“I don’t have the time” is one of the top excuses for why people aren’t committing to whatever it is they want to achieve. Yet the reality is that it’s not true; we do have the time, we just don’t make the time. Juggling a job, family and other responsibilities certainly make it a challenge to focus on our personal goals, but there are always ways in which we can allocate time for them.
Not only are many of us not prioritising our goals, some of us don’t have goals that we’ve committed ourselves to, such as creative or health-related projects. Do we even have any passions, hobbies and interests that we actively pursue outside of the 9-5 consumerist culture that we’ve been born into?
Being creative is essential to stoking the fire of our humanity. One way that most of us do it is through cooking, yet filling this void can be achieved by gardening, building, writing, drawing, painting, gardening or an array of other activities. In addition, looking after our physical, psychological, emotional, philosophical and intellectual vitalities are necessary to heal and grow ourselves, as well as live our lives to the fullest.
That’s why it’s so important to face the truth: what time do we spend on these areas of our lives? Once we start to unpack where our time is spent, we are usually amazed by the reality of how much we waste. What follows, therefore, are three general areas from where time could be easily allocated to focus on our priorities and achieve our objectives.
Many of us devote so much of our time to our job that it becomes a logistical nightmare to simultaneously achieve personal goals effectively. Yet it’s not impossible. For starters, there is usually a way to better manage our time spent at work. We might need to be more efficient in our work practices, which frees up time for something else.
Or there might be a need for a more effective delegation of work and significantly less micro-management. Another is there could simply be an opportunity to utilize some of the hours spent at work for personal gain. For example: see all those people going to the gym on their lunch-break? Now that’s commitment.
The reality is if our job is too hectic and doesn’t allow for looking after our own personal ambitions, including maintaining our health, then it doesn’t sound like a job that should be done for any great length of time.
After all, our health and well-being should be considered more important than our career.
2. After-Work Routine
What is our after-work routine and does it include a lot of time wastage? Once we get past dinner, usually we just want to put our feet up and relax, yet how much time have we got during this period that we waste on trash TV or fruitless internet browsing?
Could we go to bed earlier and therefore wake up earlier, giving us an extra couple of hours in the morning to spend on our personal interests? Could we just not waste so much of our time watching mind-numbing programming on mainstream TV?
Of course we could. Now rest assured, downtime is obviously very necessary because it’s important to allocate time for not feeling or thinking too hard. We all need that space to just relax and do nothing, because it’s meditative and self-healing. But if we use too much of our time doing nothing productive, instead of using some of it to do things that we really want to achieve, then we’re not utilizing our time efficiently and constructively.
Sit down and work it out. When we actually calculate how much time we’re wasting, we’re always more than surprised.
3. Commitment to Others
How much of our own time do we spend on others? Are we spending too much of our own time on our partners and children? Of course to be in healthy and beneficial relationships we need to invest our time and energy, especially with our kids. We want to influence them in insightful, empowering and productive ways, but how much of ourselves should we sacrifice for them?
That old saying “You can’t love another until you love yourself” rings true here. If we don’t even look after ourselves, then how can we expect to look after somebody else, including our children?
Let’s use health as an example. We spend all this time ensuring that our children are not endangering themselves, but if we’re role modelling unhealthy ways to live, then we’re effectively contradicting what we’re aiming to teach them. Think about it: if we’re not looking after our own physical and mental health, then what message does that send to our children on both conscious and subconscious levels? That it’s okay to not take care of ourselves? That there are legitimate excuses for treating ourselves poorly?
Fortunately, there’s many ways to look after both responsibilities, we just have to assess our own personal circumstances and make adjustments to free up more time for the activities that are essential to our own wellbeing.
For example, are we losing time by doing too many domestic chores without a fair share being allocated to the entire family? Or to think about it in another way – do we obsess over the cleanliness of our home and instead could we decrease the amount of time invested there and increase the amount invested in ourselves? Even if the time invested in household duties is justified, what good is a clean and healthy home if we have an unclean and unhealthy mind and body?
A house can time and time again be rebuilt and refurbished so that it survives forever, but the mind and body cannot. They always should take first priority.
The point of this article is to acknowledge that we have all the time we need to focus on our individual affairs, such as our health needs and creative passions, regardless of any of our other responsibilities.
Moreover, if we don’t have many ambitions other than working, watching TV and attending social gatherings, then we need to think about how we’re limiting ourselves to the cultural ‘program’ that causes so much discontent in our world, as well as design ways to expand ourselves beyond it.
If we’re unsure how to explore our inner creativity, then tap into what lights us up and gets us excited. We should also seriously consider what our community needs from us too, such as contributing to one of the many paradigm shifts that society is undertaking.
And simply remember this: we always have enough time to do as we wish.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phillip J Watt lives in Australia. He best identifies as a ‘self-help guide’. His written work deals with topics from ideology to society, as well as self-development. Follow him on Facebook or visit his website.