With everything that we balance regularly, it can often feel like time is moving too quickly. Like many other parents, I sometimes look at my daughters and cannot believe how fast they have grown. Time flew. All I can think about during those reflective moments is that I must make every minute count because time will not stop.
At the point when we are choosing how to spend our time, a million possibilities are available. The path is completely open because, at any given moment, we can choose anything. The catch is that once the choice is made, the moment is gone. The time has passed, and we can’t go back. The key is to choose wisely and to choose what matters the most.
In the middle of all the demands that we deal with constantly, making time for what matters can often be difficult. When I first started writing, I did it because of a persistent voice telling me to write. I had never written outside of school, and I had plenty of reasons not to start — I had three young daughters at home and a full-time job. But I couldn’t shake the desire to write, so I started to make time for it — a little at first and then more and more.
Your goal may be different from mine, like spending more time with family or for yourself, time to study something new, or to launch a new project. The only way it is going to happen is if you make the space for it. Setting aside the time was incredibly difficult for me, but once I did it, I was glad. That insistent thought telling me to write dissipated, and I haven’t regretted it. Writing has changed my life for the better.
1. Analyze Your Priorities
The first step is finding out how you want to change your schedule and what your priorities are. What is the most important thing you would like to do? Once you know where you want to focus your time, define how it would look. Perhaps you want to start writing, and the best way for you to do it is in the evenings when you have more time for yourself. Or maybe you want to take a course. What would need to change in your schedule to make room for it?
2. Start Small
Take small steps. If you want to start writing more, then you may want to start small. Maybe taking just 15 minutes a day is the best way to move forward. As you gradually increase the time you are spending writing, you can ease the change into your schedule.
When I initially started to write, I could barely make the time for it. I have found that as I write more, however, my schedule evolved to allow me to fit more time to write my articles and now, a book. By going step by step and slowly adapting your schedule to the change, you will have a higher likelihood of success.
3. Set Aside a Time and Don’t Touch It
Modifying your weekly agenda is not easy — it takes effort and perseverance. One way to ensure that the new activity makes it into your schedule permanently is to set aside a set time for that activity. This designated time should be firm, much in the same way as you would schedule a time for a meeting.
When the time comes to work on or go to your activity, commit to it. If you are working on a project, it is helpful to set milestones and don’t stop until you reach them. In this way, you will ensure progress, which will be motivating.
Using the time that you set aside for something other than your priority activity is a slippery slope. Once you have stepped over your self-imposed limit, it will be hard to come back. If you are strict with the time you have scheduled, however, you will slowly start to weave the new activity into the fabric of your life, and it will become self-sustaining.
4. Make Sure Your Schedule is Balanced
In the end, the idea is to spend your time on the activities that matter to you. If you find yourself sacrificing crucial activities, like sleep, to fit in your new activity, your new schedule might prove counterproductive. Nevertheless, you may have items in your schedule that are much less vital in your life that are preventing you from taking the essential time you need on things that your body requires to thrive. Making a list of the important activities will put things into perspective.
I can guarantee that once your new activity or project is firmly established in your life, it will give you a new sense of contentment. Time will continue to move fast (if anybody has any tips on how to make it move more slowly, please let me know!), but at least it will be filled with what truly matters.