The holidays are over, the New Year is here, and we’re all revved up to make it the best, most tail-kicking year we’ve had yet.
And if you’re anything like me, you’re staring at your huge list of things you can’t wait to do/make/be this year, and you’re thinking:
How in the frack will I have time for all of this??
Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret:
You have the time. Plenty of it. You just aren’t using it right.
We Doth Protest
“But, Cordelia!” you say. “You don’t understand! I have a job, kids, errands, hobbies, 12 foster cats…I’m absolutely swamped! I’m lucky if I have time to eat!”
Well, anonymous italicized commenter I’m imagining in my head, if that really is the case, then you need to trim something, stat. I know ultra-frazzled busyness is a badge of honor today, but you have to at least be able to eat, sleep, and breathe on a semi-regular basis. I mean it. Delegate the errands, foster a few less felines, and learn to be kinder to yourself. I’ll write you a fake doctor’s note if you’re the kind that won’t slow down until someone absolutely orders you to do it.
For the rest of you who do have time to eat (and accomplish a few other things), I repeat my original statement:
You have the time.
Whatever your dream is, whatever you oh-so-wish you could pursue but just don’t know how you’ll manage to squeeze it in, you’ve got time. You’re just choosing to spend it somewhere else at the moment.
Don’t make that face at me. I don’t like to think of getting rid of any of my “must dos” any more than you do. But sometimes you have to.
It’s a matter of what you want more.
Priorities (& Casualties)
We each have 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. We also have certain non-negotiables that take up large chunks of that time, like eating, sleeping, working, and occasionally being sociable with other humans.
But we also have a thing called priorities. And priorities, my chickadees, are what determine how all the other, negotiable time is spent.
I’ve been guilty of the “I just don’t have time” mentality myself, plenty of times. I say I’d love to take up yoga, learn to cook, read those books I’ve always meant to—but I just don’t have the time. I’m so busy juggling my day job, freelancing, blogging, writing an ebook…How on earth can I fit in anything extra?
But you know what? I don’t really “have time” for freelancing, blogging, or writing an ebook, either—but I’ve made time for them.
How? Largely by neglecting my household duties.
I let the dishes slide more often than I’d like to, in spite of previous resolutions to be better about that. (I’ve become alarmingly o.k. with stirring my coffee with a knife and eating things straight out of the packaging). I resist the urge to Swiffer every time a stray dog hair floats by along the floor. In real crunch times, I’ll even resort to wearing inappropriately short clothes in the winter because I’m a week behind on my laundry. (Anyone want to buy Cordelia a maid service (or more pants?))
Letting the chores slide might actually sound like a nice break, but my OCD clean-freakedness means that disorder feel like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I get antsy, I get irritable, I start mumbling as I walk through rooms. But if it’s a matter of having a proper spoon to eat my cereal in the morning or getting a Brazen post in by deadline, guess what’s making the cut? My discomfort will have to hang on a little while longer. I’ll have to learn to be o.k. with not being able to do everything.
On the flip side, I could just as easily make the time to join a yoga class or teach myself to make meals that take longer than 5 minutes—but I haven’t. I’ve said I want to for years now, but I haven’t done it, which means only one blatantly obvious thing: I’m not too busy for these things; I clearly don’t really want to do them.
But I’d never look at a fantastic freelance opportunity and say, “Gee, I’d love to, but I just don’t have the time.” I would find a way to carve out time, whether it meant sacrificing a few hours’ sleep or showing up to work in cap sleeves and capris in the middle of a snowstorm. (That hasn’t happened yet, but don’t put it past me.)
We choose the things we make time for. It’s a simple matter of addition and subtraction. If you want A, but your schedule is packed, get rid of B, or C, or D. That doesn’t mean you don’t want B or C or D. Maybe you want them pretty damn bad, actually—but you want A even more. Sacrifices have to be made. Priorities have to be claimed.
It won’t necessarily make things “easier”; any mom who’s woken up at 5 a.m. to get an hour of writing in before her family wakes can tell you that priorities don’t necessarily make things easier. They just make them possible.
And I firmly believe that we make our own possibilities.
If we want them badly enough.
So. What are YOU choosing to make time for this year?
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