5/17/2011

Take the Time


I wonder how many things in life we put off with the excuse “I do not have time to do it.” With the pace of our lives going so fast these days, it is the easiest line to deliver and the one that gets the least resistance. How many times do we hear and say, “I have had no time to get to that?”

The reality is there are 24 hours in a day, every single day of your life. We sleep only a portion of those hours. Even when we are working or attending school, we do have the ability to dictate how some of the hours are spent, to manage them. We have choices, options we can exercise. Granted, our preferences are not always easily mastered, especially when there are family members and finances to consider, but if they are important, we can find a way to address them in some fashion that satisfies our basic needs for happiness and well being.

Too often, we use time as a convenient ‘catch all excuse.’ Are you one of those folks? Many of use that line for not doing what we really are not super motivated to do. Time can be a great procrastinator! Rather than say, at the end of the day, e.g. I do not want to walk the dog, go to the gym or clean the house, we instead, essentially tell half truths.

We all need to be more practical and fess up, embrace life and reality. We can find a way to get the things done that need to be accomplished other ways if we truly want to. I just had this conversation with someone today. I was explaining how I was a single mom with two small children years ago. I went to college full time, held a part time job working 30-35 hours a week and managed to hold a household together and get my children to soccer practice. All three of us kept our grades up and had some wonderful times. When asked how I did it, I simply replied, failure was never an option, it was too important to not succeed so I allocated time for what needed to get done.

If cleaning is not your cup of tea and it is falling by the wayside, hire a service to come in. They range in price but some are quite affordable and do a superb job. If you want a clean house but detest doing it yourself and can afford it, let someone else clean your home! Use that time to get healthy by walking the dog, hitting the gym or reading some book you have been dying to get your hands on. Too tired to get to the gym at the end of a long work day? Set your alarm clock early two days a week and go early and get it done before work, get dressed there and off you go, refreshed and worked out before the work day starts. Many people do power walks in the morning before leaving home! Walk your dog at night to get you and the four legged family pet his much needed exercise at the same time you are. You will both feel better. If you hate walking your dog, hire a teenager down the street to walk him for a few dollars. Your dog needs it. (So do you!)

We are a nation of people that use time as our excuse for not getting things done, that is, the things that we don’t want to get done. However, when it is something worthy of our time, e.g. extra innings in a no hitter baseball game, overtime in a football game, and standing in line for concert tickets, etc. time is of little importance at all. The stands remain full and the lines stretch as far as the eye can see. Behold, time is irrelevant. We do find time for what we truly enjoy.

Therefore, the stress we have hanging over our head of all the unmet tasks we really should be getting done is easy to get rid of. When you don’t, it is much like a black cloud hanging over your head. Others can’t see it but they can feel it. The more you ignore it, the larger it grows. It feels to you as if there are not nearly enough hours in the day or week to accomplish all that you are expecting or wanting to do. In reality, it can be more of a bad allocation of our time and resources and not insurmountable at all. Reality Check: Approach this with a project manager mentality. Remove all unnecessary things on the list that should be most of the items on it, by the way! Take the guess work out of your task lists by assigning time limits to things and holding yourself accountable. Allow items to go into overtime occasionally too. Then when it does, react to it like you would a ballgame, roll with it. Don’t stress over it, fun stuff always follows.

Approach your life more like a project manager who decides what is important and what is not. If it is important, either get it done or allocate it to someone else so it is addressed. If it is something you want or need in your life, e.g. going to the gym, cooking, make sure you make the time weekly to do things that you love to do and want a permanent part of your life. These are the things that are your legacy, the things your friends and family will remember you for so make time to do them.

Life is too short to play games with yourself and use time as a crutch for not getting the things done that need to be getting factored in to your day to day life. Long before we were here, our forefathers were chopping wood in their day and hunting wild game. At least we just have to flip a switch to adjust the air and head to the grocery store to get meat which takes a whole lot less time. What you do with your time says a great deal about the legacy you are creating and the legacy you leave behind. Think about it and be grateful! You have more time than you think, so enjoy it, every single minute of it!
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