Whatever our life circumstances, we all have responsibilities. We have stuff we absolutely must get done. And, we're all trying to fit that into the same 24 hours of the day. The result is that we can feel busy, overwhelmed and downright tired. So, if you want to make a change by taking on a new creative project or just taking better care of yourself, how do we fit that in? What if you're a would-be entrepreneur or aspiring author, where can you carve out the time to do that work?
Well, it seems from the most recent report on America's media consumption habits, from research group Nielsen, that we still seem to have plenty of time to stare at our screens. Whether it's the latest on-demand series we're binge watching or browsing the web it all ads up to, on average, a whopping 10 hours and 39 minutes a day!
If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse.
Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of social comfort in that excuse. People will nod their heads at you agreeing that there's no way you have time to do any more that you're doing. If you want to find people to agree with you, you'll have no problem finding them. But do you want that, really?
I'm a self-employed, mother of three school-aged children and often have to parent without the support of a partner. Many people have much, much, much harder and busier lives than I do but let me share just a few of the strategies I employ to accomplish more of what I love. Perhaps they might help you too
- Construct a Life Lens that serves you. What do I mean? You get to choose how you see your life. You truly are the architect of your experience. I've constructed my life lens on the foundation of a number of choices. I've made a choice to live as happy a life as I possibly can. I've chosen to practice gratitude. I've chosen to view myself as a resilient person who is talented and resourceful. This is my Life Lens. So when shit happens, which it inevitably does, I've already decided a huge part of my response. No time wasted on telling myself the extended "Poor Me, This is so hard!" story.
- Sleep! More than a third of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 are regularly sleep deprived and it puts us at increased risk of a range of illnesses, as well as negatively impacting our ability to do our work effectively or to be our most creative. Late night screen time and excessive alcohol consumption are both aggravating factors that disrupt sleep. Cut down on the booze and turn off the screens an hour before lights out. Get enough sleep! That's 7-9 hours a night for 26 to 64 year-olds.
- Ask "Does this Serve Me?" Decide which activities or behaviors serve you and which don't. So much in life is a question of how much you are prepared to give up of one thing to allow yourself to get or to do another thing. I've cut down on my screen time a lot! Sure, I still watch NetFlix shows or grab a movie in the evening on the weekend but most nights I watch no TV or screen entertainment. The number of books I've read as a result by the way, has soared!
My coach shared some wisdom with me early this year when I was working with her on this issue of getting the important work done in the midst of a busy life. Here's the visual metaphor she shared;
Imagine that you have a large glass jar and next to it a pile of sand, some small pebbles, and a few large rocks. You have to fit everything into the jar. If you put the sand or the pebbles in first, the big rocks just won't fit. But, if you put the big rocks in first, then the pebbles and last of all the sand, it all fits. The big rocks are your priorities, the big things in your life. Deal with those first and the small things will fit around them. Prioritize the small things and you'll never have time for your "big rocks".
So, when you're committed to getting your important work done, it's less a case of ducks in a row and more of rocks in the jar!
About the Author
Eimear Zone is an entrepreneur and co-founder of social enterprise, PEBBLE + ROSE. She writes on feminism, entrepreneurship, and mindset management. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and IG @emtczone