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I’ve always struggled with time management.
Finding time was a lot like fighting a battle—a battle with myself over what I wanted to do and what I thought I should do because the window of opportunity is small when we’re “finding” time.
Unless you’re a practiced disciplinarian who is accustomed to making snap decisions, which I am not, you most likely clash with yourself over how to make the most productive use of found time. If you’re like me, and the struggle is real, you’ll probably waste half of this time deciding how to use it.
Send me to the brig, for I am guilty of waging war with myself. That was until I realized it’s a never-ending cycle; one that can only be broken by fighting smarter, not harder.
Recently, I’ve been able to reframe my approach. If I really want to do something, I will. But, what if instead of forcing a square task into a found hole, I flipped the script from “find the time” to “make the time?”
It’s about prioritizing what matters. Am I right?
We are all fighting our own demons. Prioritizing and procrastinating can be two sides of the same coin. Don’t fool yourself into believing that one label versus the other changes the importance or the need to address and complete a task. If we help an elderly woman across the street to avoid going into the unemployment office, we are still dodging what needs to be done by prioritizing a selfless act.
Setting boundaries, learning to say “no,” and self-care are ways to make time. Sleeping less, skipping the gym, and multitasking leaves us with random blocks of time that even on a good day are futile at best. Unlike time we make, found time is hardly ever quality time.
I stopped settling for what I found and started making space for time. Consciously setting a plan in advance versus scrambling to turn leftovers into a meal not only made me more focused and efficient but I was excited again—an excitement that I could not manufacture with time I found.
Now that I am making time, I no longer dread deciding what to do. I am eager to do what I want, and things are more enjoyable when I’m not trying to work within found-time constraints.
Yes, it’s a cliché to say, “stop and smell the roses,” but so is constantly using the excuse, “I just don’t have the time.”