Making Time

Today’s Lesson: You have to make time to make time.


I feel so busy these days that I barely have an hour to myself. Nicole and I both work long hours. Each day when we get home, it is a mad scramble to clean up, make dinner, prepare for the next day, get ready for bed, and if we are lucky and do not miss a beat… we might be able to share 30-40 minutes of downtime together.

We do not own a TV. We do not have many social commitments (or even many friends). We don’t play sports or go to the gym for an hour. We don’t have kids or family nearby to take up our time. We just work, come home, and get ready for the next day.

There are, of course, other things we would also like to do and sometimes we can cram one or two of them into the weekend, between chores (like spending time outside, reading, writing more, catching a movie, playing with Rainee, exercising, learning new stuff, etc.).

I know we are not alone in this battle but I am often confounded by how bad I am at making time for everything. Sometimes I watch other successful people (famous but sometimes just my peers) accomplish more than I seem to, while also balancing children, second jobs, big social circles, and more. I do not know what specific compromises they make (sleep, sex, cooking, or eating healthy, maybe?) but I marvel at their leisure time.

I see two main struggles for myself.

The first is, I am, I think, incredibly efficient but also a perfectionist. It is important to me that everything that is done… is done well. For example, my laundry is not haphazardly folded. I know how I like things placed in the closet. I do not have a “junk” drawer in the house. I run my schedule like a military operation each day. I can tell you almost exactly where my feet will be placed at any given time of the day.

My second struggle with making more time is something I only recently realized. My schedule is packed until I force something new into it. For example, I used to work roughly the same hours with the same drive time I have now, but I was also taking martial arts classes three or four times a week while doing it.

I have no idea how I would fit six to ten hours of classes in my schedule now and I had no idea how I would do it then. I just did it, and I showered twice a day on top of it.

I have been experimenting with waking up later yet forcing more actions into my morning routine and still arriving to work on time. So far, so good. I have surprised myself.

The lesson in this is, whatever time you have is what you fill your day with (meaning your habits expand to fill the allotted time you give them). Further, you make time for what you make time for (meaning, if you absolutely have to fit something in–say, if you had the chance to attend a lecture from your favorite famous business leader three times per week–then your schedule will “magically” open to work around it).

I imagine Steve Miller Band fanatics and people with children (sometimes called “parents”) must know this already. For me, it is a lesson I am just figuring out.

“Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future…”