I Make Time Work For Me, Not The Other Way Around

I wish I had time to volunteer at my kids’ schools more. I sure would like to spend more time with my girlfriends; I feel like I never see them anymore. My husband and I haven’t had a date night in months, and I sure miss it. I wish I could learn to play the guitar…the piano…the saxophone…the harpsichord. I wish I could pursue my great idea for a business, but I’m just so busy with my “real job” to get around to my own passion. I wish I had time…

Does any of this sound familiar to you? I know it sure hits home for me! It’s just too easy to wish we had time for EVERYTHING, and –in turn– feel so guilty for all that we can’t seem to make time for in our already jam-packed schedules. It’s time to regroup!

We cannot do everything, serve everyone, be everything to everybody, and also give ourselves the time and attention we so desperately need for survival. There truly is a time for work and a time for play, a time to be together and a time to be separated. There IS time to do all of the things that are truly the most important to us–the key is that we must figure out what most deserves our precious time!

The best way I have chosen to do this is to sit down–yes, this takes time, too–and jot a list of alllllll of those things that I would like to do. Read for an hour a day, exercise for 45 minutes three times a week, have time with each of my children individually each day, play golf every week, have two hours of TV time each night after work, wake up each morning before anyone else so I have some moments of peace and quiet before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. List ALL of the things that you currently make time for, add the things you wish you had time for, and still add those things that you feel guilty that you rarely have time for in your life. The list will likely be extensive…and if you put the calculator to it, your extensive list will likely require your week to have many more hours in it than are available.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

168.

That’s how many hours each of us have available in each week.

Seven days a week.

52 weeks a year.

168 hours.

Some inevitable time-consumers to that 168 hours are: sleep, food, basic self-care, and likely at least someone’s time-clock. Other choices we’ve made and people and things we have prioritized eat up more of our time. We chose to get married, we chose to have children, we chose to attend school, we chose to work to join this committee or work with that political campaign. Now, it’s time to choose how exactly you would like to spend your 168 hours a week.

From the list you made, what are your top priority items?

I work at a wonderful coffeehouse, which allows me to meet all kinds of exciting people and be at the central hub of the city in which I live; this takes about 40 hours of my time each week. I have a goal (and I really do mean GOAL, because if I don’t prioritize this goal I tend to fall VERY short) to sleep eight hours a night, which comes to 56 hours each week. I have a husband and three kids still living at home that I enjoy having quality time with; so I need to make sure my schedule includes these wonderful people so that it doesn’t exclude them as my week unfolds. I want to make time for this website, and for my YouTube channel, and other of my social media sharing, but these things require time. I want an hour to myself every morning and an hour of relaxation time each night before bed; this adds another 14 hours a week to my prioritized time needs.

The next critical step is to actually schedule every hour of your coming week. If you take the first step of seeing what is most important for you to make time for, but do not look at your calendar and see how it will all fit into the schedule, you’re selling yourself short and you will NOT be able to fit everything in. However, if you schedule every hour of your week–including sleep time–you will see exactly how your priorities fit into your life, and where you may still even have more time for some play here and there.

“You CAN have everything you want in life–just not all at the same time. And this, by the way, is a GOOD thing! Spread the joys over a lifetime so you always have something to look forward to in your tomorrow!”

weeklytimeplanning.jpg

I prefer military time, which is why my time listing along the left edge of the paper is written in 24-hour segments.

Above is my first 168 Hour Schedule that I created last October in it’s most rudimentary version.  I plan my week ahead when my coffeehouse job’s weekly schedule is posted, then I organize the other time categories around my work week. I take into consideration all upcoming family events, other obligations and priorities, and finish up by color coding the different categories so that I can see at a quick glance how my time splits–like a pie chart in my mind.

This doesn’t have to be a slick professional presentation, but the numbers do have to add up. Making time work for me makes all the difference in the way my weeks unfold–planned and prioritized, 168 hours at a time.

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

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