Grab a paper. Keep it with you during the day. Note down everything you do. Record your day in 30 min intervals. Do this for a couple of days to get a good representation of how you spend your day.
Grab another paper. Write a list of the things you want to be doing. Compare this list with your daily log. Do they overlap? If they do, good for you! You’re already living the life that you want to be living.
But for most of us, I’m guessing that there will be some mismatch between the two lists. Maybe even no overlap at all. That’s your sign that it’s time for a change.
Ok, I get it. You cannot just quit your full-time job and start living your dream. There are bills and mortgages that have to be paid. You need food and clothes for you and your kids.
But there’s one asset that we all have. One asset that is distributed fairly to all of us. You have time. Your most valuable asset. Those precious 24 hours. 1440 minutes per day.
How do you spend that time? Well, you know the answer since you’ve been doing your time tracking for a few days. Examine your time log. Are there any minutes that you could cut down on? Minutes that didn’t really bring you value? Are there things that could be simplified to allow for minutes to be spent on something else? Are there minutes that could be delegated to someone else to free up your time?
As women, we spend a lot of time taking care of our household. We are usually the ones doing the grocery shopping, cleaning the house and doing the laundry. Even though we’ve come a long way in gender equality, it’s still women that perform the majority of these tasks. There are two things we could do to cut down on time spent on household chores: set the bar slightly lower and delegate to others.
By setting the bar slightly lower, I mean that we need to the rid of the notion that everything has to be perfect. The house needs to be spotless with fresh flowers on the dining room table when friends are coming over for dinner. The food needs to be home cooked and at least have taken a few hours to prepare.
If you set the bar too high, inviting friends over for dinner becomes a stress factor and not a joyful event. What if you the house isn’t spotless? What if your kids simply pick some flowers from the garden? What if you prepare a simple meal or perhaps even buy it fully prepared? Is that such an unimaginable idea?
In most cases, good enough is just fine. You don’t need to strive for perfection. The amount of work that you have to put in to get from good enough to perfect can be substantial, but the difference in the end result is not really apparent. Even though it might be obvious to you, it’s usually not apparent to anyone else.
When it comes to delegating tasks to others, you have to be willing to let go. If you delegate to others you cannot be in total control. How the task is carried doesn’t matter as long as the end result is what you asked for. As the kids get older, they can help out with more and more of the household chores. You have to let them help out. Even though things may take a bit longer than if you would do them yourself. Let them start at an early age. Emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash and cleaning their rooms are things that any child can handle.
Delegating to professionals can also be a good idea. Here the cost of the service comes into the equation and that requires some simple maths. How much is the cost? How much time do you save by letting a professional do it? Is it worth it?
Another way to generate more time to do what you want to be doing is to cut down on expenses. If you cut down on expenses and streamline your budget you make room for a lower income. Perhaps you could work fewer hours at your regular job and spend those extra hours doing what you want to be doing? Another option would be to spend some more money on hiring professionals, which buys you time to do the things that you want.
Lowering your expenses gives you more freedom to explore different options in life. Also, not having too many things to take care of gives you more time to do what you want to be doing. What if what you have is enough? For every purchase that you do, ask yourself is it worth it? Relate the cost of the item to the number of minutes you have to work to finance it. What if instead, you spend those minutes doing what you want to be doing? Decluttering will set you free!
There’s always a choice. You have to decide how you spend your time. Only you can assess what your time is worth and how you should spend it. But if you always put your life on hold. If you always procrastinate what you want to be doing. Perhaps it’s time for a change?
Maybe it’s time that you take a long, hard look at that list of the things that you want to be doing and get started. Pick a small task and work to complete it. Then pick another small task. Even with small steps, you’ll get there in the end. But if you’re always waiting for the perfect time to start or for divine inspiration to fill you up, you’ll never start. Make time for what you love doing. Why wait?!
Yesterday you said tomorrow. Guess what, tomorrow is already here and you need to get started.