Guest post by my colleague Nancy Borg
How many times have you said “I’ll get to this or that in my spare time?” Too often, I fear. We cram our schedules with jam-packed to-do’s and we never seem to get there.
Unfortunately, the demise of "spare time" is the by-product of being popularly “busy” in today’s culture. On a good day, we take on too much and don’t carve out sufficient time to get it all done, so it spills into the next day. And on and on it goes. We all struggle with time on a daily basis, and it’s seems highly unlikely that we’ll end up with any extra.
Gone are the days of "spare" time, it seems. But is it a lost commodity? It doesn’t have to be. What if I told you that you can reclaim it? Here are some ideas to chew on:
If you don’t schedule spare time, it’s never going to happen. So just like booking the haircut, picking up the dry cleaning or getting the car washed, add spare time onto your to-do list too. Maybe a time to catch up on reading, enjoy a DVD, call an old friend or just plant yourself on the couch and chill. Don’t you deserve that?
Evaluate the Have To’s and the Want-To's
Think about those things that have to get done… but not necessarily by YOU. Delegate and make room for your want-to’s. Beyond the non-negotiables, create space for your sanity. It’s essential for life-balance.
Consider the Obstacles
Can you define what's in your way? Is it your time-management skills? I frequently write about managing being “busy” because poor time-management habits usually heighten anxiety and exacerbate disorganization. Sharpening those skills can free up valuable time. Is working long hours the obstacle? Does your workday come home with you? Working from home can easily impede on spare time. Or could technology be one of your time robbers? As if the days aren’t busy enough, our affinity to stay connected on or off the computer is a huge distraction. Identifying the cause is the first step to finding solutions.
Tweak the Busy
If you’re overwhelmed and feeling out of control, perhaps it's a red flag that you may really be too busy. Align your schedule with your prioritizes. Adjust. Change what’s no longer working for you. Life changes readily, so tweaking is an ongoing and necessary process.
Remember, spare time is “your” time. When or how you choose to use it, is your prerogative. What’s important is that you find some. I revel in my spare time and know when I require it. This is a time that I catch the wind in my sails, and I capitalize on these opportunities. For me, I’m a summer gal and so my stolen spare moments will probably be outside somewhere with blue skies above and the sun shining brightly overhead. In summertime I'm more apt to get up and be ready to work hard… but play hard too. Maybe your season is autumn or winter when you can stay indoors, hunker down and focus on what's most important. Whatever your favorite season, reclaiming spare time by scheduling it on your calendar is doable and it's important to your health and life balance! What will YOU choose to do with yours?
Nancy Borg is a Professional Organizer, and owner of Move The Mess. She specializes in Residential and Home-office organization. Nancy blogs about all things organized. She provides her readers with tips and strategies to help navigate through day to day. This article appeared originally on her blog and is being shared with permission.