Oh, the stories I hear from people wanting more time…
“There’s not enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want to get done.”
“I don’t have time to sleep, let alone to be creative!”
“I feel like my days, weeks, years just fly by, and I’m missing out on so much.”
I hear the Not Enough Time story as often as I hear the Not Enough Money story. The root of this problem, as always, is mindset.
Until you’re convinced that you have all the time you could possibly need (you do), let’s talk about what action you can take right now to experience way more time.
Let’s give it a name
First, allow me to introduce a term: energy drainer.
An energy drainer is anything that makes you feel less energetic. It costs you time, both directly and indirectly.
By noticing, then actively eliminating or changing your energy drainers, you’ll win back time you didn’t even notice you were wasting.
By eliminating or changing what drains your energy, you’ll win back time you didn’t even notice you were wasting.
Step 1 to more time: Be on the lookout
Awareness is always the first step of intentional change.
A straightforward way to find what’s draining your energy is to notice what you complain about—aloud, in your mind, or even subconsciously.
Look for both little annoyances and big complaints in every corner of your life:
- Things (a cluttered closet, no household budget)
- Schedule (long work hours, an overdue oil change)
- Relationships (an aging parent who needs more help than you’re able to give, a not-yet-fulfilled promise to schedule a date with your friend)
- Body (avoiding a doctor, not getting enough sleep)
- Thoughts (comparison, self-doubt, worry)
- Feelings (an abandoned creative project, grief you’re avoiding)
- What else?
Sometimes the source of a drain is obvious, like when your work schedule shoots up from 40 to 60 hours.
But usually, it’s a little trickier. You might yawn every time you walk by a certain closet at home and not even notice. Its clutter makes you tired, and beyond that, the grief connected with the photos inside exhausts you.
What have you been tolerating?
Step 2 to more time: Know the true cost
As I’ve said, less energy means less time. There’s also your own and others— disappointment, stress, physical or emotional exhaustion, health issues, feeling imprisoned?
For each energy drainer you identified, notice specifically what pain it’s causing you. What’s the cost of doing nothing?
Step 3 to more time: Do something
For each complaint, if it’s not worth the cost to you, do something about it.
You have two options.
Option 1: Come up with a plan to eliminate or lessen the energy drain. Set a realistic date. (Schedule your decluttering. Call the auto repair shop. Ask your brother to take your dad to his appointments.)
Not sure how to get rid of what’s draining you? I’d love to help.
Option 2: Accept it with gratitude. What’s great about the situation? What can it teach you? (You notice you’ve been nagging your husband about his clutter without taking care of your own. You’re grateful for the chance to give back to your dad who gave you so much throughout the years.)
“Leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher
Key questions to ask yourself
First, be on the lookout. What do you complain about? What have you been tolerating?
Then, know the true cost. What pain is this causing you? What’s the cost of doing nothing?
Finally, do something. How could you eliminate or lessen this pain? Or will you accept it with gratitude instead?
Photo by Vlad Chetan.