It’s Thursday and I’m Crafting my Life! Today I am lamenting the fact that I have no time. Join me, won’t you?
Back in late August I talked about our culture’s Cult of Busy-ness. Money and status come with Important Responsibilities, and Important Responsibilities mean you’re busy. Having Too Much To Do is almost like a religion for us, and productivity is how we measure our value as people.
As the mother of a two young children, I feel as if there will never be enough time in the world for everything that I need to do, let alone half the stuff I merely want to do. I have been at home full-time, I have worked outside the home and I have worked at home, and lack of time has remained a part of my reality regardless. There are upsides and downsides to whatever choice you make, but as long as you have little kids you are going to be hard-pressed to find the hours in a day to do it all.
Having ‘no time’ and being ‘busy’ are relative. I thought I had no time when I was a single university student, and then I thought I had no time when I worked full time and did some volunteer activities, and then I thought I really had no time when I had my first baby. These days, my friends with more than one child and I say to each other, “Do you remember how we thought we were busy with one? Yeah, we really didn’t know from busy.” Your definition of ‘busy’ changes, along with your definition of ‘sleeping in’ or ‘getting out the door quickly’.
As my life has gotten fuller I’ve discovered that being busy is less about having stuff to do, and more about how you choose to spend your time. I complain to my husband that I can never finish an article in the paper, yet I read dozens of blogs every day. I used to complain that I had no time to work in my garden, and now I find that time more easily because I am home during daylight hours and my kids like to be outside with me. They help me water and we kill two birds with one stone, but I don’t get through my email inbox. And even in the middle of the lost socks and Jacob peeing on the floor and trying to get dinner on the table and do some freelance work, if something really important comes up I do it. I find the time.
In the place I’m in now, trying to build a new life, I do not have the luxury of long, uninterrupted stretches in which to work. While I write this post I am holding Jacob, who is napping in my arms because that’s the only place he sleeps during the day. The cat is on my desk, the dishwasher is running, and the room I’m sitting in is a terrible mess. I have to set my priorities, though, or I will not get any writing time at all. By necessity, I have gotten better at seizing the time I have and pressing through, because it’s the only choice I have, the only way I can get work done.
There are lots of ways to manage your time and become more efficient. But the best way that I know is this – recognize that you are never going to have ‘more time’. Waiting for the magical day when you do is fruitless. So in the little time that you do have, set priorities and do what needs to get done. If that means turning off the computer and writing with a pen and paper so that Twitter doesn’t call to you, so be it. If that means setting a timer and saying, “OK, I have 15 minutes to clean this room,” then so be it. And if that means that you need to take a little downtime so that you don’t fall in a million pieces, do it and do it unrepentantly. The only time you really have is right now, so you’ve got to make it work to your advantage.
How do you combat the reality that just aren’t enough hours in the day? Or, have you managed to overcome that feeling? Please share!
Februaryâ€™s Crafting my Life series is about time management. Exciting? Debatable. Important? Absolutely. On the last Thursday of the month, which just happens to be the 25th, I will include a link up. To participate, write a post on this monthâ€™s theme and add yourself to the list. Then go off and read everyone else’s ideas and thoughts and be inspired! Check out January’s link up to get a feel for how it works.