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Time: Is it controlling you or are you controlling it?

Do you feel as if you are on a treadmill and do you wish you could make it stop? Are you so busy that sometimes you feel as if you cannot breathe? Do you find yourself wishing you had a time turner like Hermione from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? If you don’t know what this is then you obviously don’t have someone in your family OBSESSED with Harry Potter the way I do. Anyway, if this sounds like you then you are not alone, according to a Harvard School of Public Health survey conducted in 2014, 59% of women and 54% of men reported that having too many responsibilities was causing them personal stress. Whilst it might be comforting to learn that many other people are struggling with the same issues we are, it doesn’t mean those issues are any easier to deal with.

What is the problem?

It can seem as if every day is the same. We are on the treadmill of going to work, looking after children, arranging sporting activities, attending social activities, cooking, cleaning, shopping, the list goes on. When every day begins with the promise of the same mad rush from one required activity to another and there is no end in sight, we begin to ask ourselves ‘Is this what life is supposed to be like? Is this all I have to look forward to until I retire?’

We wonder when we stopped exercising, indulging in our hobbies and spending time with our friends. It can feel as if we have to put our lives on hold until some far distant time in the future when things are less busy.

Why can’t we stop?

Each of us has the same amount of time each week: 168 hours, yet we often feel as if we don’t have enough. Trying to keep all of the balls in the air can be incredibly overwhelming. We have managed to add so many things to our lives that it can seem impossible to put the brakes on and take a step back.

Most of us know that we need to do something different but once we complete all of the necessary tasks, there is rarely any time (or energy) left to even think about making a change, let alone actually doing it. Then of course there are the social expectations. What will other people think if I suddenly stop doing XYZ? This can be a very real consideration. Then, on the odd occasion when we successfully wrestle some time back from these activities, it often unexpectedly evaporates or we find some other mundane task with which to fill it.

My personal experience

I have discovered that all available time gets used up unless I have a specific task  I wish to set it to work on. If, for example, I am trying to find time to indulge in my hobby of scrapbooking, but I think that I will do it when I have some free time, you can guarantee that never again will I get any pages of an album completed. I have to physically timetable it into my week and work the other tasks around it otherwise it is so easy to be distracted by the pile of dirty washing waiting for me in the laundry, some mildly interesting program on the television or another mundane task that could be done instead.

I learnt how to find extra time in my week to devote to writing my blog www.lifewrangling.com by being intentional about prioritising. I am careful how long I spend going down the rabbit hole on Facebook, Pinterest, and twitter, only watch something on television that genuinely interests me, not simply because it is the only thing on and I have started saying no to things that don’t add value to my life. Then, to ensure that I actually begin, I set an alert on my phone reminding me that it is time to get started.

The more intentional we are about how we use our time, the greater control we will have over it. Taking a few moments to stop and think instead of blindly continuing with our daily habits will enable us to increase our options and allow us to choose those activities that will add value to our lives.

How we use our time should be our decision and it should ultimately make us happy. Click To Tweet

To help you find out how you can get off that treadmill and begin to make time to do the things you love, you can download a copy of the Timewrangling Technique workbook.

This workbook will teach you how to:

  1. Determine where you currently spend your time.
  2. Identify your time thieves.
  3. Brainstorm some solutions.
  4. Make an action plan.

Work through each step and find out how much time you can save each day and week to put towards doing something you enjoy.

Do you wish things could be better? Are you ready to make a change? Then try the Timewrangling technique.

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Rachel June 5, 2016, 11:23 am

    It’s so easy to think that we’re busy, but the more I think about it, the more I realise that I’m actually busy being busy rather than doing the things that really matter. Thanks for making me think more about how I use my time.

  • Kylie Travers June 8, 2016, 9:09 am

    Completely agree. I worked at a place that banned the word busy. Their view was when you are busy or think you are busy you tend to be just filling your time. Instead you should assess what needs to be done, prioritise your time accordingly and then you are productively engaged, not busy.

    • lifewrangling@gmail.com June 9, 2016, 2:16 pm

      Banning the word ‘busy’, I love that! Forget location, location, location. in this situation it’s prioritise, prioritise, prioritise. 🙂

  • Helen K June 8, 2016, 9:02 pm

    Thank you! Just downloaded your schedule, and allocated time to fill it in tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing what it reveals – hoping to free up some time.

    • lifewrangling@gmail.com June 9, 2016, 2:18 pm

      Brilliant Helen, I hope it helps you to find time in places where you thought you had none. It certainly does for me. Feel free to let me know how you go, I’d love to hear about it.

  • Hannah Atkinson June 12, 2016, 3:36 am

    The problem that I have is that my health is poor and so I go to bed at 7pm with my son and so I do have less time and the only time I have is when my son is also awake and needs something!

    • lifewrangling@gmail.com June 16, 2016, 2:13 pm

      Hi Hannah. That certainly makes things difficult. I still think it’s worth having a look at how we are spending our time when we are faced with these types of challenges because even a small change in the way we do something could equal a big benefit to our lives as a whole. Good luck.

  • upasna June 13, 2016, 3:06 pm

    Hey Jen, I am new here and finding it cool.
    I had the same situation where I was asking for more time but then I realized the true culprit was not TIME.It was me. Hope you enjoy reading my views- http://lifethroughmybioscope.com/do-not-say-i-have-no-time/

  • Bron from Flat Bum Mum June 14, 2016, 9:23 am

    I love the idea of the alert on the phone. That helped me this morning to go for my walk. If my phone hadn’t reminded me I would have avoided it.

    • lifewrangling@gmail.com June 16, 2016, 2:15 pm

      Hahaha, yes, I have to do the same thing to remind me to drink water.

  • lonestarsky July 30, 2016, 1:29 am

    I agree totally – if I don’t schedule in time for the things I love, they just don’t happen. The timer on the phone is a great idea as a reminder to get started; I have a bad habit of planning stuff but then getting distracted by menial things and not actually getting round to doing what I really need to do!

    #WeekendBlogShare

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