Time is Precious.
My father died suddenly in December 2017 and I was shocked and heartbroken. I thought his best years were still ahead of him. I remember sitting in my sister’s living room after we found out, alternating between waves of grief and, as the night wore on, exhaustion. Two thoughts kept coming into my head (and they stay with me now).
1. I will honor my dad by honoring the time I have left.
2. I need more time.
It became clear to me that if I were to die now, not in old age like I hope, it would be with so many stories left untold and so much unshared love in my heart. I knew I had to get busy.
Very shortly after that night, I set my mind to changing my relationship with and use of time.
It resulted in huge successes for me personally and professionally. I want to share my journey with you in case it provides you any value, and I encourage you to share with me in the comments!
If you’re in a rush, the following sentence distills it all.
We have the ability and responsibility to choose how we spend our time.
If you’ve got more time, here are a few easy steps to help you reevaluate.
1. Make a weekly budget.
Start by listing out all your expenses, and yes, I’m talking about time. List things like browsing social media, getting ready, preparing food, writing, watching tv, exercising, working, even sleeping.
When I listed out all the things I spent time on (and how much) it was shocking.
My husband and I, despite being active and ambitious people, were spending hours every week watching TV and scrolling social media. Our quality time often amounted to less than an hour a week and worse, we were both doing things we realized we didn’t have to do. For example, I was spending an hour a day curling my hair and applying makeup even though I’ve never cared much about it.
2. Re-allocate as needed.
Just like trimming fat from the budget, get rid of things that don’t serve you.
I didn’t set hard and fast rules, but I made an ideal schedule and I pinned it where I could see it. I shared my ideal schedule with my husband and the other people in my life and asked for support.
Slowly but surely, my life transformed in response. I finished three novels, started a book review blog, co-founded a publishing company, and started dozens of relationships with local businesses in just a few months. I cleaned up my diet and made time for exercise daily. I strengthened relationships that were important to me. And most importantly, I fulfilled my promise to myself that I would honor my time.
3. Expect resistance. Accept marginal gains.
When you start going down this path, you’ll encounter resistance. I guarantee it. Maybe when you realize how little time you have for your hobbies you feel depressed and want to quit the process. Maybe your spouse rolls their eyes and says you’re doing fine and shouldn’t worry so much about it. Most people cling firmly to the belief that life happens to them and they have no control over their time. If you take control of yours, you challenge their beliefs.
This bears repeating: if you commit to spending time on what matters most (your friends and family, dreams, goals, ambitions, and hobbies) instead of what society is selling you on (mindless consumption and competition in all its form) you’re going against the grain.
Realize that you probably won’t persuade everyone you love to sit down and budget their time like you. Realize that you probably still won’t have enough time for everything you want to do. Realize that neither of those things being true negates how important it is for you to fully face this. Accept that your end result may not be perfect, but it’ll be better than what you’ve got now.