Making Time Out of Nothing at All — Be More Productive!
Earlier this week, I was at a networking luncheon with a handful of other female professionals, one of whom was a dating coach. She was speaking to the group about her services and how they differ from online dating sites. I chuckled audibly and the business/life coach whom I was sitting next to lasered in on me and said, “Sounds like you might have some experience in all this.” Boy, oh boy.
I proceeded to explain that I had done the online dating thing and that when it really came down to it, I was just too busy. I am focusing on my career–the new job I have, the startup I’m trying to form, the volunteering I’m getting started with, the classes I teach, this writing gig I’ve got, not to mention keeping up with my social circle — I simply do not have the time/resources/energy for the dating pool. She stared at me long and hard, nodding in agreement while I babbled, and there was something in her stare that drilled into me…so I confronted my truth. It’s not that I don’t have time…it’s that I don’t make dating a priority. I don’t make time for it.
There are 168 hours in a week. We use some to sleep, many for our jobs, still more for our families/friends/pets/”me time”/significant others…and yet it always feels like there’s never enough time to do the other things: organizing photo albums, cleaning out that storage closet or junk drawer, writing the letter we’ve been meaning to send, taking the day or weekend trip we’ve been planning forever. We tell ourselves that we’ll do it “when we have a free minute,” only that free minute has a way of being inherently elusive.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, speaks specifically to this in her book and on her website. The things we put on our “time wish lists,” as it were, can often cause more frustration or unresolved feelings and leaves open tasks that, frankly, will never get done. That frustration, she says, can stand in the way of our happiness.
Anytime I do have “a free minute,” I find myself NOT devoting it to organizing my filing cabinet of important documents dating back to 2004…but instead watching TV, going out with friends, reading a book. None of these other activities are inherently bad things, but they’re also not what I’ve written down in my mental-reminder pad that consistently gets shoved to the back of my brain.
My friends know me to be that person who starts dating a guy and then will complain that there’s just no way to make it work — I’m too busy, and if he can’t get on board or understand that, then obviously it won’t work anyway. Several of these friends have looked me square in the eyes and reminded me that it’s not a matter of scheduling — if I’m not willing to make the time, then I must not be that interested. They’re right. That same rule applies to my “time wish list” as well.
This week, make a list of those things that you’ve been saying you will do when you have a free second/minute/hour/day. Prioritize them — what are you actually interested in and what do you just not care about? Once you’ve figured out which activities mean the most to you, do something about it. If you’re really interested, you need to decide what you want to make: excuses or time. You can’t do both, so pick the one that gets things done!