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Making Time

Making Time

Time and money are intrinsically linked, but the great thing about time is that you don’t have to earn it. A full 24 hours is granted to you each and every day. And each and every day you have a choice as to what you will do with your time. 

Obviously, there are certain things that have to get done in a day, and certain obligations that need to be met which all take up part of that allocated 24 hours. Even taking those obligations into account, you still get many choices as to how you’re going to spend part of that allocation.

Most people who have settled into a routine function on auto-pilot – they often wake up feeling “So much to do and so little time” and up they get, busying themselves with all that needs to be done.

So, you’ve made it through the morning, rushed through the chores, and you’ve arrived to pick up little Johnny from school. The punctual being that you are, means that you arrive ten to fifteen minutes early (you never know what the traffic is going to be like!)  Little Johnny also often takes his time getting to the school gate, so you actually have 20 to 25 minutes to “kill”.

This happens almost every second day, but you still get anxious at the thought of all that you could be doing at home while you’re sitting waiting. What do you do in those situations? Blame the unpredictable traffic, let the anxiety gain momentum and focus it toward little Johnny who is blissfully unaware that you’ve been there waiting for an additional 15 minutes? Do you sit and watch the seconds tick over?

If you answered yes to any of those, you’re pretty much doing what most people do – wasting time. And not only are you wasting time, you’re wasting energy too. You’re operating on auto-pilot, with little or no planning.

While we do need a certain amount of “auto-pilot” in our day, being on auto-pilot continually, gives you less choice during the day as to how to optimise each moment.  Even within a given time frame of 8 hours work per day, and 2 hours travelling and getting ready for work, there are moments which can be optimised. Moments which you can use doing something productive. Seize those moments consciously, and with time, it becomes a habit.

With a little planning, those 25 minutes could have been spent doing something you enjoy, and doing something to bring you a little closer to your dream of self employment.

Things you can do with 25 minutes waiting time (or even 10 minutes):

  1. Think audio CD for your car – listen to something motivating or educational.
  2. Meditate
  3. Take out your diary and plan the rest of the day and / or tomorrow
  4. Read a book –  see it as an educational moment, or a moment of relaxation.
  5. Network with the other parents – instead of just talking about the weather find out about their lives i.e. build connections instead of making idle chatter.
  6. Knit a square for charity
  7. Take a brisk walk around the school grounds – exercise is always good even though you just never seem to have the time!
  8. Make that phone call to the plumber that you just haven’t gotten around to
  9. Make that appointment with the dentist you’ve been putting off forever
  10. Call a friend or relative and tell them how much they mean to you

Whatever it is that you decide to do, do something that actively contributes to a productive day, or something that will make you feel better about yourself. Before you know it, those 25 minutes will become something you look forward to, and little Johnny will be happy too.

In order to spend those 25 minutes wisely some forethought and planning is often needed. Yes, you can get creative as you go along too, but you can’t make phone calls if you left your cell phone at home. You can’t read a book if you don’t have one with you. And you can’t take a brisk walk around the school grounds if you’re in your stiletto heels.

This means that you have to plan ahead for these little eventualities in life, and that you need to be aware of when and where you’re wasting time. Once you do this, you’ll be making time to do all sorts of things you haven’t had the time to do before.

The next article will discuss time management and planning in a bit more detail, with an aim to not living a strictly regimented life, where you clock watch every second. The aim is to fill every moment with a positive contribution to your own life.

Read the next article in this series: Managing Activity

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