3 Ways that Spending Time Actually Makes Time
When I ask women, and in particular busy moms, what their biggest obstacle to staying healthy is, two answers seems to always rise to the top.
No time and no energy.
We feel suffocated with the number of things on our plate and the dizzying, non-stop pace at which life is happening. We often cannot imagine how we would make the time to care for ourselves.
Many moms also feel exhausted and drained...and not only at the end of the day, but often all throughout the day. This deep tiredness makes it hard to imagine how to squeeze out any more energy toward taking care of ourselves.
Today, I’d like to talk specifically about making more time in our lives to do the things we want to do…and to do the things that will make us feel a whole lot better (and more energized).
The second part of this post-series talks about the energy issue. But both of these concepts are paradoxical in nature. Because, in some scenarios, when we expend energy, we actually gain more of it. And when we spend time, we open more up in our lives.
The key is what we are spending our time on, and how we are expending our energy.
Time and energy are commodities (like money), and when they are invested well, they return an even higher yield…when invested poorly, they quickly drain away.
Today I want to share 3 ways you can spend your time which will actually give you more time in your life.
1. Planning vs Preparing
There is a huge difference between planning and preparing. If you are like me, you may love lists and organizing. In fact, it is easy to get a bit addicted to pulling out paper and compartmentalizing all the things you have to do in neat little rows and boxes. At my finest, I can even be found color coding. The problem is, planning can way too often move from a productive activity to one of diminishing returns. There are only so many times you can rewrite a list before you are simply wasting time.
Conversely, think about preparation. When I set up my breakfast the night before so I have a smoother time in the morning, I’m spending time which makes time. When I cook once and then utilize leftovers wisely so they are part of the next night’s meal, I’m spending time which makes time. When I set out the family’s water glasses and vitamins on the counter so we are sure to drink and take them, I’m spending time which makes time.
The act of preparing for the things we want to include in our lives is a major investment in how we spend our hours. It helps us meet our goals and keeps us on track for what we want to remember during the day.
2. Learning New Skills
I’ve often reflected on how “simple” living in today’s society can feel quite complex and difficult at times.
If I don’t have the skills in cooking, shifting from convenience foods to home cooked meals takes a lot more time and effort. If I don’t have the skills in sewing, making things as simple as cloth diapers feels insurmountable next to the option of simply buying them. If I don’t know how to change a tire, I could be spending a whole afternoon by the side of the road, instead of getting the job done myself.
And if I don’t have the skills in household management (or taking care of my body, or eating right, or managing my stress, etc.) then the experience of dealing with that feels overwhelming and laborious.
Once you identify those things that you struggle with most on a daily basis, seek out ways to grow and learn more about them. Become more of an expert on the things that make up your life. In the end, it saves a whole lot more than time!
3. Being Ahead of Schedule
The third way we can spend extra time in order to get more in the end, is to stay ahead of our schedule.
The feeling of constantly being behind is the biggest hindrance to experiencing an abundance of time. When you schedule your day, be ultra-realistic with how much time each thing you need to get done will take.
Something that helped me get a handle on this was mini-tasking my to-do list. Giving ourselves adequate time to complete our daily tasks, forces us to be realistic about what we can expect to do in a day and will require that we think deeply about what things we want to keep in our lives and what we need to let go of.
Another idea is starting your day ahead of schedule. There is power in having some time to yourself in the first part of your day. Entering your day calmly and slowly, and from a place of intention, can reap tremendous benefits for the rest of the day.
I know not everyone can make this happen. For me, the first year with a new baby is a hard time to expect myself to have an hour to myself before everyone wakes, but even 15 minutes of prayer and quiet before the hum of the day begins does a spirit good and sets you up for staying on top of your day.