’t even enjoy, don’t even notice.
Things that in no way shape or form contribute to us leading fulfilled lives.
They are just noise. Noise that makes us feel very busy, overwhelmed, and as though we have no time for the things that matter to us.
Except that we do.
Sometimes we just aren’t really clear on what we would rather be doing with our time. So we allow busy to fill the void.
The 5 Best
Abandon the visions of grandeur for a moment. If I handed you just one precious hour today. An hour that no one else knew that you had, what would you do with it?
Would you grab the latest Malcolm Gladwell book and head down to your favourite coffee shop? Maybe snag your ear buds and hit the pavement for a quick 5k? Make some popcorn and indulge in a favourite show? Or how about take a nap?
I feel like a lot of us would take a nap.
The thing is, while we all would like to think that we would do amazing things if we just had a little bit more time, the highest ROI may very well come from the tiny things that we enjoy. In all of their simplicity.
So take a moment, and think of your best five. The five things that you absolutely love to do if you have an hour or two of free time? The ones that don’t make you want to procrastinate, but make you want to jump in with both feet. The ones that leave you asking yourself……wow, was that really an hour? Where did the time go?
The things that leave you feeling invigorated, and refreshed. Mentally, physically, or both!
Write those down. Rank them. Think about them a little bit.
How much time each week do you spend doing these things? Would you like to spend a little bit more?
I’ve got some good news for you. The time you got back from the 5 things you hate the most, you now get to reallocate. You get to dish it out like Oprah.
And if you start by intentionally scheduling more time doing your best 5, odds are – that’s where you’ll get your highest ROI. Odd’s are also very high that it will help us all feel just a little bit better about getting through this whole COVID thing.
What’s My Top 5 You Ask?
Right now, mine are pretty low key. But I love them.
- Quality time with my toddler. I know these days are going to pass quickly, so any chance I get to just have a cuddle, go for a walk, or play a game, I absolutely take it.
- Read a book (with a cup of coffee……or a glass of wine).
- Write on this blog.
- Get in a work out while listening to an awesome podcast….(like Explore FI Canada); and
- Go for a walk.
While none of these are gonna hit the highlight reel on anyone’s social media feed, when I really boil it down, they are the ones I enjoy the most.
By dropping the “if I just had more time” line, and holding myself accountable for what I choose to invest my time into, I can’t help but be more intentional. And when I mindfully keep the excess in check, and focus on prioritizing these areas, I am undoubtedly a much happier, more fulfilled person.
Thanks For Reading
Thanks for stopping by. If you found this post helpful – please share it around AND let us know your top 5 list. Hope you are all staying safe, and taking care of yourselves, loved ones and neighbours.
This too shall pass.