The blessings of our modern world also sometimes leave us wondering how to find time to do everything.
We have so little time in this one precious life. I think it’s critical to spend your time intentionally. It’s the reason why this hard-working perfectionist… doesn’t want a job.
If you’re dying to know how to have enough time for everything, allow me to boldly challenge you.
Maybe you don’t know how to make time for everything because you don’t know what “everything” is.
Of course you know you’re busy. You know your job, your commitments, and maybe your house and kids take up enormous swaths of time – all of it, basically. But ‘busy’ and ‘enormous’ and ‘all of it’ aren’t very measurable.
Today you’re going to take actual steps so you can know how to have enough time for everything. Get out a pen and a piece of paper!
Step 1: What is “Everything?”
You want to change your life into one where there is time for everything, right? Well, what the hell is “Everything?!” Write. It. Down. Here’s my “everything” list I made when I was super depressed and not getting much done. (Which I later realized had more to do with my bossy (ex)boyfriend than simply being in need of practical tips on how to make time for everything.) My complete list of life activities back then:
- friends & family
- doing other creative things
- going on adventures
- vegging out (facebook, nap, stare at the sky)
- cleaning & repairs
- research (I’m a writer, yo)
What’s on your list? What do you spend your time on each day or throughout the week? What do you wish you spent your time on? E.g. To this list, I’d now add things like yard work and travel time and work-exchange home improvement projects, etc. You can take a little break to think about this and make your list.
Step 2: How Much Time Do You Need to Do “Everything?”
You want to have time for everything. Now that you know what “everything” is, how much time does it take? Figure out how much time you want to spend doing each activity per week. Write the number next to each way you want to spend your time. I’ll do a few from my list above so you can use them as examples.
– it actually takes time to put food in your mouth and chew! And clean up when you’re done. And buy the groceries at the store. I’d like to take 30 minutes per meal. That’s 90 minutes a day. In a week, I’d need 10.5 hours for eating and associated clean up.
– even if I’m just popping some popcorn or making microwave nachos, it takes a few seconds to assemble. I guess it probably takes an average of an hour a day if I count the days where I spend more than an hour just making a single meal. Let’s say 7 hours a week cooking.
– by the time I take off my clothes, wait for the shower to warm up, clean my body, comb my hair, brush my teeth, get dressed and, at the end of the night, take out my contacts and brush teeth again… I spend a solid 45 minutes a day and therefore 5 hours and 15 minutes a week on hygiene.
- friends & family
– I keep in touch with a lot of people. Some are conversations a few times a year or every other month or every other week. I think I want to spend 45 minutes a day either on the phone or writing emails. That’s another 5 hours and 15 minutes each week.
– this is how I bring home the bacon. Err… cheese, if we want to get technical. If I had my way, I’d write (not publish, not design, not research… which are all other tasks involved with writing) for at least two hours a day, four days a week. 8 hours per week.
- going on adventures
– my partner and I were on a semi-permanent road trip when I made this list. Doing a hike or exploration of an area was something I wanted to be sure to fit in at least 4 days a week for two hours. Another 8 hours each week.
– books are the best! I’d love to read 45 minutes a day – maybe 20 in the morning or afternoon and 20 at night? 5 hours and 15 minutes a week.
– ugh. This is the path to great mental health, right? I guess I should try and set aside 15 minutes a day. An hour and 45 minutes per week.
- vegging out
– sometimes you just need to scroll your newsfeed like a squirrel on meth. Sometimes you need to stare at a wall until your brain stops throbbing. Sometimes you gotta stare at the inside of your eyelids. I figure 45 minutes a day – maybe 20 napping and 25 doing “useless” things like social media – should probably be my limit for vegging. So another 5 hours and 15 minutes a week
– your health is, like, way important. I’m guessing by the time I get on my fitness gear and sweat it out, I’ve probably burned through a minimum of 45 minutes. Even if I don’t work out every day, I’ll do the math that way since I think I’m underestimating here. 5 hours and 15 minutes each week.
- cleaning & repairs
– making the bed, doing laundry, taking out the trash, tidying up, vacuuming, etc. I also added maintenance to this category – the occasional oil change or car repair, fixing torn clothing, etc. 30 minutes a day seems reasonable for this, so 3.5 hours a week.
– if you’re not a sleep-deprived night out like me, you might have written this a bit higher on your list. I’d like to get ten hours of sleep a night, actually. Instead of the usual four or five. It seems like a pipe dream, but this section is about the fictional world where we have time for everything. 10 hours a night is 70 hours of sleep per week!
– if I crack into the wine at dinner, there’s a good chance I’m not doing much else that night. Or at least for a good 90 minutes. So I set aside three nights a week to say yes to a good glass of red or bourbon. (Here’s what else I drink.) That’s 4.5 hours a week of drinking. (You remember I said I was depressed, right?)
What are the numbers for your activities? Write them down!
Step 3: Add Up the Time it Takes to Do “Everything.”
Well that was fun! Now that you know how much time you’d like to spend doing your life activities in a perfect world – one where you have time for everything – let’s add up your dream numbers.
What did you get?
How much time does it take to do “everything” each week?
There are 168 hours in a week, so I hope your number isn’t higher than that. But mine was. Heck, just the partial list I shared in Step 2 takes 139.5 hours, and that’s without any of the writing-related tasks I dislike factored in. Or sex. Or taking the time to play. I came out with a nine-hour deficit.
Step 4: Pick the Time You Want the Most
Once you have your deficit in hand (if you’re reading this article, you probably have a deficit), go back over your “world where I have time to do everything” section.
What can you give up? Do you really need to read for 45 minutes a day? Can you make bigger meals so you can eat leftovers and spend less time cooking? Do you have to check your email every time your phone buzzes? (And have you ever tried a day without notifications?! Have you ever considered life… without a smartphone?!)
Or if you don’t have a deficit on paper, but you always find yourself running out of time… maybe your Step 2 isn’t an accurate picture of your life. Maybe you spend a lot more time playing Candy Crush than you said you want to. Maybe you spend more time gabbing with the daycare provider at drop-off than you thought you did. Maybe you forgot to count the time you spend stuck in traffic.
The way to make time for everything is to figure out what you want to do, check to see if you’re actually doing it, and choose what you’re willing to give up so that you can have time for your “everything.”
If you want to level up your life (and follow the advice of the badass Mel Robbins), you should do this right now. Don’t have time? How ironic. Get our your calendar. Put this on your schedule. “Get Control of My Life.” or “Finally Have Enough Time for Everything.”
You can do it!
♣ Happy Life-Hacking!